Alternatino stars Broad Cityregular Arturo Castro in a series of sketches sending up late night talk shows, true crime investigations and anything else that Castro and writer Brendan Fitzgibbons think is worth parodying. The series is an excellent platform for Castro’s full range, and his comedic timing is perfect in every sketch. Give this guy his own TV show, Comedy Central!
4. Little Banks on Wall Street
This brilliant parody of Wolf of Wall Street, written by and starring Carmen Christopher and directed by Marty Schousboe, is as sharp and surefooted as anything on FX or IFC. Christopher and Schousboe have big ideas on their mind, but they address it through the lens of kinetic comedy sequences worthy of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. It’s difficult to pinpoint highlights—each episode is truly full of surprises—so you might as well just start at the beginning, when Christopher’s Deion Banks realizes he needs to spice up his life as a Christmas tree salesman. Keep your eyes peeled for guest stars John Reynolds (Search Party, Stranger Things) and Carmen Christopher (The Late Show, Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree), who infuse Little Banks with bizarre, unpredictable energy.
3. Friday Night Bites
Friday Night Bites is a hilarious, kinetic web series from the New Zealand team Flat 3 Productions. Its brilliantly stylized cinematography sets it apart from peer series about millennial life—dating, dealing with roommates—and it deftly mixes highbrow and lowbrow humor into thoughtful ruminations on the issues of our day: cosplay, rape culture, Star Wars, consent, Chat Roulette and more.
One of the best—and easily the most slept-on—web series of 2016 is #Throwback, an ingenious take on the anxieties of social media. The show is a period piece in which every episode debuted one year after it was filmed. The May 10, 2015 installment, for example, was released on May 10, 2016, and contains such ur-May 2015 references as the “How Old Am I” app and the new Hamburglar. Nearly all of the episodes were written, directed and edited by Hoff Matthews, who also stars in the series. Matthews uses this high-concept premise to create fully formed characters and relationships, all while cramming an absurd number of great jokes into each perfectly paced episode.
Monica pulls off the delicate balance of being at once quite funny, tender and thoughtful. Imagining what life was like for Monica Lewinsky when she lived in New York City in 2001 at the age of 27, the series features an exquisitely measured performance by Lily Marotta. Director Doron Max Hagay creates fictions around these little known years in Lewinsky’s life that poignantly reflect the ways in which we’re all just trying to make it through another day. If you must watch only one series on this list, watch Monica.