There has probably never been a better time for binging on fun, free television. I’m always surprised at how few people watch shows on YouTube.
Sure, you can find old movies there and episodes of some older shows, but I’m talking about original content shows. Yes, Virginia, there are well-written, well-acted, well-produced shows being uploaded every hour by very talented people … if you know where to look.
This is by no means a definitive list, but these are the YouTube shows I am hooked on right now:
(Quick warning – these are NOT all-age appropriate. Be prepared for a lot of lightly-beeped cussing.)
The top of my list has to be “Pitch Meetings” by Ryan George. In this series (over 100 videos and growing), he imagines what the Hollywood pitch movies must have been like to get to the bizarre choices in popular films.
Best episode: Aquaman
“Movies Explained For” (MEF) has good old boy Jebediah explaining famous movies for different audiences. For example, “Breakfast Club explained for Millenials,” “Toy Story explained for Adults,” and “Overboard explained for Rich People.”
Best episode: Fifty Shades of Grey explained for Prudes
“Screen Junkies” is famous for their “Honest Trailers,” commercials that look and sound exactly like the movie previews you see in the theaters … but with more accurate depictions of what’s really going on in the movie.
Make sure to stick around after the credits of each 5-minute video, to see the bonus scenes!
Best episode: Star Trek the Next Generation
Closely related to Honest Trailers is “Cinema Sins” by Screen Rant, also known as the “Everything Wrong With” series. They tally every worn-out cliche, ridiculous plot twist, continuity error, or other “sin” in famous movies. Though they do tend to get too critical, they are usually very funny. These are so popular they recently launched a new line of “Television Sins.”
These are best for movies that you know very well. They jump around so much that it’s hard to follow on movies you haven’t seen. Also, some of their recaps run too long for my taste. Reviewing a 90 minute movie should not take up 25 minutes, no matter how terrible it is.
Best episode: Everything Wrong With Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (featuring Michael Bolton)
And finally we come to “After Hours” by Cracked. It comes last only because it has been discontinued. Cracked laid off the actors from seasons 1-6 and the replacement cast never really gelled.
Side note – remember Cracked Magazine? It was a treasured part of my youth and I assumed it had died out, but no! They reinvented the brand as a hilarious blog at: https://www.cracked.com/
Seriously, check it out.
After Hours involves four mid-30s friends with encyclopedia-like pop culture knowledge arguing theoretical takes on popular movies, tv shows, and comics.
Best episode: 4 Disney Movie Villains Who Were Right All Along
I’m always looking for more fun shows to watch so please comment to let me know your favorites!
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