Reviewsday : Top Ten Youtube channels

Hello and welcome to the first edition of my  new weekly post; Reviewsday. (Not the catchiest of titles I’ll concede, but it’s a fair-ish representation of what I’m planning on doing!)

Now, first things first, these won’t actually be critical reviews. I don’t want to add another load of essays on top of the regular blogs/rants Charli and I do. So, to save myself some writing and you guys some reading, I’ll be presenting my reviews in the time-honoured form of a Top Ten.

I’d much rather share the things I love than slate things I personally didn’t get on with, so think of it more as an ‘Alison Recommends’ segment than a true critical review. Also, just to warn you all, I’m not going to stick to any one particular type of ‘thing’ to review; anything is fair game; books, films, tv shows, albums, games, podcasts, plants, vehicles, events, anything; new or old. I’m gonna cover EVERYTHING!

Spoiler Policy: I am going to try VERY hard not to give away any spoilers in my review posts. In the case of books, films and tv shows there will be some plot description to try to explain what it’s all about. I’d be grateful if any comments could be equally spoiler-free. Thanks!

And with that as explanation, here comes the first Reviewsday entry;


Alison’s Top Ten Youtube Channels

I’ve been a fan of New Media for a long time now, although I’m far from being completely up on it. I’ve been a podcast listener for at least 4 years, and have spent the last year discovering youtube as something more than just a place to watch videos of cats playing keyboards, or goats talking like humans. I’m probably only subscribed to about two dozen channels, and a lot of them are by the same people (i.e. one broadcaster has 3 or 4 different channels to put out different content) so it was fairly easy to come up with a top ten without having to leave people out. However, it does mean that these are all from a very narrow sliver of youtube’s broadcasting populous, so I would really welcome some channel suggestions in the comments!!!


10 – The Tribe

Ok, so I’m starting with something close to my own heart. I watched this show religiously every weekend when I was younger; shirking my chores for the half hour it was on Channel 5 (before Daria, I recall.) I blame it completely for my desire to write the post-apocalyptic novel which doesn’t deal with the apocalypse itself, but instead with the way people endure and survive and, indeed, thrive after having to change their ways. The Tribe was a kids’ show made in New Zealand and was broadcast between 1999 and 2003 (i.e. during my formative teens!) and was set in a future where all the adults had died as a result of an unknown virus. The remaining kids fall into anarchy, splintering into tribes. Some just want to get on with their lives, whilst others are seeking power (and chaos!) There is rumour of a film in the offing, although I’m assuming it’ll have to be a reboot, as the cast are all 10 years older and no longer kids! I don’t know whether this film is the cause of this youtube channel releasing the episodes one by one, but that’s what’s happening. Definitely worth watching the first couple of episodes. If you can get past the dodgy fashion and the facepaint it’s well worth the watch. The characters are so well written/acted and the 5 series take them through so many different arcs and dramas. But I might just be remembering it through rose-tinted specs.


9 – jacksfilms

Now for something a little more typical of my youtube viewing. Jack Douglass’s channel features parodies, music videos and sketches. By far my favourite feature he does is ‘Your Grammar Sucks’ (also known as YGS), a compilation of clips of him reading out mis-spelled youtube comments. As a fellow spelling- and grammar-enthusiast, the series greatly amuses me. Every 10th episode is a special one, and we’re currently waiting for episode 50, which is due to be a half-hour long extravaganza with guest hosts from other youtube channels, as well as viewer-submitted videos of fans reading out badly typed posts they’ve found. Aside from YGS, videos of note include Jack’s series of Twilight parodies; the last in particular is rather amusing. Also the music videos he creates are particularly impressive. Jack plays keyboard, and makes some very amusing songs, often including other youtubers. The only reason Jack’s not further up the list is because his videos don’t fit a regular release pattern  as most of the higher entries do.


8 – 4oDEntertainment

Slightly more commercial now, I have to recommend the 4oD series. I’ve picked Entertainment, but they also have channels for other genres; Comedy, Drama, Documentaries and plenty more. I’m imagining any UK readers will know what Channel 4, E4, More4 and 4oD are, but for those of you hailing from beyond the seas; Channel 4 was one of the 5 terrestrial TV channels before analogue TV was turned off and we went fully digital. Now Channel 4 has been joined by its sister channels E4 (more aimed at the young adult audience), More4 (slightly higher brow) and 4seven (repeats of programmes from the past week). Now, all the main channels have their own on demand players; BBC have iPlayer, where most of its shows are available for the 7 days after they’ve aired. ITV has ITVPlayer, but I don’t seem to watch many ITV programmes, so am not too familiar with how long shows stay available. Channel 4’s offering, 4oD, has always been head and shoulders above the others. While it doesn’t broadcast many (any?) of the imported programmes; The Big Bang Theory, for example, it more than makes up for it by hosting a vast number of old shows. Feeling nostalgic for Green Wing? It’s all on 4oD. Want to have an 8 Out Of 10 Cats marathon from 2010? Go for it. My only complaint used to be that 4oD was a separate site to have to visit; and now that complaint has been resolved. I can now watch Father Ted on youtube, the latest episode of The Last Leg just appears in my subscriptions (because apparently I can never remember to watch it on actual telly!) and for the majority of programmes there are no advert breaks. Some programmes do still have a gap for 3 or 4 ads, but that’s generally one gap in a full length show. I’m not complaining!


7 – ijustine


6 – Jenna Marbles

Ijustine and Jenna Marbles can kind of be addressed together. Not because they’re the same person, or even because they do the same sort of content – they don’t really, but because I like them for mainly the same reasons. They’re both very no-nonsense, thought-speaking women, something I find somewhat easy to identify with!

I’m still new to ijustine, despite the fact she’s been around for a long time. She has several channels; including one for  gaming, one for vlogging. She talks about iphones, and seems to be fairly well known for being an Apple fangirl, she makes spoof music videos, and talks about current events. Sounds vague? Yeah, I literally only started watching her a week ago. I really like her though, so check her out on that basis!

Jenna posts new videos every Wednesday. These range from a straight-to-camera talk (or rant) about her views on things, to her narrated videos which take a humorous look at things like ‘What girls do in the car’ and its follow up ‘What boys do in the car’. There are even the outright unexpected; Interupting Adele. Very much a part of her videos are Jenna’s dogs, Marbles and Kermit.


5 – The Fine Bros

Unashamedly fangirling now. I love Benny and Rafi Fine. From my corner of the internet I’m about ready to hail them as the pioneers of New Media and the innovators of the internet. It might be heaping a little too much praise on them, but really, seeing what they’ve done and the community they’ve built makes me think there’s nothing currently on tv that couldn’t be done on youtube. But there might be more on that later…

So, the Fine Bros channel is primarily for their ‘React’ series, although today marks the launch of their new animated series ‘Emo Dad’. The React series started with Kids React; showing children’s reactions to various youtube videos; either viral videos, pop songs, sometimes news stories. This then expanded into Teens React, as some of the kids grew up. Now the channel is rounded out with Elders React and Youtubers React, the latter bringing together a number of famous youtubers, or at least the ones who live in LA. (LA seems to be the place to be if you’re going to make it big on youtube!) Teens React is my particular favourite – watching how the different young adults react to the more political/topical videos.


4 – dailygrace

Oh lawks, what can I say about Grace? She’s dry, funny, and she posts according to a schedule. I like ALL of that! She posts 5 videos a week, with a different topic per day (can you see where we got our inspiration for our schedule here at Gavel!Discuss…?) Whether she’s teaching us how to do something, or commenting on comments, Grace is just so watchable; she’s kooky and effortlessly cool and her reactions to the recent spate of goat remixes were funnier than the goat remixes themselves!


3 – Tobuscus

I will always have a sweet spot for Toby Turner. Were it not for him I would never have discovered the awesomeness of youtubes. Seriously, it’s all his fault! Bioware linked me to his Literal Trailer for Mass Effect 3 and I was a little bit hooked. Then I found his daily vlogs, his gaming videos and his songs and I fell a little bit in love!!! He’s just a slightly nerdy 28 year old, he plays Minecraft, for goodness sake, and yet his life makes for slightly addictive viewing. He knows Jack from entry 9 and has done gaming videos with ijustine of entry 7, and is the centre of my internet world – it was through him I found pretty much everything else I’m recommending here today.


2 – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries –  (& Pemberley Digital , & The Lydia Bennet )

And now we’re getting down to the really meaty stuff – the absolute best things I’ve found on the internet. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are a web series, re-telling the classic tale of Pride and Prejudice. Lizzie is a media student, making video diaries as part of a project. We meet all our favourite characters; Jane, Lydia, Charlotte, Bingley, Darcy, albeit not quite as you’d expect them. Now, I do like a good story retold, but I really feel the Lizzie Bennet Diaries went above and beyond. From Lizzie’s videos sprung forth Lydia’s videos, and a few from Georgiana Darcy. And it’s Lydia who steals the show. I desperately don’t want to spoil, but there were a couple of Lydia’s videos I watched with my heart in my mouth.

 The series is currently nearing the end, and at 94 videos so far it’s a bit of an undertaking, but it’s well-worth watching. Honest!


1 – My Music

The ultimate best of youtube has to be My Music. It’s a web sitcom created by Benny and Rafi Fine and set in the offices of a fictional music production company. Each member of staff is named for the genre of music they like best, so the boss is Indie (played by Adam Busch of Buffy fame) and the staff are Idol, Metal, Hip Hop, Techno and Dubstep, Scene and Intern 2 (he was the second Intern and hasn’t yet found his musical niche). The series followed the characters through various dramas and incidents in their offices, and was backed up by a series of live music shows, music news shows and ‘The Mosh’; a weekly show where the characters (remaining in-character) interacted with their viewers, in what was a genius move on the behalf of the creators. Each staff member had their own twitter account, some were on Facebook, and it all added up to make an incredibly immersive experience.

The first series has ended now, and we fans are not yet sure whether there’ll be a second one or not, but I would recommend, above all of the other things I’ve mentioned today, that you check it out. It’s that good.


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