6 online comedy series that deserve to be on TV
Between Broad City, Drunk History, and Childrens Hospital, TV networks have had a fair amount of success in recent years adapting short-form web series to more traditional television formats. With more and more people doing their viewing online, more creators have been inspired to embrace the web series as a medium, raising the bar for quality in the process. And since web series provide networks with completed pilots that have already been audience tested, it seems likely that more of them will make the jump from one small screen to another.
EW’s been trawling the web, looking for candidates for a Broad City-style transition. Here are six of the most promising:
At this point, Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair’s series about an exceptionally chill New York City pot dealer is more popular than a lot of TV comedies. But for now, the duo is sticking with the show’s home medium–season two was just released through a pay-per-view setup on Vimeo.
Jinny and Mimi are vapid, vain, and seem to spend most of their time drinking booze out of bedazzled flasks in the back seat of Uber SUVs—but Backseat Bitches creators Melissa Hunter and Jessica Lowe pack their portrayal of social-media-addicted L.A. party girls with enough clever writing to keep their satire from being simply mean. Somehow, you’ll find yourself rooting for these two to get into Macauley Culkin’s birthday party, even if they’re not actually on the list. With backing by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels–via his production company Broadway Video’s web arm, Above Average–it seems likely that Hunter and Lowe will follow in Abbi and Ilana’s footsteps.
Gary Saves the Graveyard
When a 37-year-old loser named Gary gets a job at a cemetery, he discovers in short order that the afterlife is real, that a malfunctioning portal to heaven has filled his workplace with restless (or actually just plain bored) ghosts, and that one of them is his high school best friend, who died 20 years prior. With its hilariously mundane portrayal of life after death, it’s like Beetlejuice with a much schlubbier protagonist.
Gabe & Max Need Help
Comedian/writers Gabe Delahaye and Max Silvestri have been friends and collaborators for years. (You may recognize them from VH1’s online series Gabe & Max Like the Internet.) In their latest joint effort, they play best friends named Gabe and Max seeking relationship help from couples therapist Kumail Nanjiani. Adapting this series for television might mean they’d have to move some of the action outside Nanjiani’s cramped office, but the weird little world they’ve created within that office’s confines is pretty much perfect as it is.
Wet Hot American Summer star and The State co-founder Michael Showalter plays the head of a family who found YouTube glory when he caught one of his sons on video shooting the other in the balls with a toy gun. His attempts to force a viral follow-up by any means necessary is a squirm-inducing joke on the democratization of fame (and our growing addiction to it).
Juxtaposing taupe-hued banality with a healthy dose of the surreal, John Purcell’s workplace comedy is like The Office if it took place inside a Monty Python sketch.