Thursday, 6 December 2012

Pretty Tough: From Page to Web Series

Two years ago I read (and reviewed) two young adult titles written by Liz Tigelaar for the Pretty Tough brand.  For those of you unfamiliar, Pretty Tough is a line of content and products for young female athletes - their motto is "Soft as silk, hard as diamond" from the Muay Thai mantra.  In Tigelaar's Pretty Tough (the book) and Playing with the Boys, she created tales of female teen athletes within the fictional world of Beechwood Academy.

I found that relationship really interesting in that books and sports aren't traditionally gathered together.  The perception that athletes don't read and bookworms can't run is prevalent.  Today I learnt that this interesting relationship had progressed even further.  Last year Pretty Tough (the brand) worked with Marguerite MacIntyre  to write a web series based on Tigelaar's books.*

*This gets even more interesting when you discover that Tigelaar used to write for Kyle XY in which MacIntyre played Nicole Trager.  Now MacIntyre is Sherrif Forbes (Carolyn's mum) on the Vampire Diaries in which Julie Plec is co-creator, and former writer on Kyle XY.  A delightful little incestuous community of creativity.

I have become increasingly interested in the relationship between young adult literature and the different mediums in which it now can be adapted.  Whether or not this brings teens back to the traditional book mode is debatable (but boy do I wish I could research this).

Pretty Tough launched today as a five part web series hosted through the American online video service, Hulu.  Like Tigelaar's book, it follows the trajectory of two sisters - Krista and Charlie Brown - who find themselves diametrically opposed in every facet of their lives.  However, they find themselves on the same soccer team and must learn to work together so their team mates can as well.  It sounds formulaic, and in some respects it is. But...and a big focuses on positive portrayals of teen sportswoman, the positive relationships they have on the field and the sibling dynamics.  Basically, it's amazing there isn't more YA content on this subject - there should be.

I admit to Pretty Tough (the web series) flying beneath my radar.  I watched episode one this evening and while I bristle at the use of the voice overs and some of the predictable teen tropes, I am intrigued   Adelaide Kane is a particular standout as Charlie, she has a fascinating face that works well with the surliness and defensive nature that her character has built up.  Krista, the pretty and popular sister (though Charlie ain't a car wreck) is a character that battles uphill against her sister's underdog status   This is made painfully clear with her role in Charlie's fall from grace - as a sister, I cannot contemplate being equally passive (and borderline dismissive) as is depicted.  It will be interesting to see how the book (click on titles for reviews) plays out in the remainder of the series.

I look forward to seeing the series further unfold.  My interview with author Liz Tigelaar can be read here.

You can find the Pretty Tough series of books via Razorbill (there are currently 6 available) and the web series via Hulu (for US residents).

Pretty Tough trailer

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