Once upon a time, cable TV was the greatest invention for couch potatoes and entertainment junkies alike. What you couldn’t get on local channels, you could easily access on cable, uncut and uncensored. However, with the advent of the Internet, avid fans of TV have started to get their TV show fixes online, rather than cable. That’s because watching stuff online has become oh-so-convenient.
Everything is on the Internet, so people hardly turn on their TV sets anymore. With lightning-fast Internet speed, it’s so easy to just stream a TV show that you missed the day before and it’s no different from watching it on TV and from this streaming phenomenon was born the online TV channel.
The biggest provider of online TV shows is Netflix, a subscriber-based on-demand Internet streaming media. There are other Internet channels that offer the same services, proving that the growing trend on online TV is the next big thing, and it’s here to stay.
Since millions subscribe to online media, these online networks have taken to developing their own online-only based TV shows. A lot of these shows have not only been sprouting up, they’ve been garnering critical acclaim and recognition from the Emmy’s and Golden Globes!
Here’s a run-down of online-only TV shows that are worth checking out.
9. Arrested Development (Netflix)
Although it originally aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006, Arrested Development was cancelled after three seasons due to low ratings. Fans were disappointed when they found out they wouldn’t be seeing the wacky, dysfunctional Bluth family on TV anymore. Luckily, Netflix decided to pick up the show as an exclusive series for Netflix subscribers and aired a fourth season in 2013. There’s talk of a movie and fifth season in development. Fans are of course, beside themselves with excitement.
8. The Awesomes (Hulu)
Hulu has also been bringing its own brand of original web series to the proverbial table. One such series is The Awesomes, an animated comedy starring comedian Seth Meyers. The show tells of a group of superheroes who take the place of a disbanding superhero team called The Awesomes. Under the leadership of Jeremy Awesome, the son of the original Mr. Awesome, the group is hoping to revive the glory that the previous members basked in. The first season sat well with fans, so the show is being renewed for a second season.
7. Awkward Black Girl (YouTube)
Also known as The Misadventures of Awkward Black girl and Friends, this American comedy web series was originally aired on YouTube in 2011. It depicts the life of awkward girl J and her relationships with her co-workers and love interests. The show has been praised by fans and critics, saying its depiction of African-American women is spot on. Its wit and comedic lines have captivated its fans, garnering the show an avid cult following.
6. Battleground (Hulu)
The title of this original Hulu TV series makes it sound like a serious, heavy show. On the contrary, Battleground is actually a mockumentary comedy-drama and is Hulu’s first attempt at showing an original series. The show is about a group of Democratic political campaign staffers, lobbying to elect a not-too-popular candidate to the U.S. senate. The show has been well-received by critics and audiences alike and it’s available for viewing on the free Hulu channel, in an attempt to garner more subscribers for the paid channel, Hulu Plus.
5. Behind the Mask (Hulu)
Another documentary series was produced by Hulu and this one focuses on a much-overlooked aspect of a sporting game: the sports mascot. Behind the Mask follows the pitfalls and grievances of sports mascots and how they’re often taken for granted by athletes and sports fans alike. It depicts the life stories of these mascots and how they’re given so much attention when they’re wearing their mascot costumes; but once they remove their outfits, no one gives a whit about them. A second season was announced and it’s set to premiere sometime later this year.
4. Burning Love (Yahoo!)
With reality shows coming out of our ears, a spoof of these shows is a welcome comical change. Ben Stiller seemed to think so too, since he produced Burning Love, an online comedy series that spoofs reality dating shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. The contestants have been played by the occasional celebrity, like Kristen Bell, Jennifer Aniston, and Stiller’s real-life wife, Christine Taylor. The series was nominated for an Emmy and though it originally aired online on Yahoo!, it was eventually picked up by E!
3. Hemlock Grove (Netflix)
Everyone loves a good horror show. Having covered the genres of comedy and drama, Netflix went on to give viewers something in the horror/suspense genre as well. Hemlock Grove is a fictional town in Pennsylvania and the setting of the TV series. It follows the brutal murders of two townsfolk and the suspect is believed to be a werewolf. As a testament to its success, the show was nominated in 2013 for a Primetime Emmy Award for original online-only web TV series.
2. House of Cards (Netflix)
Any show with Kevin Spacey in it is sure to be worth watching and House of Cards is no exception. Based on a BBC mini-series with the same name, House of Cards is a Netflix original that was created with a U.S. setting. The show follows Frank Underwood, an ambitious U.S. congressman who is out to bring down the whole government in the most devious and manipulative of ways. The show has been lauded as one of the best political dramas in history. It holds the distinction of receiving the first Emmy Award nomination for original online-only web TV and its lead actress, Robin Wright has brought home a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama series.
1. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
A show that is yet to broadcast its second season in June, but has already announced a third season is one hit show indeed. Orange is the New Black is about a woman sentenced to fifteen months in prison for serving as an accomplice to her girlfriend, who is an international drug smuggler. The plot sounds ominous, but it’s actually a comedy, funny man Jason Biggs, being amongst the talented cast. The show has been nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy, proving that it’s not only popular among the fans, but critically acclaimed as well.