The first webisodes started coming out before most people were even online. In 1995, Bullseye Art started creating short, simple web-based cartoons that can still be viewed on the Magic Butter Network. Since then, web series have come a long way, with Hollywood studios and big name actors and directors getting involved. Web series even have their own awards, The Streamys, which have just opened up nominations for their third year of production. There are dozens of web series out there, with varying levels of quality. A few of the ones I highly recommend:
Doctor Horrible’s Singalong Blog – has anyone not seen this yet? The three-act musical comedy was written during the 2007 Writers’ Guild strike as an experiment in circumventing the issues that caused the strike. The experiment was successful, with profits high enough to pay the entire cast and crew (all players initially donated their time) and a second series on the way.
The Guild – if you’re a gamer or have just had to live with one, you will find plenty to laugh at in The Guild. Felicia Day created the comedy to showcase the lives of gamers who fell outside the stereotype of adult men living in their parents’ basements. The first season was shot with the support of donations from fans; subsequent episodes were paid for, in part, by commercial sponsors.
Legend of Neil – this funny and foul send up of the NES game Legend of Zelda is produced by Sandeep Parihk of The Guild, and features Felicia Day as a crazy, sexually aggressive fairy.
Dating Rules from My Future Self – Two seasons exist so far, and can be seen on Hulu. The first season is easily the better of the two, but, the second season is worth watching just to see Vampire Diaries star Candice Accola get hilariously sexy with a bag of cheese curls.
H+ - I’m including H+ based on the potential of the promised interactive portions. The story so far is spare but intriguing. I’m looking forward to seeing more interactive elements of the story. So far, a few images have been released, which presumably include clues.
Archivos Mortales – This Spanish-language horror web series is pretty much a by-the-numbers haunted house story, but, good acting and solid camerawork and inventive use of limited resources make it worth watching.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – wonderfully funny watching for the socially awkard everywhere. The show is supported by donations and is now in its second season.
The Outs – the story about four gay Brooklyn guys trying to build creative careers and find love may sound like a gender-reversed version of Girls, but, the characters and stories are all their own. The episodes’ original soundtracks alone, which are stacked with work from Brooklyn area musicians, make it worth the watch.