A large part of our goal at TVEnthusiast is to act as a content curator for our readers, exposing like minded TV fans to new and interesting content they have not yet discovered. In furtherance of that goal we are putting a focus on original web series, which we see as the indie film movement of television. Over the last week we have taken on the arduous task of creating a top 10 list for web series. Since anyone with a YouTube account can now publish their own original content, the act of discovering and curating the best of that content is tricky. After scouring the internet, we have put together a top 10 list of original web series that we feel matches the tastes of our targeted readership. We hope you, our readers, enjoy the list and find interesting content to consume.
Lets start by laying down the rules and honoring those that came close. The rules for this top 10 are that the content must be original, not a direct spoof, and not part of a marketing campaign for a regularly televised series. This means no Walking Dead and Breaking Bad web series, no School of Thrones, and no Jane Austen inspired fare. The runner ups we wish to honor are Ted and Gracie for it’s amazing concept, and The Power Inside for its strong cast. Both series are worth a watch.
And now, on to the list.
10. Riley Rewind
Riley Rewind made the tail end of this list, despite some annoyances, because of its clever use of cliches to make its characters instantly relatable within its limited episode length. Unfortunately, these cliches can also be harmful to the series in the way that cliches normally are, and lets not even talk about the annoying theme song. That being said, Riley Rewind takes an interesting concept and houses it within familiar territory, in a smart way that made us forget this was a web series and not a teen SciFi series from the 1980s like Out of This World.
09. Video Game High School
Created by internet celebrity Freddie Wong, Video Game High School envisions a world in which e-sports are bigger than any physical sport has ever been. The ultimate elite gamers attend Video Game High School, where they study and compete in video games. Loaded with digital visual effects trickery, Video Game High School is a monument for what independent auteurs can accomplish in the digital age. Video Game High School is a fun, though cheesy, take on what we all wish High School had actually been.
08. H +
A massive production that looks more at home on network TV than YouTube, H + is about the events before, during, and after a catastrophic event that kills much of the worldwide population. In H +, most people seem to have taken to neural implants that gives them the convenience of a smartphone within their own heads. The convenience of this advancement becomes humanities undoing as a computer virus infects the global network killing all implant users within range of a wireless signal.
07. Tainted Love
What makes Orlando Jones’ Tainted Love work so well is the combination of good pacing and the limited but smart use of animation. A lot of web series have used animation to get around budgetary restrictions, but Tainted Love borrowed other comic book elements throughout, which allowed the animatic style animation to seem natural and in place with the overall tone. Tainted Love stars Orlando Jones, as a small time criminal, who, while dealing with impending fatherhood, takes it into his own hands to save his crazy girlfriend after she gets herself in over her head with his dangerous boss.
06. Daddy Knows Best
Made up of a series of mostly disconnected skits, Daddy Knows Best, follows a family of 3 as the irresponsible father infuriates the grounded mother with his schemes and antics involving their infant child. The comedy in Daddy Knows Best is all about escalation, what starts out as bad, continues to get worse and worse until the audience is doubled over in laughter.
05. You Suck at Photoshop
I originally queued up some episodes of You Suck at Photoshop not realizing that it held a fictional story. I just wanted some Photoshop tips, but what I ended up with satisfied my Photoshop needs while thoroughly entertaining me with a brilliant comedy about a man whose life is falling apart as he gives Photoshop tips on Youtube. The voice over performance is stellar, with hints of pain and desperation that sell the protagonist as a passive aggressive beta-male. Best of all, You Suck at Photoshop will ACTUALLY TEACH YOU PHOTOSHOP.
From Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry channel on Youtube, Spooked tells the story of paranormal investigators that act as a sort of family unit for orphaned brother and sister Conor and Piper. Piper was thought to have stopped talking after the death of their parents, until she was seen talking to ghosts. In order to protect his sister from conventional help, which would label her crazy and put her in a facility, Conor puts together a group of paranormal investigators to give Piper an outlet for her abilities.
03. The Guild
One of the most Iconic web series ever, and the foundation of an entire business for its star and creator, The Guild is a comedic look at the real lives of those who prefer their virtual lives. The Guild stars Felicia Day as Cyd who goes by the handle “Codex” in her favorite MMORPG (think World of Warcraft) The Game. Beginning with the first real world meet-up of her Guild members, the 6 season series introduces the eccentric members of her guild and puts them through various trials and tribulations, including a memorable guest appearance by Wil Wheaton as the leader of a rival guild.
02. Burning Love
An amazing parody of reality dating competitions such as The Bachelor, Burning Love has a phenomenal cast of comedic actors led by the prolific Ken Marino (The State, Party Down, Role Models, Veronica Mars). There simply isn’t much to say. If you think shows like the Bachelor are ridiculous, or if you just like to laugh, Burning Love is one of the best web series available.
01. Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Doctor Horrible tops our list for its fantastic performances, excellent music, great storytelling, and its historical significance as a web series. Doctor Horrible was born from a writers strike, geek god Joss Whedon used his time off to work out a passion project with his brothers, and friends. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and a number of other notable figures, Doctor Horrible tells the story of a would be super villain (Harris) who dreams of joining the Evil League of Evil, and winning the heart of his laundromat crush (Day). In his way, is the super hero Captain Hammer (Fillion), who thwarts his crimes while competing for the affections of the love he pines for. Doctor Horrible is a great musical experiment that all fans of comic books, musicals, and Joss Whedon should see at least once.
Most of these series, and many more not mentioned, can be found on YouTube or other similar Video services for free. If you have a favorite series thatyou feel was unfairly left off the list, please comment and let us know, as we have surely missed a few gems in our search.