The internet is truly the new frontier for entertainment. With technology and quality equipment so readily available, anyone with a good idea, a lot of talent and a boatload of passion can make a web series. Don't get me wrong, anyone can make a web series but not just anyone can make a good web series. There is some truly mind-blowing talent on the internet creating everything from cooking, gaming and DIY shows to dramatic, comedic and Sci-Fi series good enough to rival anything in theaters or on television. So settle in and get ready to lose (more) hours of your life to the internet because these are my favorite shows!
Where better to start than at the beginning? The Guild was the first web series to really capture my attention. Written and produced by Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog), The Guild centers around main character Codex (Felicia Day) and her MMORPG guild-mates. In-game relationships cross over into reality when Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), a guild-mate with a crush, tracks Codex down in real life, proclaims his devotion and moves into her apartment. Codex organizes a meeting with the rest of her guildies to try to convince Zaboo to go home to his mom. In spite of his creepy, cyber-stalkery ways, Codex begins to sympathize with Zaboo and the guild relationships evolve into real friendships. The Guild has 5 seasons under its belt and is available to view on YouTube and Netflix.
A Simple Walk Into Mordor
If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you know the filming locations for the three epic movies are all located on the two islands that make up the country of New Zealand. Two fans, Chris and Kerry, decided to make the trek on foot, Fellowship-style, from Matamata (the location for the Shire) to Mt. Ngauruhoe (the double for Mt. Doom). A Simple Walk Into Mordor is the five-part documentary of their adventure. Armed with backpacks, cameras and one seriously hot Kiwi guide, the boys set out to cast the cursed Ring into the flames of Mt. Doom (or dig a shallow hole and bury it...whatever works, right?). The documentary is funny, sweet and at times, a little bit gross (for the record, blisters do not pop like bubblewrap and are not nearly as fun!).
So, check out the Rooster Teeth channel on YouTube and subscribe (it's FREE!) for all 5 episodes and more great, original content!
Who wants to sit around and watch (almost) total strangers play tabletop games? When the Geek & Sundry network announced this show as part of their debut lineup, I asked myself that same question. And then I watched the first episode and was instantly hooked. Hosted by Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, Star Trek: TNG), Tabletop is a surprisingly fun and engaging web series with new episodes every other Thursday featuring Wil playing a new tabletop game with his friends. His guests usually consist of a variety of actors, hosts, comedians and game creators from television, movies and the internet. The majority of the guests are hilarious and fun to watch. And the competition gets real sometimes but never in a negative or awkward way. TableTop is a great way to learn about games you might not know existed and perhaps start your own tabletop night with your friends!
Be sure to subscribe to Geek & Sundry to support all their fantastic, free content!
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
"It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." - Pride & Prejudice
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a unique modern adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel Pride & Prejudice. Using a single camera, video diary filming style, we follow the adventures, love and heartache of our heroine Lizzie (Elizabeth) Bennet, her sisters and her friend, Charlotte. Of course, the relationship most viewers focus on is the epic romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy. Although Darcy in the web series pales in comparison to Colin Firth's version of Darcy in the 1996 BBC production and it seems almost unfair to compare the two. So, we won't. Or we'll really, really try not to. The love story is still very sweet and fraught with humor, misunderstanding, a little bit of drama and whole lot of passion. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries may not have the best acting in the world, but Ashley Clements (Lizzie) holds her own and does justice to the classic character. Once I started watching, I got completely wrapped up in the heart of the story. In spite of the fact that I'd read the novel and seen almost every version of P&P ever produced, I still found myself tuning in twice a week for new episodes. And the idea of using a web series to expose new generations to classic literature is fantastic. One can only hope that someone was inspired to pick up Austen's book and get lost in the manners, humor and romance of Pride and Prejudice.
Chris Hardwick's All-Star Celebrity Bowling
I'm terrible at bowling...really, truly awful. So, why would I want to watch bowling on The Nerdist YouTube channel? Because it's AMAZING, that's why! Chris Hardwick (AMC's Talking Dead) is a borderline professional bowler (his father was an actual pro bowler) who invites celebrity guests to bowl for charity against him and a rotating roster Nerdist team. The odds are usually stacked against the celebrity challengers and they rarely ever pull out a victory. But the show is laugh-out-loud hilarious with celebrity guests from shows like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Doctor Who. Subscribe to the Nerdist Channel for a huge variety of fantastic free content and "Go bowling sometime, you guys!"
My Drunk Kitchen
You're not going to learn how to cook watching this show. It just isn't going to happen. But I don't watch for the cooking tips, I watch for the laughs. The premise is actually quite simple; girl sets up camera, girl gets drunk, girl attempts to cook and sometimes the food is edible. Hannah Hart is adorable, charming and insanely funny as she mixes cocktails and cuisines while dishing up a buffet of delicious puns (see what I did there?). My Drunk Kitchen is my go-to when I'm having a rough day or feeling down. One episode can brighten my day and change my outlook on life. Be sure to subscribe to Hannah's YouTube channel, MyHarto, for more drunk cooking shenanigans!
Meet my friend, Dean, aka Noaksey. Self-proclaimed fool and gamer, Noaksey posts his video game play-throughs on his YouTube channel. From classic games to the newest 3D graphics extravaganzas, watch Noaksey shoot, kick, punch, smack, hack, race, chase, murder and maim his way through every digital 'verse imaginable with his trademark wry sense of humor and a charming British accent to boot! Subscribe to Noaksey's YouTube channel for more game-play antics!
Grace Helbig is out of her f*cking mind...but I mean that in a good way! Grace has a five-days-a-week vlog on YouTube where she talks about anything and everything that may be on her mind. She speaks at a break-neck pace and is sometimes hard to follow. Watching her show is like watching a beautiful female Tasmanian Devil tear through a boutique full of delicate lacy underwear. She's a whirling dervish of wit, sass and confusion. You just have to step back and wait for the dust to settle. Her quirky sense of humor and seemingly stream-of-consciousness approach to vlogging makes her unique and super-fun to watch in the land of online video-diaries. Subscribe to Grace's YouTube channel for more Daily Grace!
Hosted by pro gamer Sean Plott (known online as Day ) and game designers Sean Bouchard and Bill Graner, MetaDating explores romance and dating in the world of video games. During a live-stream session, the two Seans and Bill play a dating/romance-based game, have a few drinks and try to make the characters in the games fall in love, usually with some pretty hilarious results. My favorite episode has the boys playing a game called Facade. The in-game dialogue and interactions are insanely funny as they interact with a married couple named Tripp and Grace. But they must tread lightly because they can set off a firestorm of an argument and drive the couple to divorce. It is extremely entertaining to watch the boys gleefully ruin the NPC's marriage and then go back for more. There are eight fantastic episodes of MetaDating and Geek and Sundry has not announced plans for another season yet. But my fingers are crossed for more!
I love trashy romance novels. The trashier the better. And what could possibly make a trashy romance novel even better? Answer: if it was a PARANORMAL trashy romance novel! And now, finally, there is a book club for me! Hosted by Felicia Day, Bonnie Burton, Veronica Belmont and Kiala Kazabee, Vaginal Fantasies is a regular hangout that happens every third Tuesday of the month and a book club with an enormous community on GoodReads. Ghosts, demons, zombies, succubi and all manner of supernatural creature engage in hot, sweaty monkey love and solve a little bit of mystery or something...I'm not sure what. We're focusing on the sexy time, guys. During the monthly hangouts, we have a few drinks, discuss the book and cast the characters with actors we imagine would fit the part. The discussion is engaging and funny and anything that encourages people to read (especially trashy romance novels) is good in MY book. <--- yeah, that just happened... Subscribe to Geek and Sundry for more Vaginal Fantasies!
So, those are a few of my favorite online shows. A lot of people use YouTube to watch music videos, cat videos, videos of the latest idiot making a fool of him/herself on the evening news or clips from Saturday Night Live. And that's great. But YouTube also has a whole community of incredibly talented people making amazing original content just because they're passionate about it. And occasionally, if you're lucky, as a viewer you're going to find something you are just as passionate about watching.
I'm sure I'll be posting more amazing stuff that I love in the future. And if you watch something you want to share with others, post it on my Facebook page or in the comments below!
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