From Lena Dunham’s Girls to a spate of recent feature films, Brooklyn is far from camera shy, especially when it comes to what is perhaps currently the most accessible form of video-driven storytelling: the web series.
If you’re not familiar, a web series is essentially the equivalent of a self-published online TV show where episodes come in short — usually five- to 15-minute — installments.
2015 was a landmark year for Brooklyn’s growing web-series industry with the genre’s premiere borough festival, Brooklyn Web Fest, holding screenings, panels and award ceremonies for the genre’s best and brightest back in October.
The flood of web series about Brooklyn produced in the past half decade has been overwhelmingly based in Park Slope and Williamsburg, with a majority focus on white hipsters and their goings on. Some have been more amateur than others. Here are Brownstoner’s favorites.
High Maintenance: A pot-dealing bike messenger delivers marijuana to the city’s hilariously obnoxious smokers. Profiling what seem to be some of the worst people in Brooklyn, this quick-witted show is gearing up for its TV premiere on HBO in 2016.
I Hate Being Single: Initially funded by Kickstarter, this tale of an aspiring actor/transplant/bachelor living in Brooklyn is known for its cathartic alt comedy. Launched in 2012 and starring various Upright Citizens Brigade comedians, I Hate Being Single covers universal borough experiences — bumping into old friends, being disappointed by the suburbs — as well as the bizarre — secret boat communities and Snuggie obsessions.
The Slope: A lesbian comedy about “superficial, homophobic lesbian” couple Ingrid and Desiree’s Park Slope exploits, this 2010 series includes plenty of power struggles at the Prospect Park dog park, awkward conversations in front of the now-closed Tea Lounge, and questions of Desiree’s sexuality.
The Burg: Launched way back in 2006, The Burg was at first self-funded on a shoestring, and then sponsored by Motorola, and then canceled. Set in its eponymous Williamsburg, the show featured a Reality Bites–like interview aesthetic, briefly profiling a slew of lost, well-meaning hipsters.
Broad City: Now a hit TV show on Comedy Central, lovable Jewish 20-somethings Ilana and Abbi started out as a web series in 2009. Following the women’s misadventures in Brooklyn and beyond, the series profiles being young in the city with a carefree snark.
The Bedford Stop: The Bedford Stop is, more or less, an addictably hatable YouTube reality show. Showing the epitome of what many find wrong with Williamsburg, it features episodes titled “Tinder Me Softly,” “Selfies With Goats” and “Halloween Pregame,” in which the young women who star in the series are shown on their phones, eating brunch and generally avoiding reality.
Growing Community: Written and animated by 44-year-old Park Slope dad William Levin, who’s lived in the same 3rd Street brownstone for the past 20 years, Growing Community is a semi-autobiographical tale of growing and smoking pot in one of Brooklyn’s wealthiest neighborhoods. The show, set to debut on Weedmaps TV later this month, will be voiced by Levin’s real-life friends, and pokes fun at much-mocked Park Slope institutions like the Park Slope Food Co-Op and overly aggressive traffic cops.
What’s your favorite Brooklyn web series?
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