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20 web TV shows we're watching

Bethany Simpson
20 web TV shows we're watching Bethany Simpson

20 web TV shows we're watching

So you think you're up-to-date by DVRing "Grey's Anatomy." But the new normal is streaming "Lilyhammer" through Netflix on your Xbox, subscribing to channels on YouTube, and watching web TV originals on your iPhone.

In case you don't know where to start with your viewing, we've listed 20 of our favorites. The list varies between high-quality scripted and reality-style shows, Disney's "Power Up" where a teenager lives out video games in real life, Tony Hawk's "Ride," newsy dailies, and a Seth Meyers-voiced cartoon.

There's something for everyone on this list. That's one of the benefits of web video -- it doesn't have to be created for a single massive audience. Today's viewers are in charge of what they watch.

We start our list with...Netflix's all-new "Arrested Development."

"Arrested Development"...continued!

The Bluth family is back! "Arrested Development" is an American television sitcom originally created by Mitchell Hurwitz for Fox.The show's storyline centers on the Bluth family, a formerly wealthy, habitually dysfunctional family. Ron Howard is an executive producer and the uncredited narrator. Three seasons of the show were produced and aired between 2003 and 2006.

In late 2011, it was announced that Netflix would exclusively license new episodes for a 2013 debut on its streaming video service. All 10 episodes will be released on the same day and are planned for an early 2013 debut.

Since debuting on Nov. 2, 2003, the series has earned six Emmy awards, one Golden Globe, and widespread critical acclaim and has attracted a cult following, including several fan-based websites. In 2007, it was listed as one of Timemagazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME." In 2008, the show was placed No. 16 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.

"Dating Rules from my Future Self"

From Alloy and the producers of "Gossip Girl," Hulu's "Dating Rules from My Future Self" is the story of a 20-something looking for love with the help of her two best friends and secret texts from her future self. The show features actress Shiri Appleby of "Roswell" and "Life Unexpected" fame, in three seven- or eight-minute webisodes a week. Each segment launches with a "presented by" sequence, with Revlon, Ford, KaoBrands' Biore, and Energizer Holdings' Schick among the sponsors, which also have their products featured at various times throughout the series.

We're really liking the characters and pacing of this well-produced new series.

"Smosh" is the No. 3 most subscribed channel on YouTube

"Smosh" is a web-based comedy duo consisting of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. They began to post videos on YouTube in 2005 and became one of the most popular channels, with more than 4.7 million subscribers as of May 2012.

Two of our favorites are the very funny "I suck at Draw Something!" and "Siri tried to kill me!"

The duo was so popular that Alloy Digital worked with them to launch our next feature..."Shut Up Cartoons."

"Shut Up Cartoons": Things have changed since you were a kid

If you're over the age of 22, you might not totally get "Shut Up Cartoons." But this irreverent, high-energy mishmash of animation and stop-motion videos is bringing in millions of views. One of our favorites is "NINJAPPRECIATION DAY (Zombies vs. Ninjas #1)."

"Lilyhammer": The mob goes to Norway

Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt), a former member of the New York's Italian Mafia, is put in the witness protection program after testifying in a trial in the United States. Tagliano is relocated to Lilyhammer, Norway, as he was intrigued by the town when he saw television images of the 1994 Winter Olympics, and therefore chooses to start his new life, as Norwegian-American immigrant Giovanni Henriksen.

The first season premiered on Norwegian NRK1 on Jan. 25, 2012, with a record audience of 998,000 viewers (one-fifth of Norway's population), and premiered on Netflix in North Americaon Feb. 6, 2012, with all eight episodes being available in full for streaming on the service. "Lilyhammer" is the first original series by Netflix. A second season has been commissioned.

Dentyne + scripted comedy "Single Life" = FTW

Dentyne Gum sponsored this series of shorts (each episode is about four minutes) where we follow young singles through the intricacies of online dating. "Will these two safe breath soul mates come together?" "The Single Life" is surprisingly fun to watch.

"Daily Shot": Witty. Daily. Uber topical.

Ali Wentworth's new show, "Daily Shot with Ali Wentworth," is produced by Disney Interactive, and broadcast online by Yahoo. The series, shot in Ali's kitchen, includes three- to five-minute pieces geared toward moms who need their daily dose of news in a hurry. Ali and sharp-witted sidekick John Carhart are an engaging and very funny duo. This is one of our new favorites.

"The Guild" is a cult favorite

"The Guild" is a comedy web series created and written by Felicia Day, who also stars as Cyd Sherman/Codex. The show premiered on YouTube in 2007. The show revolves around the lives of a gamers' online guild, The Knights of Good, who play countless hours of a fantasy MMORPG video game that is referred to only as "The Game." Joss Whedon credits "The Guild" as one of the inspirations for "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," which also starred Felicia Day.

The series is currently pending renewal for a sixth season. It's part of the weekly line-up on Felicia Day's new YouTube channel "Geek & Sundry."

You had us at the title "The Awesomes"

Hulu's "The Awesomes," from Seth Meyers and fellow "SNL" writer Michael Shoemaker, is described as, "An unassuming superhero and his cohorts battle diabolical villains, the ever-present paparazzi, and a less-than-ideal reputation as second-class crime fighters." It's expected to debut on the site sometime in 2013.

Click here to get a look at the early potential character design.

"Power Up": Imagine if you could play video games in real life

"Power Up," Disney Interactive's new original web series, gives families an inside look at the exciting world of video gaming. Presented by Kinect for Xbox 360, the weekly show on Disney.com is hosted by YouTube and musical sensation, Christina Grimmie, who will cover a wide range of game-related topics, including reviews of popular console, mobile, social, and casual games. The series will also feature comedic game-based skits with other popular YouTube stars, as well as original songs and music by Grimmie. Fans can also check out "Power Up" on Disney's network on YouTube, Disney Mobile, and Xbox LIVE.

"Battleground": Because fictional politics are way more fun than real ones

"Battleground" is a documentary-style dramedy television series created by J. D. Walsh streamed on Hulu. The show follows a group of political campaign staffers working to elect a dark horse candidate to the U.S. Senate in the battleground state of Wisconsin. Walsh serves as executive producer alongside Hagai Shaham and Marc Webb.

The show marks Hulu's first foray into original scripted programming. It premiered online on Feb. 14, 2012. This show is already developing a cult following.

Tony Hawk's "Ride" YouTube channel

Tony Hawk's YouTube "Ride" Channel features a number of skateboard-related shows, such as Jamie Thomas' "Let The Good Times Roll;" "Trick-a-day;" "Hand in Hand," which features interviews with musicians who have inspired skating (e.g., Thurston Moore); "Free Lunch," which highlights famous past skaters; and "In Focus," a show about making skate movies.

"My Damn Channel LIVE": Celebrities, sass, and high-fives

"My Damn Channel LIVE" stars the very funny Beth Hoyt. The original "My Damn Channel" had more than 100 thousand subscribers and more than 60 million video views. In March the producers changed the format to a daily live show. The sassy, funny show features interviews with celebrities and interesting figures, as well as exclusive videos from more than 30 original comedy series...and, of course, lots of Beth. The live show is every weekday at 4 p.m. ET.

"Table Top": Wil Wheaton + board games. Geeks rejoice!

"Celebrity Poker" meets "Dinner for Five." "Table Top," one of the shows on the YouTube channel "Geek & Sundry," is hosted by Wil Wheaton. He describes, plays, and discusses board games with a group of quick-witted friends. Not convinced? Give it a look. Wil is the consummate host. In this episode, Wil and friends play Settlers of Catan.

"The Sweet Spot": It's like "The Apprentice" for inventors

Real inventors have five minutes to pitch their ideas to the judges. The ideas vary from time-saving household items to indestructible covers for iPhones to totally off-the-wall ideas that should never have seen the light of day. We want to see more. NBTV Studios, please release this show!

"American Parkour." Oh yeah.

Can't get enough parkour? Then "American Parkour" is the channel for you.

"Tank Tycoons"

"Tank Tycoons" appears to be about handsome guys making money building strange fish tanks. We're intrigued. Produced by NBTV Studios.

From Disney Online Originals: "Talking Friends"

Mobile entertainment company Outfit 7 partnered with Disney Interactive Media Group to create "Talking Friends," an original animated web series based on the hit "Talking Friends" app franchise. The new series, which extends the "Talking Friends" brand from the app space to the online world, features popular characters including Talking Tom Cat and Talking Ben the Dog, and will run on Disney.com, Disney's new YouTube network, and will be available through the "Talking Friends" mobile apps.

To date, "Talking Friends" apps have been downloaded more than 390 million times worldwide averaging more than 35 million downloads per month. In addition, more than 750,000 user-generated "Talking Friends" videos have been uploaded to YouTube and have been viewed more than 354 million times.

Hulu's "A Day in the Life"

"A Day in the Life" is an internet television documentary web series that represents Hulu's first original long-form programming venture. The first season includes six episodes starring Morgan Spurlock, whose production company,Warrior Poets, produced the show. Spurlock is known for "Super Size Me," "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," and "30 Days."

Can't get enough of NBC's "The Office"?

NBC was one of the first networks to create online originals to complement its traditional programming. "The Office" website includes webisides "The Girls Next Door," "The 3rd Floor," "The Mentor," "Subtle Sexuality," "Blackmail," "The Outburst," "Kevin's Loan," and "The Accountants."

Bethany Simpson

Bethany has worked with Fortune-1000 executives for 8 years. From 2007 to 2011 she served as director of content development for the Leadership Network, a private online community for C-Level leaders of Fortune-1000 companies and $1B+ organizations.

View full biography


to leave comments.

Commenter: Corey Kronengold

2012, May 25

Solid list, but you're missing some amazing original web video. Leap Year, Downsized, Anyone But Me, Good People in Love, RCVR, Funny in Love, Between Two Ferns, just to name a few off the top of my head.

Its a long weekend. Go watch more web video!