What Is a Web Series? Are They Worth Watching?

A web series vs. a TV series

A web series is designed like a television series. Both include a number of episodes that tell a story or inform. The main difference between a web series and a TV series is the financial investment required to start and maintain each one.

A TV series usually requires heavy production costs, celebrity actors, and large media companies. A web series requires a camera, an idea for a show, and people to recite the scripted or unscripted lines.

Who Can Create a Web Series?

Anyone with a camera and an account on a video sharing platform can create a web series. Some web series are written and filmed by amateurs and require minimal cost for equipment and special effects. Friends and aspiring actors say their lines, film scenes with a few cameras, and create a loyal online following.

From a Web Series to a Television Series

Occasionally, a web series can grow so popular that it makes its way to television. Issa Ray started her career by creating a web series on YouTube called The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl. After a successful YouTube run, she was approached by HBO to create the television series Insecure.

Issa Rae Insecure
Filmmagic / Getty Images

Other web series are produced by large media networks and receive the same exposure that a television series receives. These shows can also make it to television. A good example of such a show is Drunk History, which first appeared on the Funny or Die website and then moved on to air on Comedy Central.

Fewer Restrictions: Short, Sweet, and Anytime

TV shows are governed by network and broadcasting guidelines. Such guidelines limit when and where a show can air. Some TV shows are not available for streaming. However, you can watch your favorite web series anytime. And, if you are a series creator, you can upload your videos anytime.

Also, since most web episodes don't need to fit into a network's broadcasting time slot (30 minutes or an hour, for example), a web episode can be any length. Many are 3 to 15 minutes long.

Where to Watch Web Series

There are several places you can watch web shows. First, search Google to find a show you're interested in with a specific theme. For example, if you're into aliens or sci-fi content, you can search for terms like alien web show or sci-fi web series.

Use the YouTube or Vimeo search function in this same way. Many web series creators use these popular video sharing platforms to host their shows.

Suggested Web Series Shows to Check Out

If you want something to watch immediately, have a look at the following shows to get you started:

  • The Lizzie Bennett Diaries: This is a popular one that has a hundred episodes to watch currently on YouTube. It's a dramatic web show based on the iconic book Pride and Prejudice in the form of video diaries.
  • Between Two Ferns: This one is a very funny show part of Funny or Die, which features Zach Galifianakis sitting between a couple of fern plants where he conducts interviews with popular celebrities.

If you're not sure what kind of show might be interesting and need to see a few to help you choose, check out Ranker.com. This website maintains a ranked list of web series based on user up-votes and down-votes.