With the 9-year anniversary of my YouTube Channel coming up, it got me to thinking about my what inspired me to start making videos online to begin with. We all love to look back at the video we first watched online on old sites like Metacafe, Bebo and pre-Google YouTube (for me it was the Lego music video for the song ‘Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot’ in September of 2006, I was really into Lego at the time, and my brother showed it to me, and from there I got hooked on YouTube), but, there are some videos that went on to become essentially syndicated shows online, and those kinds of shows inspired me to make my own video series called HeadphonesUK.
So, as fun bit of nostalgia, I’m listing my top 10 favorite Internet shows that gave me inspiration for me and my videos.
I’ll be including links to their websites/channels, so if you want to check them out yourself, feel free to do so, I’d love for these guys to get more attention, so, let’s get started
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged by Team 4Star
Anime is not something that everyone can enjoy, despite it’s growing integration into Western media in the last 20 years, many people just don’t like or care about it. That’s fine, but I feel that there is an anime out there for everyone, something from over in the East that someone can get into. But, for those who are incandescent with not being able to get into anime from all the silliness, translation issues and over-the-top elements, then don’t worry; Dragon Ball Z Abridged is the show for you.
Run by a group of voice-acting and anime enthusiasts called Team4Star, Dragon Ball Z Abridged is a show that is taking the most well-known anime from the previous decade and giving it a new dub with their own voices that completely changes the tone and context of the show’s story, now, everything is all done tongue-and-cheek, with heavy amounts of self-aware and 4th wall jokes and openly mocks the original source material, but still shows respect for it at the same time.
The show is hilarious, and the voice actors and writers really do a good job with making a show that was already entertaining and fun and makes it a lot smarter and more accessible, to the point where I consider it even better than the original, the characters are almost their own creation, rather than just mockeries of their original versions, and they can still give you a story that is engaging and enjoyable to watch, and can be a great introduction to Eastern story-telling
It’s still not quite for everyone, the jokes can be a bit crude, and they still follow a serialized format, so you can’t just jump into the most recent episode and understand what’s going on, but, if you don’t care for the story and just want to hear some good jokes (like I did when I first started watching) then you’ll definatly enjoy this show
Animation is an art form that is amazingly fun to watch, but hard as hell to make, which is why it’s extremely inspiring and fascinating to see animation from independent and amateur origins become so big and beloved
Such is that case with EddsWorld, a animation comedy series made by a group of friends from England over NewGrounds, the series follows the exploits of the titular character, Edd, and his friends Matt and Tom, as they go through almost any kind of scenario you could imagine, joining the army, going into space, going to Hell, making movies, building a house; and giving us plenty of charming British humor along the way
The show started as a very amateur affair, and you’ll be forgiven if you can’t get into the first few episodes, as they are very cheap-looking, but they still have the great voice-work and humor that persisted up until the show today, and as the World of Edd keeps growing, so does the fanbase, and it has one of the most dedicated and cool fanbases of any internet show
Part of that is because of the personal difficulties of the original creator, Edward Gould, who routinely suffered from Leukemia until it claimed his life in 2013, which was a tragic end to a man who was so creative, funny and hard-working. But, his friends and family kept the show alive, and while it has gone on a hiatus for now, the legacy that the show has created will live on for ages, and is still a great bit of fun to return to anytime.
- Todd in the Shadows
Music is something that is very subjective, everyone has a music style that they love and really speaks to them, but there are some music styles that not everyone can get into.
Modern pop, RnB, rap and rock music has been at the barrel end of a lot of criticism more so than most forms of music for a long time now, and whether it’s justified or not, if you do love to hate mainstream music, you’ll love Todd in the Shadows
A mysterious man with a keyboard and a hoodie, Todd is man who’s not afraid to show his utter hatred towards music in the world today, but he’s more than just a man in the dark spewing curses and bile from behind a veil, he’s actually a very clever, attentive and amusing critic, who tries to give his genuine reasons to why he feels modern music doesn’t work, and what could be done to make it better
If you weren’t a fan of songs like ‘Shake it Off’, ‘Single Ladies’ or ‘Sexy and I Know It’ but couldn’t understand why, Todd will probably have the reason that you couldn’t get into these songs, and while his very bleak and harsh view on the modern world of musical entertainment can be a bit tough to watch for some, I personally love it, even if I don’t always agree with his opinions, but that’s the conundrum with critics as a whole anyway
He also does two other shows, ‘One Hit Wonderland’ which takes a look and bands and artists who only became known for one song, and ‘Cinemadona’ a look at Madonna’s film career, they’re also great too.
- The Cinema Snob
Film-making isn’t easy, any media student will tell you that, but there are times when the art of filmmaking is lost on many people, and despite all their efforts, what they turn out can just be a badly acted, horribly designed, cheap, exploitive mess.
But, despite that, we can always have a good laugh at the mistakes and flaws of even the worst kinds of movies, and that’s where the Cinema Snob comes in
Played by film fan and amateur film-maker Brad Jones, the character of the Cinema Snob is a very pretentious and egotistic film-critic who has a taste for the finer films in life, but if forced to watched the worst of the worse, and makes fun of them in a snarky, grouchy and hilarious tone all the way through
Inspired by the critic Roger Ebert’s review on the movie Friday the 13th part 4 and the TV show Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Brad Jones takes a very casual take to film reviews with his comfy chair and laid-back tone, cracking jokes like it’s as natural as breathing, and throwing in some sketches along the way, it’s very easy to lounge around with him while he watches these awful movies, and it’s a great bit of fun to have on a lazy afternoon
Comic books are coming more into the mainstream now more than they ever have done in this centaury, thanks to big Hollywood movies and TV shows, more people are reading comics than ever, however, not all comic books are great, and if you’ve read enough of them, you’ll know that many comic books can generate the biggest nerd rages you’ve ever seen
Lewis Luvhaug, aka Linkara, takes up the job of looking at these awful comics and proves just how terrible they are in his show Atop the 4th Wall, whether it be the awful 2011 reboot from DC, the terrible decisions made my Marvel about the Spider-Man books, or the decision to make the Mar-vile series, or just digging up awful comics that promote outdated computer and fruit snacks from the 80’s, Linkara takes a look at them all and rips into them with no remorse
A very amiable and agreeable chap, Linkara is watchable due to his very likable persona and honesty in giving his opinions (despite his slightly annoying voice and ego), and even if you’re not into comic books, Linkara’s dedication to giving you the information you need to know to understand what’s going on in a story, the behind-the-scenes info and the interesting (if very unusable in real-life) trivia that keeps you coming back to learn more, even if he has a penchant for going on long rants and tangents in his videos
Despite this, Linkara is a guy who just seems like you could listen to him for hours, and make us thankful that what we see on the screen is usually better handled than whats on the paper sometimes
- The Hardcore Kid
The obscure entry on the list, New Jersey born and bred robot and cartoon enthusiast, Brandon Nichols, takes it upon himself to take a look at the shows and movies that many people wouldn’t look at, or, as he puts it ‘hardcore enough to review kids stuff’
In terms of the other review shows that are on this list in terms of subject-matter and content he’s not that different, but what makes him watchable is his more younger attitude and persona than most internet critic satire shows, with looking at things from the new millennium, and even taking a poke at awful content on the internet, which isn’t very original now, but back in 2011, not many people were doing that
With his sunglasses, leather jacket and love for the Ramones, AC/DC, Robot Wars, Red Dwarf and Father Ted, HK is someone that seems very amateur in his craft, but his likability and willingness to talk about almost anything is endearing, and his more free and loose show format means that he’s pretty much a wild-card in the reviewer world, so when you tune it, he could review almost anything, and I do mean anything
While he may seem like the sleeper on the list, he was one of the biggest influences to me to start my own review show, and I do owe a lot to him for that, so it felt fitting to put him on the list
- Nostalgia Critic
We all have those shows and movies from our childhood that we love, but then there are the shows that we don’t remember that were either silly, awkward, or just downright terrible
But, the Nostalgia Critic is here to remember it so we don’t have to. Played by artist Doug Walker and co-produced by him and his brother Rob, the Nostalgia Critic is an erratic, childish and loud-mouthed individual who takes a look at old movies and shows that were downright awful, but are great to make fun of
One of the earliest and ambitious players in the reviewer game, NC has created a legacy and franchise that has been more lucrative and long-standing in the whole online media industry, and his creation of the site ThatGuyWiththeGlasses.com (which has now become ChannelAwesome.com) has been the launching pad for many of the great reviews of our time, including Linkara and the Cinema Snob too (though they’ve gone off on their own more now, anyway)
The Nostalgia Critic is defiantly more cinematic and over-the-top than most online shows, and the very hard-hitting, zeitgeist-appealing formula isn’t for everyone, but, if you’re willing to put up with some high-pitched screaming and a few jokes that don’t hit home for you, you can defiantly find a funny and enjoyable show in this format, made all the better by the fantastic performance by Doug, and the great writing by him and his brother, plus the inclusion of Malcolm Ray, Tamara Chalmers, Jim Jarosz and all the others that do a great job in helping this, from the start, very small, pokey little internet comedy show, blossom into one of the biggest internet franchises of all time
While Doug has moved into more modern films to review, the heart and soul of his original shows is still there, and even if he does a video you don’t like, there are always 5 more around the corner that will be to your liking, or, you can check out many of other shows he’s made, like Bum Reviews, Disneycember, Ask That Guy, Video Game Confessions, Shut up and Talk, Honest Thoughts and many, many more, Doug is truly one of the pioneers of the modern online media artistry.
- Screwin’ Around
Video Games are, in my opinion, the only media that can be so engaging on a consumer level that it becomes a way of life, and so because of that, many websites have come about that celebrate that fact, Machinima, IGN, GiantBomb, Destructoid; the list goes on
One of the earliest was a little site called Screwattack (and yes, we all think the same thing when we first hear that name, and yes, everyone thinks it’s a site that would be about something much dirtier that video games, but trust me, it is about video games). Started by former Coca-Cola employee, Slamball player and video game enthusiast Craig Skistimas (aka Stuttering Craig), Screwattack (and it’s new sister site, Gameattack) are dedicated to making any content they can that celebrates, mocks, observes and makes people think and admire video games in general, that includes sketches, reviews, podcasts, animations, you name it, they’ve done it.
And while many a great show has come out from them in the last 11 years of their company (including the upcoming two on this list) one of my favourites is the Streaming gameplay show Screwin’ Around (though they’re not helping their image with that name, now are they?)
Screwin’ Around is a show that is just the Screwattack staff playing games and making commentary as they go, a simple premise, but what makes it work are the personalities of these guys, they are just so much fun to watch, no matter what they play, you always root for them to win, or laugh at them for failing every time, but my favorite was the ‘Terrible Thursday’ sub-series, where now co-head of Screwattack, Chad James, and now former employee Jared Knabenbauer (aka ProJared) play awful old games and try to beat them
The way these two play off of each other and the reactions to what they play are hilarious, and whether you want them to win, or lose, you have fun watching either way, and it led to some of the greatest moments in Screwattack history
Sadly, Screwin’ Around doesn’t exist anymore, but, plenty of the episodes are still online for you to watch, and I highly recommend you do so, it’s living proof of the greatness of video games
- Death Battle
However, while Screwin’ Around was a fun show, only one of Screwattack’s shows made it rise above the competition to give it some thing unique from all the other game websites, that would be Death Battle
Death Battle is a show that pits two fictional characters from different franchises against each other and makes them literally fight to the death, you name it, and they will duke it out, Hawkeye vs. Green Arrow, Superman vs. Goku, Mike Hagger vs. Zangeif, Mario vs. Sonic, Iron Man vs. Lex Luthor; the list goes on and on
Hosted again by Chad James and also Ben Singer, Death Battle makes every nerd battle fantasy come to life, with impressive video-game-based animation, brilliant commentary and extreme attention to detail research, Death Battle is a show that has to be seen to be believed, and is still one of the biggest shows online to date
- The Angry Video Game Nerd
While there may be bigger and better shows out there, this one is the one that got me into the online video craze, and defined my interest in online viewing for the rest of my life
With the most self-descriptive title imaginable, the Angry Video Game Nerd, played by filmmaker James Rolfe, is a character who was originally created as a joke, but his popularity exploded him and his creator into creating a franchise, and creating the basis of every online reviewer since, and while there were and few concepts similar that came before, he was the one to bring it into the mainstream, and has stuck around for almost 15 years!
The AVGN is a basement dwelling, beer drinking, foul-mouthed video games nut, who tortures himself by playing terrible video games for a living, with a vocabulary that would make Frankie Boyle blush, and a personality that would make Jack Nicholson look twice, the AVGN is a living train-wreck, when he goes off on a rant and starts swearing up a storm and destroying his games and living room, you can’t look away, and while he is certainly not for everyone, those who can get into his explosive and insane personality and his never-ending colorful choices of words and analogies to describe how bad the games are that he reviews never stop laughing at it, and along with his friend Mike Matei, James has created a legacy for himself and his site Cinemassacre.com that will ensure that he goes down in history as one of the biggest trendsetters in modern media, and whether or not you like his videos, you can’t deny that.
Leave a comment if you have any online videos that you particularly enjoy watching, and I hope you liked the list, and please check these guys out, they really are amazing at what they do.