There’s a lot of online video that never manages to break out, is overshadowed by other series, or is just too weird and obscure to find an audience. But while sometimes that’s for the best, sometimes some real gems get overlooked. Here’s a list of overlooked favorites from 2008:
- Wreck and Salvage‘s eclectic videos repurposed found footage and news clips to create fresh shorts from an askew viewpoint. Personal favorite: the absurdist series Suppendapo, a Home Shopping Network for the post-apocalypse.
- The Googling: This brilliantly executed five-part series of shorts danced nicely on the line between horror and comedy, playing with traditional thriller movie tropes and humanity’s all-too-rational fear of technology.
- Gnarls Barkley’s second album found little success this year, but the video for Who’s Gonna Save My Soul was a weird, gross, and yet oddly romantic piece. Bonus points, too, for casting the Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone as the man unlucky in love.
- Casanovas: When I quizzed TV Week’s Daisy Whitney and Tilzy.TV’s Josh Cohen at NewTeeVee Live about their own overlooked favorites, they both mentioned this clever and well-written sitcom about two dudes looking for love in Los Angeles. Couldn’t agree more. I’m eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Season 2.
- Spectacular Sticky-Note Experiment: The gents at Eepybird took on a new medium, Post-its, and explicit sponsorship from the ABC Family series Samurai Girl and still managed to create art.
- Godzillathon: James the Nintendo Nerd’s bread and butter is ranting about video games, but his side project was the one to watch this year — a complete chronicle of the Godzilla movies, from their early Japanese origins to more recent attempts. A well-informed, fast-paced and hilarious must-watch for any monster movie fan.
- While Ninja Cat comes closer while not moving, at 6 million views, was the viral king of the cat-video phenomenon, my heart belongs to Cat vs. Printer — mainly because YouTube user Paperinjerate takes this lucky bit of kitty footage and takes it to the next level with an ingenious use of sound effects. It’s that sort of creativity that makes this medium so vibrant, even when it comes to something like a silly and adorable cat video.
- This official upload of Martha Stewart and Ludacris learning to make origami boxes is one of those pairings that is just as good in execution as it sounds. And it’s also a great representation of one of my favorite trends of 2008: creators being proactive about getting the good stuff online, with fantastic results for all.
- I found myself constantly recommending College Humor this year, and while I always worried that it’d get old, their insistence on producing a variety of fresh and original comedy meant that the site never went stale. But my favorite of the lot was probably Metaphor-Free Radio, if only because it revealed exactly what the Ben Folds Five song Brick was really about.
- GoodieBag’s Macs vs. PCs, in theory, is nothing new. After all, the dance musical has been done. The anthropomorphization of Macs and PCs has been done. And West Side Story riffs are nearly as old as West Side Story itself. But the talented cast, great production values, and shifts from graphic violence to romance made this a delight.
The truth is that I could have easily made this a top 20 list — overall it was an outstanding year for the medium, making great strides on a daily basis. Thanks to all of you content creators for a great 2008. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for 2009.