Your girlfriend’s brother has one, your barista has one, maybe your cool uncle even has one: We’ve all got the tools, so it appears we’re all making web series. Last year, HBO made deals with some high-profile web series creators, Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair of High Maintenance and Issa Rae of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (her HBO show is called Insecure and we’re ready for it, already!). Aspiring TV creators have heard the message loud and clear: if you’re hungry and talented, a web series just might be your path to TV stardom.
Then again, the way things are heading, every TV show will soon be a “web series.” The term is a bit misleading — couldn’t a Netflix original technically be called a “web series”? — although it’s usually used to describe independent, lo-fi shows uploaded by their creators straight onto YouTube. But the past couple years have seen an explosion of high-quality series created specifically for the web, many created not by individuals with time on their hands but professional writers, directors, and producers.
There are now global networks of “creators” and “influencers” backed by real money: This year, NBCUniversal launched Seeso, a subscription-based streaming network focusing on comedy (it’s $3.99/ month, but you can try it out for free now). And this month, the media company Fullscreen announced it, too, was starting a subscription video service focused on “digital first” young’uns.
The number of shows on “regular” TV is overwhelming enough. So we’ve waded through the recent and upcoming offerings to give you ten web series worth your time.