The web series High Maintenance just launched three new episodes on Feb. 5. Praised by critics for "radiating new ideas about storytelling," the story follows a weed deliveryman as he visits his clients in New York. Though the premise sounds a bit ridiculous and alienating for some, the show really isn't about weed at all, focusing more on the characters featured in each storyline. Each episode features a new set of characters and provides insightful and poignant vignettes into their lives.
Labeled "the best show not on TV," High Maintenance did for web series what Serial did for podcasts—it made the medium a topic of conversation for almost every culture critic. So if you want to take a 10-minute break at work or are afraid of the time suck that comes with committing to a new show, then the easily digestible web series may be a good medium for you to try out. The format allows for stories not traditionally seen on television to be told and is a breeding ground for fresh, young talent and narratives. The first four seasons of High Maintenance can be viewed for free on Vimeo and the fifth season is $1.99 per episode or $7.99 for all six episodes (they are well worth the price).
Here are six other web series you should be watching right now.
Whatever This Is
From the same people who brought you the great series The Outs, Whatever This Is follows the trials and tribulations of two production assistants who take horrible jobs at bad reality TV shows in the hope of one day being able to live their creative dreams. It's a funny, heartbreaking and an accurate portrayal of what people will do to produce art and make their rent.
F to 7th
Ingrid Jungermann writes, directs and stars in this story of a middle-aged lesbian trying to navigate new ideas about sexuality and gender identity in New York. F to 7th gives the audience insight into a story almost never seen on mainstream television, which makes the web series format an ideal medium for this story. In 2014, the Writers Guild honored the series along with High Maintenance and Vicky and Lysander for outstanding writing for short-form new media.
God Particles follows four LA millenials who are faced with the possible end of the world as scientists attempt to create the Higgs boson particle. The characters grapple with how to take control of their numbered days. The "end of the world" plot line seems pretty insufferable and trite but the series surprisingly delivers a story that is nuanced, funny and meaningful without being horribly sentimental.
Vicky & Lysander
Campy humor, banter-filled dinner parties and a deluded, social climbing Manhattan couple make Vicky & Lysander extremely watchable and whip smart.
2040 follows the story of three filmmakers as they attempt to get their indie romcom funded on Kickstarter. Adam Rothfeld, one of the creators, sums up the series by stating, "If you loved Arrested Development, but wished it was shorter, slightly different, and thought the production values were too high, you'll really like 2040." That seems good enough for us.
The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl
Launched in 2011 by Issa Rae, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl is exactly what it sounds like. The series follows the story of J as she navigates uncomfortable work and social situations. Told in first-person narrative with a stream of consciousness style, the series is witty, relatable and is a refreshing and nuanced portrayal of African-American women. Rae is now working on a pilot for HBO.