"This seems like a joke to me
That this old crap is on the screen.
Can't we get something better to see
Instead of this shit that's on TV?"
-Josh Meyers as Eminem, opening the 2002 season of Mad TV.
Back when I first heard this parody ranting against the lack of good programing on TV, I didn't put much thought into it. Sure there were some truths in the song about how shows like Friends, ER and others that had existed since the early 90's had gone stale and were just beating a dead horse.
But now that I think about it, there aren't that many shows out there today that have me turning on the TV I have in my room. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't think I've turned it on in almost a week. Sure there are shows out there that I still like (South Park, anything with Gordon Ramsay) but the truth is, you can find all the new episodes online within 12 hours of them actually airing and in very good quality as well.
And it occurred to me that the reason I'm not watching that much TV is because there are people on the Internet that are more entertaining than anything any current writer on The Simpsons can churn out these days. And like most TV shows, they have a new episode almost every week, there is no suffering of summer reruns and even though they might be done on a low budget, you can tell that a lot of care is put into them. So, I've decided to list (In no particular order, mind you) my favourite shows that I watch online.
1) The Angry Video Game Nerd (http://www.cinemassacre.com/)- This man is legend. James Rolfe owns perhaps every form of video game console every created and reviews the shittiest games of all time. He pulls no punches and takes no shit from anyone. He's beaten up Bugs Bunny (Twice!), shoved games up the Joker's ass and even set several games on fire. However the most foul-mouthed critic on the Internet may be the most passionate about what he does. Every October he does a review of horror films for every day of the month. His video titled Cinemassacre 300 is also very inspiring and gives a brief yet detailed history of his movie making career. With all his popularity, I'm surprised that he hasn't been approached by any big studios to do a movie however given how Hollywood has a tendency to fuck up a good thing (Star Trek), maybe it's a good thing that he stays on the net.
2) The Nostalgia Critic-I've been following the work of Doug Walker ever since I first say his video titled Rocky in 5 Seconds. He used to have all his videos on Youtube but they kept getting removed because of copyright so he did the next best thing he could and started his own website: http://www.thatguywiththeglasses.com/
While he does do a variety of different characters, Nostalgia Critic is my favourite and probably his most well known personality.
The fact that he also has the guts to watch some horrible dreck like The Garbage Pail Kids, The Star Wars Holiday Special and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The fact that he can cram over 90 minutes of cinema shite into a 15-20 minute review is great and his personality and writing is just perfect. I'm almost a bit surprised that he doesn't have his own TV show but then again maybe it's for the best.
2) Wafflepwn (www.youtube.com/wafflepwn) -This one might have you scratching your heads for a second. But then think back a few months ago to a viral video about an angry young man who was caught on video violently reacting to his mother cancelling his World of Warcraft account by briefly shoving a remote control up his butt.
If this doesn't sound the least bit familiar then you're not one of the 18 million (Yeah, million) who haven't seen the video simply known as "The Greatest Freakout Ever".
There have been several other videos featuring the young and angry Steven freaking out over things that some of us might consider a small inconvenience but none of them have the impact of the first one. There's a lot of debate going on as to whether these videos are real or if everyone involved is an actor.
Who cares really? I still think they're funny as hell and it's always nice to look at someone's craziness compared to yours and think, "It could be worse."
4) Atop the 4th Wall hosted by Linkara (http://atopfourthwall.blogspot.com) -Four words: "I AM A MAN!" followed by a punch in the guts.
I never really started paying attention to this guy until maybe a month ago, which is a bit surprising considering I'm a big comic book fan myself. But ever since I decided to watch his review of Superman at Earth's End (To finally understand the origin of the "I am a man!" catchphrase) I've found myself hooked to the show where bad comics burn. Like the other reviewers I mentioned, he doesn't pull punches and reveals how bad editing can make an already bad comic even worse (How does an editor make the mistake of using "to" instead of "too"?) That and I think he has the catchiest theme song out there today. Sometimes I'll just be at work and then it'll pop in my head and I'm spending the rest of the day trying to get it out.
5) Confused Matthew (http://www.confusedmatthew.com/) -Sometimes I find myself in total disagreement with him (The Lion King) and other times I find myself smiling and thinking, "Wow, I thought I was the only one who thought that way about (Insert movie title)". What Matthew does is take popular movies the general public adores and then tears them a new asshole (If they had one to begin with) by explaining the faults of them. I especially loved his review of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. For a while I thought I was the only one who thought that it was just a movie where we watch stuff float in space and get an ending that you would expect from an 11th grader who is finishing his final project in Creative Writing. He never shows his face and is only represented by a simple drawing. Very smart, very opinionated yet however you feel about the movie he is reviewing, you simply can't ignore Confused Matthew.
6) SfDebris (www.youtube.com/sfdebris)- Unless you're a fan of Star Trek, this probably won't appeal to you. He looks at every single series in the franchise and reviews mostly bad episodes however he has been known to review some good episodes every now and then. At the moment he's going through the process of reviewing every Star Trek movie out there but is taking a break from that to go back to the TV series'. He has a lot of knowledge about the episodes he reviews and he's pretty funny and doesn't pull punches by reminding us which characters are assholes and how the writers are even bigger assholes sometimes.
7) Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series (www.youtube.com/cardgamesftw)- If you've ever watched or heard of the anime series Yu-Gi-Oh, you're bound to love this show. If you have not heard of Yu-Gi-Oh, you're still bound to love it. And how can't you love a show that mocks a show where everything (Trust me, everything) revolves around a children's card game. The man behind this madness (The good type of madness) is known as LittleKuriboh does all the voices, writes all the scripts, does all the editing and you can tell that he puts a lot of care into his work. Plus the quality of the show improves with each episode. That and the fact that I've never heard a show with so many quotable lines makes this series something you can't miss.
I'm sure that there are lots of other great Internet series out there and I wish I had time to list them all. Hopefully you'll check (some of) them out because they really are worth the time. As I said before, no big budget special effects, no big crews working behind the scene. Just individuals taking the time to give the people what they want.