Some of the best television shows had humble origins: think Insecure, High Maintenance, Broad City, Portlandia, Billy On The Street — the list goes on. And oftentimes, what's streaming on Netflix or whatever just doesn't cut it; we want to see real, raw, funny, powerful writing and acting you can only find in certain corners of the internet. Here are The FADER's current favorite web series.
The Gay And Wondrous Life Of Caleb Gallo, is an excellent queercentric web series centered on a group of struggling actor friends in L.A. who are figuring out their sexualities and relationships. It's a true must-watch that'll surely get picked up by some fancy network soon. And Freckle, the show's unequivocal standout, is a fucking star. —LEAH MANDEL
2. Youth, etc.
Youth, etc. is a delightfully light and hilarious exploration of the best-friendship of Jalen and B, two on-and-off-camera BFFs who are just trying to live their best lives in Washington, D.C. The show's pretty new and pleasantly DIY, with the its first episode finding the two pals clowning and brilliantly taking on the peak-corny world of Instagram poetry. Right now, the show's only got 3 seasons, so it's an easy binge. —NAZUK KOCHHAR
Director Chloé Robichaud's six-part anthology series about a group of queer women living in Quebec is a must-watch whether you speak French or not. With stories about dating across age gaps, coming out, ending long term relationships, and slightly awkward group holidays, there's something relatable in these beautifully shot 10-minute vignettes for anyone. It came out in 2014, but now is a great time to start watching, as they just announced they're finally filming season two. —AIMEE CLIFF
4. Her Story
This short, sweet, and moving six-parter focuses on the work and dating lives of trans and queer women in L.A. It's scripted and directed by trans women too, which shows in its honest, well-rounded characters. (Janet Mock and Laverne Cox are fans, btw.) I binged it all in one go and then watched it all again a week later. After watching it, check out this great BuzzFeed piece. —OWEN MEYERS
It's hard to describe The Special in a way that's broadly appealing, but I guess that's part of the point. The weekly, hour-long show, which recently aired its 100th episode and technically hits Manhattan Public Access before it hits YouTube, is budgetless longform improvisational sketch comedy interspersed with live punk rock performances. It is often insanely slowly paced, like a recent episode of a (fake) awards show for magicians where almost every prize is given to a regular-looking guy who claims he's not a magician but just has powers he can't control. That idea is sort of funny as a typed sentence but completely depraved over the span of time that could otherwise be 10 sketches on SNL. Some web shows can feel like auditions for something better paying; The Special makes you want to throw a brick in a businessman's face. —DUNCAN COOPER
6. Claudia O'Doherty's What Is?
You might recognize Claudia O'Doherty from her small role in Netflix's Love, where she plays Mickey's roommate Bertie. She's good in that, but if you want to see her being great then check out her short run of comedy investigations made back in 2013. Filmed in London, where she was living at the time, O'Doherty plays a self-obsessed actor (and millennial illusionist) who is making a series of videos for her family's travel agency. Over three short episodes she tries to understand England, get her head around the concept of time, and crack the case of Jack The Ripper. Results vary but the laughs flow freely. —DAVID RENSHAW
7. GREEN PORNO
Isabella Rossellini started this series of wacky shorts about animal behavior in 2008, but I still encounter people who've never even heard of it. Inspired by earth's creatures' “incredible variety of mating, which is very scandalous,” Green Porno began with the sex lives of insects, before later expanding into birds and sea creatures. Each 3-minute episode stars only Rossellini, dressed as the organism of the day and accompanied by paper-crafted creatures (Rossellini designed every costume, set, and prop herself). It's highly educational, odd, hilarious, and unexpectedly feminist. My favorites are Praying Mantis (above), Bee, and Duck, from Green Porno spinoff Seduce Me. —LEAH MANDEL