5 web series you should be watching right now: Vol. 2
When we launched YVR Screen Scene in early January, one of our first articles was a love letter to locally produced web series. You can read that article here – but the TL/DR recap is that we love Vancouver web series for their ingenuity, hyper-local vibe, and brevity, and we listed five web series that have moved our hearts, minds, and/or funny bones.
But we’ve got room in our hearts/minds/funny bones for more than five web series – and many of you messaged us to say that you plowed through all of our recommendations and you want more, dammit! And so, because it’s Valentine’s Week and we here at YVR Screen Scene adore you all so very much, we’ve put together another list of Vancouver web series worthy of a watch (consider it a Valentine’s mix-tape, but instead of boy band songs taped off the radio, it's a list of slickly produced YouTube videos).
BC Was Awesome
As the father of mega-site Vancouver Is Awesome – which has been celebrating the people, places, and happenings that make Vancouver rad for a decade now – Bob Kronbauer is a purveyor of awesome. With his web series BC Was Awesome, Kronbauer (who was nominated for a 2017 Leo Award for Best Host) casts his awesome-cam on quirky characters and curiosities from our province’s past. Learn about the amusement park that never was, the pirate mayor of Nanaimo, and the camels that were introduced to BC during the Gold Rush, and follow Kronbauer as he tracks down the lost Expo Ernie robot from Expo '86 and the pilot of an unaired fishing TV show starring John Candy. It's all just awesome.
Android Employed has more going for it than a lot of network shows: sleek visual effects; smart writing; some of Vancouver’s biggest stars (Sara Canning, Sonja Bennett, Ryan Beil, Veena Sood) bringing the funny. The concept for Android Employed seems pulled from the headlines of the not-so-distant future: androids have joined the service side of the workforce, and their presence is being felt in all segments of society, from schools to homes to offices to film sets. Each episode in Jem Garrard’s slick anthology series explores a different scenario (an accountant kidnaps the android who replaced him; a suburban mom and wannabe synth pop artist relies on an android helper to heal her dysfunctional family; a kindergarten class stages an uprising against an android teacher) to hilarious, thought-provoking, and weirdly heartfelt effect.
Welcome to Surrey
This one is produced a bit farther afield – see title – but Surrey is still GVRD and Welcome to Surrey is the kind of web series that makes us excited about the medium’s ability to share stories we don’t normally get to see on traditional broadcast channels. Welcome to Surrey’s protagonist is Suneet, who graduates from a Toronto medical school only to be sent to work in the one place she’s been trying to avoid: her hometown of Surrey. The comedy series delves into the cultural and generational divides within immigrant families without relying on tired clichés – and regardless of your background, Suneet’s family and career experiences are relatable.
Sunnyhearts Community Centre
Vancouver community centres are somehow both innocuous gathering places for kids and retirees and a bizarro world of peculiar characters and maddening bureaucracy that’s rife for comedic exploration. Writer and star Sonja Bennett (Preggoland) drew upon her own experiences teaching at and frequenting community centres for her comedy web series Sunnyhearts Community Centre. Bennett stars as Bernice, the new program manager of the fictional centre; the series follows Bernice as she attempts to navigate absurd situations unique to community centre culture, like gym grunters, horkers, change room etiquette, and parents battling each other for highly coveted swim class spaces.
Inspired by local stories of missing ships in the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest – an area widely known as “the graveyard of the Pacific – Telegraph Cove is a visually stunning and well-crafted suspense series from Borrowtime Films. Telegraph Cove stars Savonna Spracklin as Anna, co-owner and operator of a seasonal wildlife tour company whose husband mysteriously goes missing during a private charter. When the coast guard calls off the search with no leads or logical explanation for the disappearance, Anna takes matters into her own hands to discover the truth. Telegraph Cove won Best Web Series and Best Performance by a Female in a Web Series (for Spracklin) at the 2017 Leo Awards.
If you binge all of these web series and you're hungry for more, clear some space in your calendar for the 2018 Vancouver Web Fest (April 19-21 at the Vancouver Convention Centre), where you'll be able to sample web series fare from all over the world.