Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 In Video: Part 2: Entertainment

While I saw many great movies in the cinema throughout 2012, including The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Dredd and Skyfall, there were some terrible, terrible failures (I'm looking at you, Prometheus). The trouble with the cinema is that not only have you already paid for your ticket by the time you realise this movie is sucking the life right out of you through your eye-sockets, but you have to get up, leave and make your way home afterwords, fuming at how bad the movie was.

Thanks to YouTube, I got a huge amount of my 2012 video entertainment through webseries and incredible independent YouTube creators. These range from action packed stories to hilarious shorts, from interesting shows to fantastic concepts that no big network would green-light. The advantage of material presented through the internet, of course, is that you can watch it at any time, and if you're bored, you just skip to the next video.

Here's a small selection of what I've been enjoying in 2012.

The Yogscast
These guys provide about 95% of the dinner time viewing in our household, and have done so for well over a year now. While they do playthrough videos for all kinds of games, they're mainly famous for their Minecraft videos, wherein they create amazing contraptions in the cubed world and get up to hilarious antics along the way. We started watching the Shadows of Israphel series, which was just Simon and Lewis playing out an enormous adventure made by friends, never knowing what was in store for them. Their most recent and longest running series, quickly approaching 100 episodes, is the Tekkit series, where Simon and Lewis are joined by friends Duncan, Sjin and Sips, as they collectively attempt to build an enormous Jaffa Cake factory! It is always hilarious, very unexpected, almost entirely unscripted and generally ingenious!

If you enjoy the core Yogscast Channel, then check out some of their friends. But even if Yogscast isn't for you, please do yourself the favour of watching the side-splittingly, tear-jerkingly hilarious playthrough of Farming Simulator 2013, staring Farmer Dunc, Farmer Sjin and, later, Farmer Lewis. I know, farming simulators may not be your thing either, but trust me, it's not about the game, it's about the antics! It's worth it for the elephant alone.

Corridor Digital
Sam And Niko (Behind the Scenes for Corridor Digital videos)
Freddie Wong
Behind the Scenes videos for FreddieW
These are pure entertainment, in short bursts! Both mega YouTube stars, they actually share work space and collaborate on loads of stuff, while still maintaining their own individual identities. You've probably seen some of their stuff that's gone viral, but all of their videos are worth catching. Better than most of the stuff on major TV networks in an average week! Both of them did their own webseries in 2012.

Video Game High School - VGHS
From Freddie, Brandon and the team behind the FreddieW Channel, VGHS exists in a world where pro gaming is the biggest sport around, and there are schools for gamers. It's fun, funny and exciting, with some fantastic storytelling, SFX and acting all around! Claire was a bit wary of it at first, but loved it by the end, so if that's not a vote of confidence, I'm not sure what is. My favourite from a great bunch of characters is Drift King. Hilarious! The entire first season is online already, so you can watch it right through as a single 90-odd minute movie.

Sam and Niko from Corridor Digital created a sci-fi webseries with a cool concept at it's core. I'm really not going to spoil anything about this show, except to say that it's great and well worth watching. Again, the whole thing is online now, so go check it out!

Geek And Sundry
This is a channel with new content almost daily, created by Felicia Day from The Guild and Doctor Horrible's Singalong Blog. It has loads of "shows" airing on it, but my two favourites are Written By a Kid and TableTop. WBaK is exactly as it sounds: Stories told by kids are animated or otherwise brought to life in different ways to create some incredible, magical tales. The Behind The Scenes extras are always hilarious and informative as well. TableTop is hosted by Wil Wheaton, and each week sees various guests playing various tabletop games. This show is so popular, there's actually a major network stealing the entire concept lock, stock and barrel! Watch the original. It won't be beaten.

HALO: Forward Unto Dawn
I've never been a fan of the Halo video games, but I love the setting and lore, and goddammit if Microsoft don't know just who to go to to get awesome live action marketing videos, either in the form of their amazing trailers, or Forward Unto Dawn, the webseries that is rumoured to have cost them in excess of $7.5million! Honestly, though, it shows. The series is beautiful to watch, gritty and dirty at times, and wonderfully acted. Even if you've never played the games, it's just good sci-fi stuff.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood And Chrome
We waited and we waited. Some of us hadn't even finished the original series when this was announced (*whistles innocently*). We were teased and taunted, given glimpses of what could be. But eventually, they deigned to grace us with its presence. BSG: Blood and Chrome takes place during the original Cylon War, and stars a young William Adama. Given the wait, it couldn't pssibly live up to expectations, right? Actually, it does. It's quite good, and that makes that fact hat at one time this was supposed to be a new series all the more painful. Once you're done, spoil yourself and learn how 90% of the sets were greenscreen in a behind the scenes look at the series!

Again, like my list of educational videos I enjoyed, there are a bunch more that I haven't listed here. Worse, there are hundreds of one-off videos from people that I saw and loved, but listing those too would take from now until February!

For now, I'll leave it here. I'm looking forward to fantastic worlds, great storytelling and wonderful new series from incredible creators that 2013 brings to me.

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