DragonCon was this past weekend in Atlanta, GA. Among the many interesting panels on diverse topics included a panel title “Web Series You SHOULD Be Watching.” The panel, which I was pleased to appear on as a panelist, focused on web series. This new media distribution channel is steadily becoming a more accepted entertainment option and looks to give traditional media outlets something to think about, as well as provide an alternative means for creative projects to find an audience. Also appearing on the panel were Kelley Clark (Agora Productions), Kelley Harkins (Director, American SciFi Media Track), Joe Crowe (Revolutionsf.com), Thomas Gofton (Creator, Mind’s Eye web series) and Derek Conley (The Hunted: Tampa and The Hunted: Vindication web series).
The panel was intended to introduce prospective audience members to the world of web entertainment and offer a sampling of web series worth watching to new and veteran viewers. With two web creators and the remainder of the panel including veteran web consumers, the panel provided a more in-depth discussion of the trials and triumphs of entertainment content created for web distribution. Of course for all the geeky goodness, you really had to be there. But do not fret, I will not leave you wanting.
If you want the listing of web series selections panel attendees received, you will find below the sampling of web series to get you started. The panel was sponsored by the American SciFi Media track. As such, the web series selections primarily fall within the sci-fi or fantasy genres. Entertainment is subjective and you may not enjoy all the series listed here, but please do not let one series prevent you from seeking other web entertainment. There is a plethora of web entertainment on the internet that will appeal to you. You have only to find it. To assist in your discovery, I have also included resource links at the end of the listing. These resource links are hubs for web entertainment and have created directories of web series and films for you to enjoy. If you discovery a series that you enjoy, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Usual Suspects - Popular series most people have likely heard of. These series are often pointed to as examples of how web distributed content can be a successful business model.
Doctor Horrible Sing-Along Blog – Completed, 3 episodes.
http://www.drhorrible.com | Now available on DVD & BluRay, or download on iTunes.
Summary: Following a want to be evil genius as he attempts to earn his place in the Evil League of Evil and impress the girl of his dreams. His every attempt is thwarted by his nemesis, Captain Hammer. Created, written and directed by Joss Whedon. Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon also contributed their writing talents, making it a family affair. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day.
The Guild – Currently airing Season 5
Summary: Created and starring Felicia Day. The Guild follows the adventures of 6 people who form a “guild” in an online MMORPG game. Over the course of the series, the members meet and become entangled in each others social and love lives, all while getting some raid time in. In the fifth season, the guild heads to a gaming convention where they learn more about themselves, each other and the game.
The Legend of Neil – Completed, 3 Seasons
Summary: Created and directed by Sandeep Parikh, who is also known as “Zaboo” on The Guild. The Legend of Neil tells the story of a drunk gamer wakes to find himself in the video game Zelda. The series takes fantasy roleplaying to another level, incorporating all the troupes of the classic video game, everyday drama and a contemporary sense of humor. Cast includes scifi favorite Felicia Day. Mature Content Warning: Language, Sexual Situations
Mortal Kombat: Legacy – Completed
Scifi, , Action, Drama
Summary: A fan-inspired web series that received corporate funding due to the quality of work. Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a live-action adaptation of the classic video game. Starring scifi fan favorites Tahmoh Penikett and Jeri Ryan.
Aidan 5 – Season 1.5 begins September 2nd, 2011
Summary: In a future when cloning is everyday practice with up to 5 clones per person, a serial killer is murdering clones. Two detectives head the manhunt for the mysterious culprit and come face to face with their own mortality. Film Noire style series that incorporates a dynamic comic feel.
Cable Network Sponsored Series - Cable networks have caught on to the marketing and advertising options web series can create, especially as a means of extending an established brand. These series are shows created or sponsored by major cable networks.
Torchwood: Web of Lies – Currently airing
http://www.youtube.com/starz | Download the App for iPad & iPhone in iTunes
Summary: Sponsored by BBC Worldwide and Starz. The web series is a companion to the current season of Torchwood: Miracle Day. In 2007, someone is after Captain Jack Harkness. It is up to Jack & Gwen Cooper to find out who and why. Simultaneously, the story follows Holly, whose brother is shot on Miracle Day for information he has about the people behind the miracle. Interactive motion comic produced by Russell T. Davies & Julie Gardner. Jane Espenson contributes her writing talents. Staring John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Eliza Dushku.
Warehouse 13: Of Monsters and Men – Completed, 10 Episodes
Scifi, Action, Mystery
Sponsored by Syfy.
Summary: When Claudia and Pete accidentally trigger an artifact obtained from a man who found comics detrimental to the youth of America, they find themselves and Artie living out the adventures of a comic book. Can they solve the comic’s mysteries? Can they find a way out of the story before it ends, or will they be stuck in 4-color?
Mercury Men – Completed Season 1. Awaiting news on Season 2
SciFi, Action, Mystery
Sponsored by Syfy.
Summary: In 1976, men from Mercury come to earth with a sinister plan to drag the moon down to earth. It is up to Engineer Jack Yeager and an everyday citizen, Edward Borman, to save the world and find out who’s calling the shots. Great tribute to classic black and white scifi movies.
Riese: Kingdom Falling – Completed Season 1. Awaiting news of Season 2 & possible transition to tv.
Sponsored by Syfy.
Summary: In a realm much like the feudal society of Europe’s medieval times, the land is in turmoil. An evil queen has a stranglehold on the realm and will go to any lengths to retain power. Across the land, an orphaned woman wanders with her wolf companion to find out who she is. Steampunk sensibilities interwoven into character development and costume design. Cast includes many Syfy fan favorites.
Rigamortis – Completed, 3 episodes
Summary: After the zombie apocalypse, two zombies fall in love while they struggle to resist their brain-eating ways. Meanwhile, the premier zombie hunter shows us no matter his fame, life isn’t always awesome. Fantastically fun musical take on the zombie apocalypse.
Blood Light – Completed, 2 Seasons
Summary: Blood Light sheds light on the everyday life of vampires. It is a bit of a parody of the hit HBO series True Blood. The series follows the after-lives of 2 vampires and their wannabe friend living normal lives. Topics covered range from therapy, anger management, dating and identity crisis. Mature content warning: Language, Sexual Situations.
The Black Dawn
Summary: A plague sweeps the globe, killing most of the world’s population within seconds of exposure. A small band of survivors in Los Angeles struggle to find answers, other survivors and to stay alive.
Lumina – Completed Season 1. Awaiting news of Season 2
Summary: What if alternate dimensions existed on the other side of reflections? The series explores that question. As the series begin, a woman meets and falls for a prince from the opposites side of reflections. As they become more involved and more people become aware of the relationship, we discover nothing is what it appears to be. There is a bigger conspiracy being played out in both realms. Beautifully shot with great use of soundtrack.
Gemini Division – Completed Season 1, 50 Episodes
Summary: A happy couple visits Paris. When the guy goes missing, his girlfriend must find out what happened to him and stumbles onto a government conspiracy. Live action with CGI landscapes. Cast includes Syfy favorite, Allison Scagliotti.
Afterworld – Completed, 130 Episodes
Summary: A massive electromagnetic event occurs, causing permanent electronic outages across the globe, along with the disappearance of most the world’s population. One man is determined to find his way back to the family he left across the country. During his journey, he will meet other survivors – some friendly and helpful, others with more sinister intentions. As he travels, he will find clues that lead him to learn who caused “the fall” and why.
Misfits – Currently airing Season 2
Summary: Five British teenagers are sentenced to community service. When they are struck by lightening during a spontaneous storm, they develop super-powers. As they come to grips with their new abilities, they realize they weren’t the only ones affected by the storm. Can they learn how to use their abilities? Will they use their powers for good?
The Booth at the End – Currently airing Season 1
Summary: What would you do to heal a sick loved one, get the girl of your dreams, or the life you always wanted? In The Booth at the End we meet a mysterious man who can help you get what you’ve always wanted. All you have to do is complete a task. What if the task puts you or someone else in danger? What if it is illegal?
Border Guardians of Ackernon – Currently airing Season 2
Summary: In a fantasy realm, graduates of “The University” become politicians, warriors and powerful mages entrusted with the safety and security of the realm. In recent years, their power has been weakening and a danger from another land threatens the enchanted walls. The series follows the Guardians as they recruit and train new students to ward off the dangers facing the realm.
Trenches – Completed, 10 Episodes
Scifi, Action, Drama
Summary: Two civilizations embroiled in a space battle find themselves forced to work together to survive the planet. Cooperation is a priority because they are not alone.
Anica – Completed Season 1. Season 2 in pre-production & talk of a movie
In the future, government soldiers are selected for experimentation in hopes of creating an elite force. When one of the super soldiers is accused of murdering a high official, a disgraced soldier is tapped to track the missing soldier before the political climate worsens and endangers galactic peace. Fantastic CGI landscapes.
Future Series to Watch For - These series are currently in the works. Given what we have seen, these series are worth checking out when they are released.
Osiris – Premiers September 28, 2011
Summary: A man with resurrection abilities must track down a kidnapped federal witness. As he embarks on his search, he discovers a conspiracy, and finds clues about the source of his ability.
H+ - Season 1 in production
Summary: In the future, people take internet connectivity to the next level with a chip implant. Making the internet more accessible changes the socioeconomic landscapes across the globe. What happens when something goes wrong? Will the desire to be connected be our downfall?
Zenoids – Season 1 in production
Summary: Created and starring William Shatner. Executive produced and starring Amanda Tapping. The story follows an alien family singing across the galaxy.
Resource Links - Websites which provide directories of web series and films available for viewing.
Crackle – http://www.crackle.com
Webserials – http://www.webserials.com
Web Series Channel – http://www.webserieschannel.com
Scifinal – http://www.scifinal.com
Fear – http://www.fearnet.com/shows