Wynonna Earp may be taking up most of the sci-fi TV air here at Paste this summer (we stan a a demon-slaying sisterhood), but every Friday, right on her booted heels, Dutch, John, D’avin and their sentient ship Lucy are bounty-hunting all kinds of space ass on Michelle Lovretta’s Killjoys. Last week, in order to stop D’av’s half-alien baby from aging at 1000x speed, the team pulled a heist. It was fantastic. You should definitely be watching it.
The problem facing Killjoys fans, however—existing or aspirational—is that if you didn’t catch up to this season before Netflix pulled the series from its shelves earlier this summer, “You should definitely be watching it” is, as advice goes, worthless.
Or was: You not only should be watching Killjoys, you can. As of July 31, Killjoys made the digital streaming bundler, VRV, its exclusive SVOD home.
Oh, what’s that? You’ve never heard of VRV? Well. One, I’m not surprised—streaming digital platforms have quietly become one of my most oft-trodden beats (RIP go90), but until I got the word straight from VRV that that’s where Killjoys had decamped, I hadn’t heard of it either. Two, I would be surprised if you’ve never heard of the niche subscription services Crunchyroll, Shudder, Dramafever or Mubi, all of which are counted among VRV’s streaming channels, and all of whose subscriptions are included in VRV’s own Premium subscription plan. Which only costs $9.99/month. Which, I did the math for you, is nearly one-third of the total monthly cost ($27) of just those four streaming subscriptions above. And VRV includes way more than just those four services—much of it (like, 20,000 hours of it), absolutely free.
If you are thinking to yourself, “a monthly subscription fee for access to a small package of channels, each with their own content? Isn’t that just…TV?” Well, I mean, you aren’t wrong! Start-up culture loves reinventing the wheel. Lyft reinvented the bus. Bodega reinvented vending machines. Moviepass reinvented socialism. But VRV, as my Harmonquest-loving brother sagely pointed out, is more like a cable package of boutique streaming services catering to a very niche set of tastes, and thus is unlike just about any non-sports cable TV package you can currently buy. Plus, it’s available on your phone to take with you wherever you go, and is even building up its editorial arm, à la Syfy Wire. So just let it be, man!
The point is, VRV has a lot to offer. And since such an enormous and eclectic variety of content to choose from will mean that everyone’s sweet spot vary, I’ve gone ahead and pulled some gems from the richest of the service’s most twelve current channels below to at least give you a taste of what, beyond Killjoys, you can expect to find. After that, your VRV journey gets becomes all your own.
Genre: Indie cartoons
Best Exclusive Bets: Bee and Puppycat, Bravest Warriors
I genuinely cannot articulate how weird and impossible-to-nail-down the content on Cartoon Hangover is, but it’s not hard to see how the people who love it would be absolutely obsessed with it. The Ghibli-esque Bee and Puppycat (from Adventure Time’s Natasha Allegri), on which truly nothing makes sense but you still feel warm and fluffy after watching, basically lives in the top 10 of Fandometrics’ weekly TV Shows list. Bravest Warriors, meanwhile, often manages to make even less sense, and yet has episodes whose comment sections brim over with fans freaking out over the cartoon teen heroes’ romantic entanglements. It is a WILD RIDE that you, a fan of pastels, kissing, and surrealism, shouldn’t sleep on.
Genre: “The best subtitled anime”
Best Exclusive Bets: Attack on Titan, Haikyu!, High Guardian Spice (Crunchyroll Originals, 2019)
Crunchyroll, subsidiary of the Ellation online video streaming service that also owns VRV, is likely the service that most people will be familiar with, if only by name. If you are an anime fan living outside of Japan, Crunchyroll is where you live. Many of the anime series that top Fandometrics’ Anime list can be found here (including Boku No Hero Academia, which has lately been living at #1), but the most interesting detail about the service was just announced: Ellation is expanding into original series productions, starting with next year’s High Guardian Spice, on which Hellcat’s Kate Leth will be writing.
Genre: Popular Asian dramas
Best Exclusive Bets: Are You Human, Too?, Let’s Eat!, Sweet Combat
Asian dramas have never pulled me in, but from the few episodes of Sweet Combat I watched on Dramafever (gotta get those sweet, sweet boxing tips), I can for sure understand their appeal: Sweet, with stakes that are high and colors that are soothing, genuine without being serious, this is the kind of television you settle into a fuzzy blanket to spend whole weekends with without having to worry that your nerves will ever skyrocket—even as a man and his android twin fight it out in the streets of their engineer mom’s hometown. (Editor’s note: Find more Dramafever titles in our guide to must-see Korean TV shows.)
Genre: The best dubbed anime
Best Exclusive Bets: Cowboy Bebop, My Hero Academia
Tumblr. Loves. My Hero Academia. As someone looking in from way, way outside the anime fandom, I couldn’t begin to explain why, but they love it. And anime fans of all generations love Cowboy Bebop. That you can get both on Funimation, along with dozens and dozens more, is a real coup.
Genre: Extreme animation
Best Exclusive Bets: Axe Cop, Lastman
Mondo is where you go if Adult Swim was your after-midnight homebase in high school. The series you’ll find here aren’t as weird as those on Cartoon Hangover, but they are anything but mainstream. Like, where else are you going to watch a series (Axe Cop) adapted from comics written by a six-year-old (Malachai Nicolle) and illustrated by his 29-year-old brother (Ethan Nicolle)? Mondo is where.
Genre: Hand-picked horror
Best Exclusive Bets: Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories
Hi, I really, really, really do not like horror! Like, even a tiny, self-sabotaging bit! But many people do, and for those people, Shudder has long been a streaming favorite. This is where you will find everything from old Canadian teen horror series (Todd and the Book of Pure Evil) to auteur miniseries (the Neil Gaiman joint) to all the many horror films so eerily described on Shudder’s main site as “The Largest, Fastest Growing Human Curated Selection of Thrilling and Dangerous Entertainment.” (What was curating the thrilling and dangerous entertainment before???) Anyway, Heathers is here. In case you wanted the OG teen demons, and not the controversial television reboot.
Genre: Discover VRV’s next big thing
Best Exclusive Bets: All the Stargate series, Freakazoid!, Harmonquest, Hidden America with Jonah Ray, Killjoys, Merlin, My Brother, My Brother and Me, Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, Thundercats!
Okay, so this is the good stuff. Or, at least, the good stuff for everyone who wouldn’t necessarily have been drawn to VRV for the all the extremely niche animation/genre channels. In addition to the recently acquired Killjoys, VRV has some old-school cartoons that will make your inner kiddo perk up (hi, Freakazoid!), all of Stargate (sure, why not!), and many of the projects orphaned by SeeSo’s shuttering (welcome, Jonah Ray). It also has two popular video series projects adapted from even more (devastatingly) popular podcasts, Harmonquest and My Brother, My Brother and Me. Something for everyone!
This may seem like a lot, but I didn’t even get into the mixed-bags of content on CuriosityStream, Geek & Sundry, MUBI, Nerdist, and Rooster Teeth. Basically, if any Venn diagram combination of of Anime, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, K-Drama, Indie Cartoons and D&D re-enactments is where you thrive, VRV is something you ought to know about.
One important thing to note: For most of the series on VRV Select and many of the series on the other channels, only the first seasons (unless they are rated Mature) are available without a VRV Premium subscription—obviously the better to coax series-specific addictions—but a full season is a lot. And for those for whom a full season isn’t enough? $9.99 is pretty reasonable!
So go ahead, stream your weird little cartoon/horror/sci-fi-loving hearts out.
Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic whose writing has appeared on Forever Young Adult , Screener, and Birth.Movies.Death. She’ll go ten rounds fighting for teens and intelligently executed genre fare to be taken seriously by pop culture. She can be found @AlexisKG.