While we’ve spent the past few years debating ourselves to death about the diversity being offered mainstream television, the internet has been offering solutions for this problem all along. Some of the most progressive and representative television programming, like Broad City and HBO’s Insecure have humble beginnings on YouTube as web-based series.
Free of network bureaucracies, timing obligations, and the insider status to even get a meeting, web series creators can make the shows they want to see, and we all benefit from it. They may not have budgets in the tens of millions, but web series can easily become an addicting part of our lives just like our favourite broadcast and streaming shows. In fact, The Verge has even suggested that web series are the new pilot.
BET recently acquired its first ever web series Brooklyn. Blue. Sky. and co-creator Dui Jarrod told me exactly why he avoided the pitch-a-pilot route. “They haven't seen how you tell stories,” he said. “To be able to put my resources and talent into the universe so that people can actually see the way I tell stories, the way I structure my web series, and the way I write is a more nuanced way of getting the attention of networks as opposed to just sliding them a script.” And it worked. Brooklyn.Blue.Sky. has become BET’s first acquired web series.
Bringing a story to life for millions of people to watch is a form of art. It’s a way to tell stories and express oneself through a medium that has evolved from theatre and plays. Obviously, people on the margins, like Jarrod, who is Black, have things to say. Here are the creative web series that are well worth your time.