There’s absolutely no doubt that the internet has changed the world – whether it’s how we find information (Wikipedia), how we search for stuff (Google), or how we watch the latest ‘cute kitten’ videos (YouTube). This change has spawned a subculture of people who write ‘first’ and ‘lolz0rs’ wherever they can find a comment box, and say things like, “dang homie G? Dawg, gangster slice” on YouTube. It would follow, then, that this audience could be harnessed in the web tv world, and indeed they have. Here are the top five scripted narrative web shows that have parodied internet culture to knockout success:
5. Homestar Runner
Although Homestar Runner is the main character of the series, it’s Strong Bad who steals this show, especially with his ‘Strong Bad Email’ sketch. In the series (of which there are almost 200 episodes), Strong Bad logs on to his computer and writes humorous and sarcastic responses to emails he gets, often mocking the sender’s name, hometown, and spelling/grammar mistakes. The show is impressive as much for its humor as it is for its longevity – Homestar Runner has been around since 2000, and continues to go strong.
4. Internet Commenter Series
The first episode of the Internet Commenter Series debuted just over a year ago (August 17th, 2007), but its parody remains just as relevant today. As the internet has expanded from tech savvy households into the mainstream, combined with the anonymity that the internet provides, we have discovered just how dumb some people’s thoughts really are. In this series, the staff at CollegeHumor shows us what things would be like if people’s real world behavior mirrored their online etiquette.
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3. The Website is Down
It’s no secret that we love The Website is Down. This first episode was brilliant – and enough people agreed to make the video go viral despite the handicap of a 10 minute run time. Tubefilter News recently got to take another look at the latest developments in the series, including some early footage of the next episode and other features that will be released on the site, and it has only made us impatient to see more.
2. Pure Pwnage
In Pure Pwnage, we explore a gaming underworld where video games and reality are intertwined so closely, at times it’s hard to figure out the distinction between the two. Ultimately, though, Pure Pwnage relies on its gamer-centric humor, which has catapulted it into a cult hit and allowed the series to continue for seventeen 10-30 minute episodes so far. As a warning, however, don’t expect to understand all the jokes in this series unless you know how to pronounce ‘pwnage’ and understand why ‘three-dozer build’ is an insult.
1. Red vs. Blue
The granddaddy of them all, Red vs. Blue, from Rooster Teeth Productions, is a machinima series based on Microsoft’s Halo games. Praised with bringing machinima to the mainstream, RvB follows two teams (the Red team and the Blue team, of course) as they half-heartedly (or perhaps incompetently) fight each other in a bloody civil war within the FPS game itself. The show is another testament to the longevity which series that cater to the online audience can have – this show has been on for over 5 years and well over 100 episodes, through three releases of Halo. Although popularity has waned somewhat in recent years, it continues to be one of the major shows on the web, having spawned multiple spinoffs of the original series. In a 2006 interview, Strange Company founder Hugh Hancock called the series probably “the most successful machinima productions” and estimated that RvB was pulling in nearly $200,000 a year.