I hope it's worth the effort.
I was going to spend more time on the research for this, but then I had a dream that at least four giant rats kept sucking blood from my feet and apparently this means both that I have a preoccupation with my ever-busy waking life, and that I am exhausted because I get less out of a relationship than I am giving. I think this means you Tumblr. *Stern glance at laptop.”
Mental dreams aside, I am a big fan of the webseries. The highly produced, heavily overwritten mini-series that typically costs far more to make on Youtube than it would on television. I love independently produced, written and directed original series that act as vehicles for actors and writers looking for professional recognition, because they showcase new talent in a format that I feel I can contribute to and I know they will lead me to discover exciting new actors, writers, artists and projects.
Some of the series I am about to review here are very old, professionally made, and award winning, but a couple are shiny and new and you’ve probably never heard of them (but you ought to have because they’re excellent).
1. “The Guild” is so good even a game hating normal like me can enjoy it. (Except Tekken 2, Tony Hawks skating, Nintendo gameboy, board games and card games.) Felicia Day is adorably awkward as Codex and you really want to drop-kick that stunt guy in the face for trying to scam on her in season 2. The plot arc of season 1 is an incredibly good drawing force, sucking you in for the whole season and the characters will pull you in for the following seasons and still leave you wanting more at the end. Sorry, did I not mention, it’s about a group of gamers who form a guild to fight with as a team and how they all meet IRL? Yeah, should definitely have mentioned that.
2. “Becoming Youtube” is a shiny new webseries by Benjamin Cook that aims to show how anyone with a camera can get involved in Youtube, and dissects the elements involved; from Youtubers, to audience, to comments, to who knows? It’s all very cool, and will include all your favourite Youtube stars (providing they’re British, and in the Youtube elite, and know Ciaran O’Brian, Benjamin Cook and Tom Milsom). Also, Neil Gaiman’s in episode one. I keep saying this expecting Neil Gaiman’s involvement in this to get less exciting, but it never does. My favourite elements of this series are the analytical side-videos providing insight into the process and politics of online video-making and broadcasting. There isn’t really a story so far as I can tell; it’s more a set of journalistic set-pieces, but I could definitely be wrong about that.
3. “Hipsterhood” is also shiny and new and self-aware and clever and cool and all-around awesome. The theme tune to this is so catchy I accidentally sang it in front of my boss at work. Ah-woo-ooh-ah-ooh! Sorry, caught myself unawares there. It’s the story of two hipsters who are so clearly perfect for each other that they keep doing exactly the same things at exactly the same time just because they live in the same neighbourhood. Who does that? I’ve lived here over a year now and I directed my neighbour’s date to the wrong flat because I’ve never met the people on the floor below me. Also because I’m a terrible human being, but we won’t go into that. I like this series so much that I joked yesterday on Twitter: “@hipsterhoodshow are so cool they didn’t bother broadcasting season 2”. I was delighted to receive the response: “#hipsterhood season 2 is in progress!”. It’s so well written, funny, well designed and acted. Just, get on it, ok?
4. “Brothers With No Game” is new and funny and well acted (after episode 1) and well written and you really feel for the characters. It’s so honest and affectionate to its influences that it’s easy to feel like you’ve made a new set of luckless friends. The boys get themselves into the most dreadful situations despite being painfully aware of why they’ve done it. The thought tapping bits are a good way to get to know the characters, but I feel like this was done better in the first series of Hustle, and it kind of reminds me of GCSE drama and essence machines, which is unfair because the characters and story arc of this series are compelling and you really feel passionately about the dos and don’ts of the scrapes the boys find themselves in. I watched the first episode of this, then went and watched several other webseries for research all the time thinking that I had to come back and watch episode 2 as soon as possible.
5. “Anyone But Me” is a slow-burner. It’s kind of like a lesbian Dawson’s Creek in terms of tone and style. It’s essentially Suburgatory but the daughter lives with her step-Aunty and has a girlfriend in New York. I am quite into this, but I wouldn’t have chosen it after episode one. After four episodes though it’s kind of compulsive. The acting’s great but the writing’s pretty average. Up to you really.
6. “We Need Girlfriends” is old but absolutely amazing. It has all the hallmarks of a great sitcom: believable/relatable characters, great acting, great writing, jokes that really pack a punch and ridiculous situations. Don’t expect to laugh, but you definitely will. It’s the kind of sitcom that plasters a grin across your face, and you won’t even realise it’s there until you’ve finished watching season one, or until one of your bitchy friends points it out to you.
7. “Little White Lie” was written and produced by Team Starkid. There will always be a place in my heart for this, just like there is for Lizzie McGuire and Zoey 101. It’s a series about a band that got lucky, cheated and lied a bit to get there, and feel pretty guilty about everything that happened. Set in an American High School, it charts the band’s rise to stardom, all the time foreshadowing their fall but never quite documenting it. It’s wonderful, and the song “It’s Over Now” is absolutely amazing. If you don’t love this I want no part in your life. Or at least, just don’t ruin it for me. Sadly, Starkid announced that there will definitely not be a season 2.
8. I don’t like Pride and Prejudice, but those of you who do will love “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”. I’ve only dipped in and out of it, but I can see the premise is clever, the writing is good and the acting is excellent. It’s shiny and new, nerdfightastic, clever and entertaining. I just…I’m not into that book all that much. Please don’t lynch me.
9. “Jobhunters” is new and basically how my generation see the world in the context of The Hunger Games. It’s a good idea, and the concept is interesting. I just…I only really like one character (yes, the evil one. It’s always the evil one - the only character I could bear in Lord of the Flies was Jack). I do recommend this, but not as strongly as I would if they added a character called Caz, or maybe Draco Malfoy. But, you never know, there’s plenty of time for that sort of thing to happen.
10. For those of you who like quests, girls who can kick arse, douchy guys who think they’re in charge, action, fights and stuff, there’s “Fallout: Nuka Break”. The writing is below par but the acting is above average. And really, who needs overwritten action? Except me.
11. You already know this, but there’s also “Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”. I thought this was average, but what do I know? I’m just some girl with a full time job and internet access.
Catch you when we’ve crawled back out of the internet screaming “no more! No more great new webseries!”.
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