College students are well known for binge watching large amounts of TV in their spare time, and with good reason: We’re so busy that when we finally do have some free time, enjoying something as relaxing and low-energy as watching TV sounds pretty appealing. A form of media that’s often overlooked by students, however, are web series, which are short series aired on Internet platforms. Not only are they usually available to stream for free (most are posted on YouTube or on other free streaming sites), but they tend to be much shorter, both in episode and season length, which makes them perfect for the college student’s busy schedule. Here are just a few web series suggestions to get you started.
1. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
This was the first web series I ever watched, and to this day, it remains one of my favorites. Told in vlog format, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern day retelling of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. It follows the video diary of Lizzie Bennet, a college student studying communications, as she documents her life with her two sisters and her parents and her interactions with her neighbor William Darcy, who she absolutely hates. Funny and witty, it’s perfect for days when you want to unwind. It was directed by Bernie Su and Margaret Dunlap, and was written by the two of them as well as Rachel Kiley, Kate Rorick and Anne Toole. You can watch it on Youtube.
2. CarmillaCharmingly creepy, Carmilla tells the story of Laura Hollis, a journalism student at Silas University, a college where students keep disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Her vlogs document her efforts to track down her missing roommate and find out what’s really happening at her school, all while accompanied by her new roommate Carmilla Karnstein, who’s creepy and grumpy and everything Laura isn’t prepared to deal with. Filled with mystery, monsters and truly fantastic LGBTQ+ representation, Carmilla will give you chills and warm your heart. It was directed by Spencer Maybee and written by Jordan Hall and Ellen Simpson. You can watch it on Youtube.
3. GayleGayle is for everyone who just needs a laugh. It documents the life of Gayle Waters-Waters, a suburban stay-at-home mom who has gone insane on a quest to dominate her western Massachusetts cul-de-sac. She’s obsessed with Greek yogurt and couscous and hates everyone around her, including her husband and children — she will make you laugh 150 percent of the time. It was written by Chris Fleming and directed by Melissa Strype, and it is available for streaming on Youtube.
4. Breaking Up With Linda: The Public Diary of Andrew Lemming
Sometimes, all you need is a good laugh, and the misadventures of Andrew Lemming are the perfect way to do that. Told in short, close-up episodes, Andrew Lemming documents his efforts to break up with his longtime girlfriend Linda, who is a truly terrible person. The humor is incredibly dry and sarcastic and is guaranteed to leave you howling. It was written and directed by Khyan Mansley and is available on Youtube.
5. The March Family Letters
A modern, vlog-style adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” The March Family Letters follows four sisters as they document their everyday lives on video to send to their mother, who’s in the army overseas. Full of lighthearted adventures and family bonding, it’s guaranteed to improve your mood when you’re swamped with homework and other obligations. It was directed by Megan MacKay and written by Shannon Litt, Alex Shutsa and Alix Markman. You can watch it on Youtube.
6. Brown Girls
Brown Girls follows Leila and Patricia, two best friends in Chicago as they deal with careers, relationships and family life. It’s beautifully shot and the sets are meticulously constructed, and every exchange of dialogue feels authentic. It touches on subjects of race, ethnicity and sexuality, and feels genuine and raw. It was written by Fatimah Asghar and directed by Sam Bailey. It is available for streaming on their website.
7. You’re So Talented
You’re So Talented captures the struggles of turning a passion into a career and keeping afloat almost too well; every line feels like a realistic and genuine depiction of the life of a 20-something year old trying to make their life work. The sets are truly beautiful and subtly compliment everything that happens over the course of the series. It was written and directed by Sam Bailey, and it is available for watching on their website.
The next time you’re struggling to find something to watch on Netflix, give one of these web series a try instead. You may just find yourself with a new favorite show.
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