For my MA with Raindance I’ve been watching the pilot episodes of web series and have recently passed 200! I thought it would be a good time to stop and mention some highlights — from the perspective of a practitioner and writer/director/producer more than a critic. I’ll keep comments brief so you spend more time checking them out. This is just the first batch, I’ll call out more great and interesting web series soon.
This show is great. It is an Australian comedy about two young friends who come together despite some hardship try to take on a “reverse bucket list”. The story cleverly appeals to a few core audiences and is well written. Commissioned by Australian TV station SBS with strong production values, it remains in a very indie, relatable style that reminds me of also-Australian Josh Thomas’ amazing TV series ‘Please Like Me’ (which you should check out on Amazon Prime if you haven’t already!) Both are jam packed with honest, heartfelt and entertaining storytelling.
This is a hilarious, well-shot comedy series with very short episodes — more sketches than any cohesive narrative going on. It’s also an indie producer’s dream, as they rented a school for a weekend and shot a ton of stuff in one quick go with multiple simultaneous sets/episodes going on in different areas, I believe. It got picked up by TVLand for cable distribution and they made a ton more.
The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo
This is a very funny series that cribs some bizarro behaviour from Tim & Eric. It has quite long episodes, great dialogue, strong performances and very strong production values. Courageous directing whips through the story with a carefree and whimsical early Godard sensibility. The creator has done really well for himself and got an agent and development deals off the back of this. It’s one of the few series that I watched and then was interested in watching more episodes.
This is sponsored by Intel/Toshiba and shows incredible restraint at brand interference! The concept is very compelling and builds slowly to really lock you in. It’s a great example of the “tell one lie” approach to story telling!
This animated comedy series is very tightly written and plotted — each episode follows a clear traditional arc/dramatic escalation and the season follows a planned story arc. It’s pretty funny and targets a core audience quite effectively, I can easily see fans sharing it and it has earned its millions of views.
I’ll post again soon with more highlights!