57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)

I realized back in 2005 that internet TV was probably going to be a thing.  It wasn’t just that YouTube made it’s debut, but also Revision3 – former cast and crew from TechTV making free, professional, content delivered like a podcast.  The format of the two were a little different with Revision3 offered high resolution versions of their shows; Systm (tech how-tos), Diggnation (tech/social news), Control Alt Chicken (cooking), and more.  Fast forward twelve years and I find the majority of programming I care about doesn’t come from a standard TV network, but can instead still be found online.

Here are a few of my current favorites:

Welcome to the Basement/Blame Society

I originally found Blame Society back in 2006 because of their show Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager.  Picture the loser relative of Darth Vader who works in a grocery store, but is just as power hungry as the Vader we all know and love.  Turns out they make some pretty great (and hilarious) observations on film.  Side note, Matt Sloane (voice of Chad) is so good at doing Vader’s voice that he now voices Darth Vader in most Star Wars video games.  I rediscovered Blame Society while on a Brian DePalma kick – their video commentary on Phantom of the Paradise kept coming up in searches on his films.  Now it’s a weekly staple in my video watching routine.  It’s one of those shows where you feel like you get to know the hosts over time.

Screen Junkies/Honest Trailers

I found Screen Junkies because of Honest Trailers and now it’s something I look for every Tuesday.  You’ve probably seen at least one – honest commentaries on films with more than a touch of humor and biting commentary.  Screen Junkies News is also a great source of film and TV news, especially comic book and sci-fi genres.  It started as a little YouTube channel with a few people riffing on movies and has grown into something resembling a laid-back pop culture news network.

Hot Ones/Food Grails

Hot Ones is spicy chicken wings and questions… that’s it.  The challenge for the celebrities (or near celebrities, in some cases) is to keep focused on answering questions while eating wings with ever-escalating spiciness.  Almost everyone is over confident on their ability to handle the sauces and hilarity ensues almost every time.  TJ Miller was my first, but I’ve watched them all (some a few times).

Food Grails, also from Complex/First We Feast, documents little-known foods within cities and neighborhoods.  From Atlanta’s lemon pepper wings to D.C.’s Mumbo Sauce, it sheds light on foods I otherwise wouldn’t know.  I even bought a bottle of Capital City Mumbo Sauce out of curiosity – totally worth it!

Binging with Babish

Ever wanted to sample foods from your favorite TV shows?  Andrew Rea experiments with recipes, usually trying the accurate recipe first from a classic TV episode.  If that doesn’t work out then he attempts to make a tastier version based around the original concept.  Seinfeld’s chocolate babka, The Moistmaker from Friend’s, the foods of South Park, the and many, many more are covered on the show.  The foods can range from something simple (carbonara or fish tacos) to the outrageous (SNL’s TacoTown taco or Big Night’s Il Timpano).

Cinefix

You know those internet countdown lists?  They’re everywhere, but this one has a twist… it’s really good!  It’s a masterclass in filmmaking in the form of short YouTube videos (and I’ve taken three film courses, so I know 😉 ).  Some picks may seem arbitrary on the surface, but there’s always a method behind their madness.

Kaptainkristian / Nerdwriter / Lessons from the Screenplay

These tree YouTube channels are not related, but they share a very similar structure… deep dives into a single subject.  Kaptainkristian pulls ahead as my favorite of the group, but are all equally interesting and thought provoking.

Song referenced:

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac.  And with that affliction comes some really odd TV watching.

In middle and high school it was Tom Baker-era Doctor Who reruns on PBS, Dream On and Tales from the Crypt on HBO, and Friday the 13th: The Series (which had nothing to do with Jason Vorhees or Camp Crystal Lake).
One of my favorite late-night discoveries came a few years later in the form of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.  It was essentially a pastiche of low budget British programs, Stephen King-esque storylines, a hospital soap, and behind-the-scenes documentary all in one.  Oddly, it shares some ideas with Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital (based on Lars Von Trier’s Riget/The Kingdom) from the same year (namely a haunted hospital).

It’s hard to describe… it’s a show within a show with the actors reminiscing about their now forgotten work.  It’s gory, purposefully offensive and dumb, and just kind of brilliant.  If the behind the scenes interviews hadn’t been included, I’m not sure it would have worked as well as it did.

Instead of trying to describe it, you can watch the first episode:

Ireland: Intermission

To help brainstorm titles for the Ireland pieces I’ve been writing, here’s a list of all the films and TV shows set or connected to the Republic or Northern Ireland that I’ve seen.  Is there something Irish that I need to see and don’t have listed?  Maybe I’ve seen and forgotten, but either way, let me know!

Continue reading Ireland: Intermission