If you find yourself becoming bored with the conventional programming of cable networks, flip your channel to the internet. Yes, the online video service YouTube is quickly becoming a progamming hotspot of it’s own, featuring many original programs from the likes of Felicia Day, Chris Hardwick, and even soon to be retired Hollywood Director Kevin Smith.
Fans of mainstream geek culture podcasts should be familiar with the words Nerdist and Smodcast. And not to be outdone, internet geeks and gamers alike probably already know the name Felicia Day from her web series The Guild. But, as the evolution of entertainment and tech goes, all three share a common idea, to introduce original programming on their own YouTube channels.
While original videos are not uncommon on YouTube (for which it was founded for), creating complete original programming akin to what you might find on a regular television channel has been hard to find. Not any more.
Geek and Sundry, founded by Felicia Day, offers original programming ranging from personal Vlogs to table top games played by geek celebrities.
Table Top is a 30 minute program, hosted by Wil Wheaton, featuring different groups of random geek celebs challenging each other to a different fantasy board game each week. At the top of the show, Wil sits at the middle of a gaming table and explains the game and it’s rules to you. Once the guests are introduced, play begins. During the play, you, the viewer, are cut away from gameplay to personal interviews with each guest. At the end of the game, the winner is presented with a trophy with a piece of tape bearing their name on it. The winner then has the trophy taken back from him, but is allowed to keep the name-tape as the trophy. As the host and fellow player, Wil offers a more charming side of him that is not seen on his roles in The Guild and The Big Bang Theory. All in all, its a fun 30 minutes to watch.
Sword and Laser
Sword and Laser is a weekly book club program outlining, well, books. Beginning as a book club on the internet and morphing into a podcast 4 years ago, Veronica Bellmont and Tom Merritt offer a weekly review of books that appeal to the more geeky side of our culture. In the middle segment of the show, they interview an author and talk about their upcoming projects. For the readers, be it digital or traditional, this show is like the EW of books. Bellmont and Merritt are natural fits for the camera.
Dark Horse Motion Comics
Popular indie comic company Dark Horse brings to you segments of their most popular comics brought into motion. If you have never seen a motion comic before, do not make the mistake of thinking that this is a fully animated cartoon ala Rocko’s Modern Life. Motion comics tend to be frames of the original comic with only one or two parts of the character moving….like an arm or a head. And these are no different. True comic book enthusiasts will find this show entertaining. The voice acting and sound effects are really well done. If you are a fan of Dark Horse Comics, be sure to check this show out!
The Nerdist was founded by various TV shows host and all out nerd king Chris Hardwick. You may know Chris from his hosting duties on G4’s Web Soup, his stand-up comedy career, or even his days as the host of MTV’s Singled Out. But Chris is so much more. Chris, along with Matt Mira and Jonah Ray host a very popular podcast called The Nerdist. Out of the podcast, Hardwick created a channel on YouTube bearing the same name. Chris’ contacts in Hollywood and comedy play well to his lineup, featuring such headliners as Weird Al Yankovic, Rob Zombie, and Harry Knowles. While featuring shorter programming in the ten minute range, the videos are widely entertaining and will have you checking your subscription for newly added content everyday. As for the line up….
- Face to Face with Weird Al Yankovic – featuring mock interviews between Weird Al and real celebrities
- Kids in the Hall – Classic Kids in the Hall sketches followed by an interview with Chris Hardwick and the sketch group.
- Weird S#!t from Japan – Jukka Hilden from The Dudesons finds, well, the tile explains it all.
- Ain’t It Cool – Harry Knowles, or his Muppet alter-ego, talk about movie-related items and interview famous people.
- Chris Hardwick’s All-Star Celebrity Bowling – Chris and his Nerdist team take on a different Celebrity team each week in a bowling match for charity.
- The Indoor Kids – Based on the Nerdist-spawned podcast, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V Gordon, and Steve Agee play a video game and comment on it.
And there is so much more! For the complete line up, watch the Nerdist announcement here!
And as for S.I.T, Kevin Smith’s Smodcast soon-to-be-video empire, well, there has been no actual programming put up yet. But he has promised across Twitter that there will be numerous videos of his various podcasts put up, as well as we can expect his cartoon version of his podcast, Smodimations, to be featured as well.
Before I sign off of this blog post, I just wanted to give you my favorite sites to go for online entertainment. I hope you enjoy these links as I do!
- Funny or Die – We all should know this site by now.
- Breaking it Down – Catherine Reitman’s movie review vlog on YouTube.
- Just Some Random Guy – Hilarious comic strip story lines and parodies created with action figures.
- Epic Rap Battles of History – Famous Icons getting all 8-mile!
Entertainment options for the nerd culture indeed have a bright future. With the advent of the internet programming push, Nerds will finally have a very large, diverse line up of entertainment avenues to pursue across many different platforms! I ,for one, have found so many enjoyable online programs and sketches to watch, with little or no effort into searching for them mind you. No longer am I relegated to The Big Bang Theory. The true nerd in me is being represented on, of all places, YouTube. Live long and prosper, you crazy internet programming pioneers!
[Jason is a writer for The Tech Shop Boys blog as well as Co-Host of The Tech Shop Boys Podcast]