Monday, July 30, 2012

Lists: Favorite Web Series

Web Series. Over the past few months, I’ve been watching more web series than conventional television shows because they’re usually shorter and readily available via YouTube. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m really like YouTube. These are just a few of my favorites, and since a lot of them are older series, you can watch several episodes at a time instead of waiting for the next one to come out. If you're interested, you can watch a playlist of each series if you click on their titles.

Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog. The series is narrated by an aspiring villain who has fallen in love with a kind and gentle citizen who attempts to find the good in everyone. As the series progresses, the narrator is forced to choose between being in love and defeating his arch nemesis. And there’s singing. It was one of the first mainstream web series that proved the internet could be used as a medium for episodic content, and unlike most web series, it's structured more like a movie instead of a television show, which means its only one season with a clear, definite end. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it was written and directed by Joss Whedon with a cast that includes Neal Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion.
The Guild. Speaking of Felicia Day, she’s also the writer, producer, and protagonist of The Guild, a web series that follows her nerdy, socially awkward MMORPG guild IRL. In other news, you don’t have to understand my previous sentence to enjoy the web series, it’s hilarious. Essentially, the protagonist befriends the band of internet strangers who she’s only met through a World of Warcraft like game in real life. The series is on its sixth season with commentary videos on its first five seasons so you could potentially waste hours of your life if you feel so incline. I mean-- in a good way.

VGHS. Freddie Wong has recently concluded the first season of VGHS, a web series about a boy who gets accepted into Video Game High School where students study to become professional gamers. And honestly, the producers of the series could have just slopped the episodes together and packaged it to the video game obsessed counterculture because even if it wasn’t great, it would still be every pre-teen boy’s wet dream to go to a school devoted to video games. Fortunately, it’s great. With its amazing cast, every character is rounded and witty, and the pacing and control of the story is better than most shows available on television. And of course, the visuals are so stunning and realistic that you’d want to transfer to VGHS before school starts.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Created by Hank Green, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austin. And although major modifications include using a webcam instead of pen and paper and minimizing the family to three Bennet sisters instead of five (Mary's their cousin and Kitty is a cat), it still remains faithful to the source material in both story and character development. The series also provides an accurate portrayal of the current generation of young adults. Not only does the protagonist maintain a vlog on YouTube, but all of the significant characters regularly update their Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook accounts in character. Even Kitty the cat has a Twitter account. Through the comment section, viewers are able to interact with the story and its characters while providing an outlet for fans of the series and Jane Austin alike.

Malice – The Webseries. Last but not least, Malice revolves around a dysfunctional family who recently moved into a creepy house with a cemetery across the backyard. Within minutes of their arrival, peculiar events start to occur, and it’s apparent that they are not welcome. Even though it probably has the lowest production budget of all the web series mentioned, the director never compromises his vision, and each episode delivers an air of suspense and surprisingly creepy and realistic special effects. With every scene, you can tell that it’s a labor of love from everyone involved, and the series is reminiscent of a classic episode of ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark.'

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