The 10 Best Web Series of 2015

TV Lists
The 10 Best Web Series of 2015

Just when you thought you’d added enough TV shows to your must-watch list, between our best shows of the year, best sitcoms and best animated series—we hit you with this. There are so many great things happening in the wonderful world of web series, and these 10 shows are a great place to start. Prestige TV has its many perks, but the downside is that you’ll wind up ignoring your children for hours at a time, desperately trying to finish Narcos. But you can binge-watch Clench & Release’s second, amazing series in less than 30 minutes, which means you’ll still be considered a valued member of your family, workplace and society when you’re done. Here are our picks for the 10 best web series of 2015.

10. 7 Minutes in Heaven
Creator Mike O’Brien

In 2015, Mike O’Brien not only left the writing staff of Saturday Night Live, but also released one of the funniest albums of the year with “Tasty Radio.” But at the end of this year he made one of his most exciting moves yet, in returning to his fantastic web series 7 Minutes in Heaven with the excellent guest John Cena. Yes, the series only has one episode for 2015, but we were too excited to leave it off of this list. Cena is comedic gold—as he has consistently shown us this year with Trainwreck & Sisters—while O’Brien bravely goes for a kiss to end the interview. Fingers crossed we’ll see more of the glorious closet in 2016.—Ross Bonaime


9. Namaste, Bitches
Creator: Summer Chastant

A certain stereotype comes to mind when you think of a yoga studio in LA, and entering that environment as an outsider is daunting, especially if you’re from New York. That is the premise of the hilarious web series Namaste, Bitches. Summer Chastant, a yoga instructor herself, created this series based loosely on her own experiences. As you watch the seemingly zen exterior of the yoga instructors get stripped down, it becomes abundantly clear that even these people struggle with inner peace. These foul-mouthed characters reveal what we already knew to be true, deep down inside: everybody is faking it.—Keri Lumm


8. Darwin the Series
Creators Christopher Gerson, Karl Kenzler and Lynn Rosen

Leo Darwin is a life coach who’s in serious need of a life coach. He’s still riding the coattails of his best-selling book, Darwin’s Tree, though his world is falling apart as he faces a rocky marriage and dwindling business. And Leo isn’t the only one on the edge of a nervous breakdown. His wife Charlie misses her glory days of street singing so she resorts to kleptomania for fast thrills, and for some reason, the couple has yet to name their baby boy. The story is clever and the show’s use of secondary characters (like Leo’s new client, Michael Yensbourg) injects more drama to the twists (also, props to the little girl who taunts Leo by calling him an ‘apparatus’). Stick with it, because the final four episodes, where things go completely, wonderfully wacky, are the highlights to the entire series.—Iris A. Barreto


7. Sound Advice
Creator Vanessa Bayer

With Sound Advice, Vanessa Bayer, along with her music journalist brother Jonah create a combination of Between Two Ferns and Nathan For You. Bayer is Janessa Slater, a media coach who tries to help established bands with their image. This year, she asked HAIM how they get so much time off work at Urban Outfitters to go on tour, and also tries to convince Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock to let her join the band so she can do jazzy versions of “Float On” in concert. Bayer knows just how to make every interview a perfect mixture of awkward and hilarious.—Ross Bonaime


6. Notary Publix
Creators: Kate McKinnon and Emily Lynne

You’d think Kate McKinnon would be busy as heck, what with that Saturday Night Live show that she’s basically the MVP of. Somehow, though, she found time to make up a whole new web series for Above Average. Along with her co-creator and co-star Emily Lynne, McKinnon plays a hard-charging, line-toeing notary public in the new series Notary Publix. But the real sell? The brilliant Ann Dowd from The Leftovers makes a critical guest appearance towards the end of this ridiculously odd and wonderful series.—Garrett Martin and Shannon M. Houston


5. Community
Creator:   Dan Harmon

The only major issue with Community’s sixth season was that Yahoo!’s online streaming service left much to desired, and often made watching episodes difficult. If you managed to fight your way through it, though, you were rewarded with a season of Community as good as its better years on NBC. For one, there were a lot of changes to the cast—Paget Brewster and Keith David were integrated with gusto, and Dean Pelton got a nice boost in screentime that Jim Rash was more than up for. While the failure of Yahoo’s venture into online programming was such a disaster that Community’s run is officially over, its (current) series finale was a perfectly fitting end. Of course, there’s still hope for that movie.—Chris Morgan


4. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Creator:   Jerry Seinfeld

Sure, on the surface, watching exceedingly wealthy comedian Jerry Seinfeld drive around with his friends in expensive cars and then get coffee may not seem like the most interesting idea for a web series. However, while Seinfeld is no longer a part of the zeitgeist as he once was, he’s still a very funny guy with a keen eye for observation, and he gets excellent guests. Who doesn’t want to watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Stephen Colbert just being wonderful and delightful for 15 minutes? You can, however, be forgiven for choosing to skip over the Bill Maher episode.—Chris Morgan


3. Clench & Release
Creator: Charla Lauriston

From working alongside Tina Fey on the unbelievably hilarious Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, to joining Hannibal Buress on his new Comedy Central series Why? With Hannibal Buress, Lauriston has been making some serious moves in the comedy world. And it all began with the first season of her web series, Clench & Release (Lauriston is the creator, writer, and protagonist). It’s tempting to describe the series—now with its second four-episode season on YouTube—as a cross between Broad City and Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl, but nothing really encompasses what this show is, other than the show itself. It is a positively unique mix of Lauriston’s stand-up routines and short sketches that take her character on drug-induced adventures in the city, and through the grind that is a comic’s life. Along the way dates, family, and friends make for lots of clenching and releasing—and not in the way you think (not necessarily, anyway). Refreshing, compelling, offensive and relentlessly funny—we’ll just be over here waiting for Lauriston to make it to the small screen in the coming years.—Shannon M. Houston


2. Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures
Creator: PJ Liguori

Vimeo’s Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures is a whimsical dark comedy that plays like a showcase for the Jim Henson Workshop. Filled with wildly imaginative puppets, the show stars Chris Kendall as Oliver, a new assistant who’s been left in charge of a hotel catering to a bizarre collection of monsters. The stories are trippy and original, from Oliver’s attempts to liven up the hotel with a horse-like party demon, to his visit to the afterworld where he shares a box with a human-goat hybrid named Sexyman. Recommended for anyone who grew up on Pee-wee’s Playhouse or psychedelic drugs.—Josh Jackson


1. Con Man
Creator: Alan Tudyk

The world of pop-culture conventions is ripe for comedy, but it takes someone like Alan Tudyk to capture it with love for the fans. As a beloved cast member of the short-lived Firefly, Tudyk has been a staple of comic-cons throughout the country for a decade. And it was those same fans who helped him launch the web series Con Man this year, contributing over $3 million to his Indiegogo campaign. Tudyk plays a self-sabotaging sad-sack version of himself, stuck in the world of sci-fi when he’d rather be acting in Wes Anderson movies. Surrounded by a who’s who of the convention world (Felicia Day, Tricia Helfer, Amy Acker, Sean Astin, Alison Haislip, Nolan North) along with co-producer and former Browncoat Nathan Fillion, the 13 short episodes are packed with jokes that will land, whether or not you make a habit of dressing up like a Stormtrooper—but if you’re pop-culture geek like me, it’s an absolute delight.—Josh Jackson