Web Series Wednesday: What’s Really Going On

/ Nov 19, 2014


None of this week’s web series are fictional, meaning each will help give you a sense of what’s really going in the world. From combatting domestic violence to exploring the most dangerous side of the criminal justice system, these series will take you around the world and into the minds of some historical legends, finally giving you a history of the documentary form itself.

If you know of any other powerful, informative series on the web, feel free to send them our way at [email protected].

What You Can Do

These short-but-sweet videos promote important causes ranging from domestic violence prevention to fighting hunger in New York City. Watching them will make you feel empowered to do something about the world’s many, seemingly unsolvable problems. That’s a lot to say about a selection of one-minute videos. On the Leesh, based in New York City, produces.

Blank on Blank

If you like music, cream-of-the-crop celebrities, and animation, this is your show. The title, “Blank on Blank,” actually gets filled in with each episode…by artists like The Beastie Boys, Jim Morrison, and David Foster Wallace (in the first blank) and ideas like “Being Stupid,” “Why Fat Is Beautiful,” and “Ambition” (respectively). Entrancing animation accompanies old interview recordings exclusively with celebrities whose thoughts you want to hear. If they’re musicians, their music plays in the background. To sum it, this show from PBS Digital Studios is highly addictive for all the right reasons.

One For Ten

An impactful idea with a title to match, “One For Ten” marks a web series that follows the stories of innocent people who formerly waited on death row (which represents about one in 10 of the prison population that’s been sentenced death). Though episode one does get an introduction voiced by Danny Glover, each story is mainly told through the POV of the exonerated person. All of them reveal the dark side of the criminal justice system and the perseverance of the human spirit. The creators of the web series are also currently asking for crowdfunding help on a feature film.

Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia

Vice’s token…drug guy, Hamilton Morris, stars in this series as an explorer of pharmaceuticals. His exploration is of the hands-on variety, meaning he tries all of the drugs featured in the web series. Though it’s hard to take the guy seriously at times–and you always have to take any kind of Vice coverage with a grain of salt (as in, make note of the foreboding, exoticizing, dramatizing tone of it all)–“Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” will teach you something new about the featured drug and the world in which in exists. Call it a guilty pleasure.

The Journey of Documentary

Now to get a little meta on you, this documentary web series is about the making of documentaries. It begins with Alby Mangels, who first started showing his documentary film work in the 1970s. Every “episode” in this series actually consists of multiple “webisodes,” so each creator featured has more than one dedicated video. The series includes interviews with the likes of Sue Maslin (who created interactive documentaries like “William Bligh”) and Alan Rosenthal (who’s behind the docu-drama “The First Fagan”) as it explores the progression of the documentary genre through time.

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