Nominated for a Golden Globe in 2011 for her supporting role in the hit Showtime original series Dexter and with 10 other entertainment-related awards already under her belt, Julia Stiles is no newcomer to the stage and screen. It may surprise some, then, to find her starring in this lesser-known web-series produced by WIGS, an entertainment company specializing in digital media.
As a single mother living a secret double life, Stiles gives an exceptional performance as the title character. Seasons one and two are both available on YouTube and are broken down into short episodes of 10 minutes or less. Those who prefer to watch on Hulu, however, can catch both of these seasons as well as a third one offering longer episodes averaging anywhere from 35 minutes to 59 minutes per installment. All in all, Blue is a very intriguing story with a strong supporting cast and it is available whenever you are.
Another series produced by WIGS, Lauren stars Jennifer Beals of The L-Word, Devil In a Blue Dress and Flashdance fame alongside Troian Bellisario of Pretty Little Liars. Lauren centers around the dark and controversial subject matter of sexual abuse in the military and the reasons that some may have for wanting to cover such incidents up. A complex and emotionally-binding script brought to life by accomplished actors, Lauren rather adeptly tackles multiple points of view while uncovering insights often unique to military personnel. In 2012, Lauren’s main writer, Jay Rodan, was nominated by the Writer’s Guild of America for Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media for his work on the show.
Like Blue, WIGS also offers two seasons of Lauren on YouTube where episodes are broken up into multiple shorts. For those with longer attention spans, season one can also be watched on Hulu in longer formats. As of this writing, season two is not yet available on Hulu, however.
Comedy fans will love The Mis-Adventures Of an Awkward Black Girl (often referred to as Awkward Black Girl or simply ABG). The entire series takes place over the span of two seasons all of which are available on YouTube. ABG follows the life of J, a socially awkward twenty-something, as she wins and fails her way through work and love. This show offers amusing portrayals of interracial dating and work situations that most of us have had to navigate at some time or another. As J tells her story, however, we’re privy to what goes on inside the mind of a sometimes insecure, always funny woman as she overcomes obstacle after obstacle while trying to find the perfect work-life balance.
In 2012, Forbes selected this show’s creator, Issa Rae, as a member of their 30 Under 30: The Entertainers list based on this hilarious YouTube hit series. With a culturally diverse cast, Rae is as fearless in front of the camera while playing the main character as she is behind the camera as the show’s writer and director. Rae is so good at what she does, in fact, that ABC’s golden girl Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) partnered with her to produce I Hate Dudes which was originally courted by ABC before the network decided to pass on it.
Jaleel White may be this show’s creator and lead actor, but make no mistake about it, main character Reggie Culkin is no Steve Urkel. Not even close. What he is is a former child actor turned Hollywood consultant. Fake It Til You Make It depicts the quintessential stereotype of a stray group of wannabes chasing dreams of celebrity and riches. Culkin leads the pack with his careless industry advice and cunning methods of lining his own pockets by any and all means.
As the show’s creator and producer, White stays true to his comedic roots while portraying the ever charismatic and experienced Hollywood hustler. The situations he leads his clients toward are over-the-top, but believable by anyone who’s heard stories of actors and others who are willing to do anything to make it in the entertainment business. While you’ll find scattered episodes on YouTube and Vimeo, all eight episodes of Fake It Til You Make It are available on Hulu.
5. In Transit
If travel shows are your thing, then by all means check out In Transit. Making his way by foot, bus and train through Mexico and Central America on a shoestring budget, the first season of traveler Peter Bragiel’s journeys will entertain you as much as give you a fresh sampling of destinations not often covered on other travel shows with far more comfortable accomodations. In subsequent seasons, Bragiel travels down the Mississippi River, makes his way across the Trans-Siberian Railway and cuts a land path across the U.S. making for one intriguing road trip after another.
Not to be confused with another web series by the same name available on YouTube, all four seasons of Bragiel’s In Transit travel series can also be found on his YouTube channel under his username: PDrop. The series is also embedded on his own website InTransit.tv. Visitors to that site may also enjoy Bragiel’s blog and a few other goodies stationed there.
Still in the mood for a good travel adventure? UnRestricted totally delivers as longtime friends, Mitch St. Pierre, Skot Sanderson and Shawn Kazda take off on an unforgettable journey to find the legendary and sometimes mysterious Bamboo Express buried deep inside Cambodia’s interior. The destination isn’t the highlight of this series as much as the trio’s process of arriving there is. See, Mitch St. Pierre is wheelchair bound and Cambodia isn’t exactly known for its accessibility. The three friends turn the camera on themselves as much as they do the landscape while exposing elements of their often endearing and sometimes raw friendships.
An activist with strong political leanings, St. Pierre is known for spotlighting various human rights issues. While trekking through Cambodia amidst floating neighborhoods and children struggling for survival, he and his travel companions accomplish precisely this in UnRestricted. Eight episodes of this unforgettable journey are available on koldcast.tv. A 29-minute episode of behind the scenes footage can also be found on the filmmaker’s YouTube channel.
The perfect combination of food and travel, veteran drifter Mark Wiens samples the best street food from places like Thailand, Kenya, India, Korea, and more. It’s one globe-trotting meal after another on his YouTube channel where he shares delectable recipes and spicy goodness from all over the world. Born in America, Wien’s childhood years were spread out over France, the jungles of the Congo, and Nairobi, Kenya, all which undoubtedly contribute to the ease with which he appears to adapt to new cultures and dishes.
While most of the videos are of Mark’s mouth watering as he describes and samples an array of aromatic delights, he also has a scattering of videos where he dons a chef’s hat to tutor viewers on how to make some of his favorite international meals at home. Episodes are fairly short, but there are plenty of them since Wien’s has been dropping new installments at least twice a week for the past five years.
In 2010, when Larry King retired from his popular talk show on CNN after 25 years, many believed that the veteran host was done with the regular talk show schedule and would only do occasional television specials. Well, turns out he wasn’t quite ready to hang up his trademark suspenders just yet. In 2012, Mr. King began a new talk show series which can be found online at Hulu, on ORA TV or on RT (formerly Russia Today). Larry King Now is very similar to his former CNN gig, Larry King Live, in that it features one-on-one interviews with some of the most intriguing people in the world including business moguls, celebrities, athletes, politicians, and newsmakers from around the globe. All interviews are available on demand with new episodes released Monday through Thursday each week. Each installment is just under 30 minutes and, as of the time of this writing, the show has already received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Discussion and Analysis in the News and Documentary category.
If you’ve ever thought about what you’d say in a sit down with your younger self (I’d tell myself to save time, steer clear of single’s traps, and just head to millionairematch.com), then this series is one to watch. Starring Shiri Appleby and Chloe Cunningham, Dating Rules From My Future Self is a comedy produced by the same team who brought us the CW hit series, Gossip Girls. The show’s premise is built around a young woman on the wrong dating path. The woman she will someday become, of course, knows this and begins sending her text messages offering sage relationship advice tailored just for her…since she is, after all, her.
There’s a little bit of a twist between season one and season two, but there will be no spoilers here. While episodes aren’t even 10 minutes long, the show’s writers are able to tell a good story that gets straight to the point in each installment. Episodes are currently available on Hulu and a healthy assortment of clips can also be found on YouTube.
With no less than 15 different awards and honors, including three distinguished LA Web Festival Awards, Orange Juice in the Bishop’s Garden is a multi-season comedic-drama centered around the lives of a group of edgy high-schoolers set in 1990’s America. As a weekly web-series with an ensemble cast, episodes run from three to 10 minutes long and focus on real-life issues involving romance, jealousy, friendship, LGBTQ subjects, and, of course, the ins and outs of being in a band with people you both love and hate. Oh, the memories…and the drama!
Created by independent filmmaker Otessa Ghadar way back in 2006, Orange Juice In the Bishop’s Garden is one of the oldest, longest running, and more popular web series around. Viewers can enjoy episodes on a variety of platforms including YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and IMDB. Entire seasons are also available at no cost on the show’s website orangejuiceinbishopsgarden.com.
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