Web Series Wednesday: Learn Something or Let Your Brain Relax

/ Aug 20, 2014

WSW_02

This Wednesday, we’ve been watching a mix of educational content and narrative “drama” (consider the word used loosely). From series sent our way to recent releases, the following five shows have something to offer in terms of knowledge, entertainment, and quality filming. Check out the shows below, and you’ll probably come across something you like. If not, you can always email us with tips about web series worth watching at [email protected].

It’s Okay to Be Smart

“It’s Okay to Be Smart” might have a slightly overbearing title, but the content sheds any “lame” inclinations the show might seem to have at second one. High quality production and a nerdy-but-kinda-admittedly-cool scientist host makes this show like the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” of the web. From sharks to trees, “It’s Okay to Be Smart” uses engaging graphics and intriguing facts to make viewers feel like, yeah, it is okay to be smart.

PsychoDrama

When an acting teacher encourages his class to seek therapy for their emotional needs (rather than letting these needs invade their acting), three of his female students rise to the behest…and end up seeing the same therapist as a result. As the women deal with problems—not big problems, but their problems—a smart, funny, and honest plot unfolds. Plus, the set-up between sketches and therapy monologues provides for a pleasing series format. You can watch “PsychoDrama” on Vimeo.

Chop Shop

A welcome change from the often light-hearted, garden-variety web series, Machinima’s “Chop Shop” takes place on prison grounds and in gang territory on the LA streets. Episodes run about 22 minutes long, meaning the show was most likely originally angled for television, but the writing isn’t quite finessed enough to impress TV network execs. However, you’ll nonetheless find yourself sucked into the series, which has a long-form and complex (read: there are lots of characters) narrative plot, making it unique in terms of style, content, and format.

Frankenstein, MD

With a strong, female lead, “Frankenstein, MD,” which debuted on August 19 on YouTube, tracks the difficulties inherent in being a woman in a man’s word—this particular world being medical research. Though her certainty in her success can boarder on irritating, main character Victoria Frankenstein doles out real, scientific ideas in a way that laypeople can understand. Her sidekick Iggy provides some much-needed comic relief to the show created by Bernie Su along with PBS and Pemberley Digital.

Antiheroes

This is the super hero series we’ve all been waiting for. Bringing the genre back down to reality, “Antiheroes” features debt collectors who gain powers that they can’t quite be bothered to use in any constructive way. Brought to you by Cracked Studios, the show is genuinely clever, and though you won’t particularly like the characters, you’ll probably empathize with their plight. They deal with the onset of powers like invisibility and mind reading in the way that people not accustomed to having super powers would—like it’s exciting but mostly weird and honestly kind of a burden.

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