6 shows that went from the web to the small screen
Web series have blown up over the past decade – and not just on video services like YouTube and Vimeo. Cleverly written, filmed and produced 10-minute webisode shows are no longer limited to the net. A couple have gone from online to the big time as full-blown TV shows, with big budgets and bigger audiences.
And you can still stream them online. Here are our favourites.
High Maintenance S1-2 (Showmax)
What started as 5-minute webisodes about a New York marijuana dealer turned into a hit 30-minute series that’s now in its fourth season. The added runtime has given the series more room to expand as lead character “The Guy” – everyone “knows a guy who knows a guy”… well this is that guy – delivers his merch to clients who’re run the gamut from bodybuilders to dog walkers, and everything in between.
Broad City (featured on Just for Laughs on Prime Video)
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson went from web stars to mainstream leading ladies on Broad City (the title for both the web series and the TV comedy). They’re two Jewish 20-somethings trying to get by in The Big Apple. Everything from dating and sex, to work and busking for cash on the sidewalk, get the work-over.
By the end of the series you’ll be perfectly happy sitting on the couch on a Sunday night eating Chinese food with a fork in your beer-stained PJs not having showered all weekend. Because you know what? It’s okay to be yourself. Just have fun in the big, broad world.
While the TV series isn’t available to stream in South Africa at the moment, you’ll find some of the original web series here and Ilana and Abbi’s stand-up comedy in the Just for Laughs: All-Access show on Prime Video.
Insecure S1-4 (Showmax)
When it was a web series in 2011, it was called The Mis-Adventures Of Awkward Black Girl. Series lead and creator Issa Rae used it to document how meeting people was difficult when you’re living in a place as diverse and culturally spread-out as New York.
By the time it was made into a full TV show, the premise was largely the same, except for two things: NYC was swapped for LA and instead of it being about the awkwardness of meeting people, it was about the world seen through the eyes of two besties who’re insecure about different aspects of their lives, be it love, diet or their wardrobes.
Gentefied S1 (Netflix)
Instead of a separate web series and TV show, the two have been combined for this comedy made by Netflix. Three Mexican-American cousins are desperately trying to live the American Dream while dealing with prejudice, their old-school immigrant granddad who still lives in the past, and working at their family’s taco shop.
It’s a story of love and dreaming and never giving up, even when the world is against you.
Rick and Morty S1-5 (Netflix)
This was originally a short-movie parody on the Back To The Future films but the team at Adult Swim saw potential immediately. Five seasons later and time-and-space-travelling grandson Morty and his scientist grandfather Rick have blasted into the multiverse for their adventures.
It’s wacky, it’s geeky, it’s nerdy and filled with all manner of actual scientific principles and theories, but more so it’s a crazy adventure ride with the two very different lead characters as they try to find their place in the, well, universe.
Drunk History S1 (Prime Video)
Based on the original web series Funny Or Die, Drunk History is literally what it says on the box: storytellers (different, random people in each episode) retell historical stories while drunk. And they really are drunk – there’s no water in the glass… it’s vodka or tequila.
The dates and events are all 100% accurate, vetted by historians, but the real fun is in the storytelling and dialogue between the characters. No one is safe from the show either – from singer Otis Redding, to President Abraham Lincoln, they all get a drunken version of their life’s greatest achievements. The characters are often played by big-name actors like Michael Cera, Jack Black, Jason Ritter, Eva Mendez, Ryan Gosling, Jack McBrayer and Colin Hanks.