We receive a ton of tips every day from independent creators, unaffiliated with any major motion picture studios, television networks, new media studios, or other well-funded online video entities. The Indie Spotlight is where we’ll write about and shout out to a select few of them and bring you up to speed on the great (and sometimes not-so-great) attention-grabbing series you probably haven’t heard about until now.  Read previous installments here

This edition of Indie Spotlight is sponsored by Tongal.

An LA-based political writer is out to prove Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert don’t have a monopoly on mock news. Grace Parra is the host of Pretty Strong Opinions With Grace Parra, a satirical program that puts a spin on The Daily Show’s signature format.

Pretty Strong Opinions will look familiar to fans of Comedy Central’s late-night tag team. Sure, there’s no glitzy set, studio audience, or swooshing graphics, but  Parra’s unafraid, lucid takedown of political stupidity uses the same style that has made Stewart and Colbert (and, more recently, John Oliver) into household names. She even has her puns down pat; the first episode, which discusses the anti-immigration protests in Murrieta, California, is titled “Batten Down The Snatches“.

Parra’s own beliefs are rooted at the center of Pretty Strong Opinions. “I find that in the realm of political comedy, female writer-performers, especially minority females…are sorely, sorely underrepresented,” she wrote in an e-mail. “The kinds of political comedy videos that go viral are almost exclusively at the hands of your Colberts, Olivers, and Stewarts, and I think the opinion I offer here is one that none of these guys (adept as they are at their jobs) can replicate.” Sure enough, the monologue at the center of “Batten Down The Snatches” is a passionately feminist manifesto that pushes the issue a little farther than Stewart and Colbert tend to take it.

No matter how you feel about Parra’s politics, the bottom line is that Pretty Strong Opinions is funny. Parra’s jokes hit more often than they miss, and they lead the show into strong territory–even if it may rustle some jimmies.

OTHER UNDER-THE-RADAR SERIES TO CHECK OUT

  • Igor’s Anti-Vlog VlogA comedian, hungry for millions of YouTube views, creates a vlog that satirizes vapid YouTube vlogs.
  • Classic AliceA young woman creates vlog versions of her favorite books, a la Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Despite the title, the first book to receive this treatment is Crime & Punishment, not Alice In Wonderland.
  • Pretty, DumbA guy from the sticks must put up with his two new L.A. roommates.
  • It! People. A CGI-heavy satire of the overblown nature of the Hollywood film industry.

Got a series you’d like to see featured in the Indie Spotlight? Be sure to contact us here. For best coverage, please include a full episode in your e-mail.

This edition of Indie Spotlight is sponsored by Tongal. Tongal is changing the way creative work gets done, by making it accessible to people everywhere. For brands, studios, and causes, Tongal’s innovative platform provides continuous access to a global network of creatives, offering fresh ideas and insights, and top filmmaking talent to bring them to life. Tongal’s collaborative, merit-driven process enables everyone to focus on the work they do best. The result is outstanding content delivered with great speed and efficiency. Tongal is based in Santa Monica, California.