The top 10 Toronto web series
The top Toronto web series might most often encountered at 3am, when you're in pyjamas and illuminated only by your laptop screen, but that doesn't mean they're not addictive, quality programming. In fact, Toronto is home to some of the best web series in the world, having racked up nominations and awards from Paris, New York and L.A., and these homegrown web series (although not always set on the streets of the city) come with millions of views, tons of extras, production value, and well-crafted characters that could easily rival most Canadian TV shows.
Here is my list, in no particular order, of the top web series created or produced in Toronto.
Prison Dancer is an interactive musical web series inspired by the viral YouTube hit "Dancing Inmates Of Cebu." The story of 6 Filipino prisoners whose lives were changed by a dancing rehabilitation program, we follow journalist Matt Wells as he interviews and uncovers the people behind the sensation. Think a prison version of Glee. Prison Dancer has won a host of awards, was turned into a Broadway musical, and was most recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Digital Program.
Out With Dad is a family friendly (PG13) quirky drama about a teenage girl Rose (Kate Conway) and her single father (Will Conlon) struggling with coming-of-age and coming out of the closet. Tackling homophobia and heartbreaks, it's not afraid to encourage an open environment and show its support. Out With Dad is officially endorsed by PFLAG Canada, and has also been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Program or Series Produced for Digital Media.
Guidestones is probably Toronto's best known interactive web series. Having received recognition worldwide, it was recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Program or Series produced for digital media. Based on the real mystery of the Georgia Guidestones, it follows Sandy Rai (Supinder Wraich) and Trevor Shale (Dan Fox), both Ryerson University School of Journalism students, as an unsolved murder starts them on a search for the truth, leading them to the mysterious monument in rural Georgia, and, of course, a conspiracy.
A live action Saturday morning cartoon for adults, Microwave Porn follows the story of humble architect assistant Dave (Ash Catherwood) and his talking, porn-addicted microwave, Allen. Together, they form an unlikely bond and traverse the urban dating scene with hilarity and perversity. Easy and fun to watch, it features guest appearances by Second City's Nigel Downer and Canadian comedy darling Nikki Payne.
This femme fatale story follows the exploits of Kylie (Elitsa Bako), a pickpocket, who's forced to go on the run from a crime syndicate run by Marcel Obertovitch (Peter Hodgins), after her boyfriend, Matt (Matthew Carvery), betrays him. She teams up with a prostitute named Bridget (Lea Lawrynowicz) and fellow pickpocket Mike (Jeff Sinasac) to go on the offensive and rob Marcel. With sweet visuals and a great musical score, it's a fun and sometimes saucy look at the darker side of life.
Seth On Survival is hosted by supernatural survivologist (and teenager) Seth Greening (Ephraim Ellis). The goal? To give you all the supernatural resources that you need to survive in these troubled times. Episodes include survival tactics for, but not limited to: zombies, werewolves, vampires and leprechauns. You can even download the Monstrometer app for your iPhone or iPad to determine the probability of whether your friends might actually be a dangerous supernatural creature.
Sexy Nerd Girl follows the life of fictional character Valerie LaPomme (Hannah Spear), a self-professed sexy nerd girl who loves sci-fi, comics, video games, Pokemon, and sex. It covers every topic imaginable from online dating, to the friend zone, to The Hobbit.
Space Janitors is a comedy/sci-fi series that follows the lives of two janitors, Mike Chet (Pat Thorton) and Darby Richards (Brendan Halloran) and their friends who serve aboard an evil, iconic space station. Complete with androids, rebellious forces, break-up drama, and the desire to better oneself, it sheds a humorous light on an otherwise stereotypically serious genre. Space Janitors is among the nominees for The Canadian Screen Awards Best Original Program or Series Produced for Digital Media.
B.J Fletcher: Private Eye centres on the shenanigans of P.I Beatrix Jane Fletcher (Lindy Zucker), and her best friend/assistant Georgia Drew (Dana Puddicombe). We follow them as they grapple with everything from going undercover to running surveillance with varying degrees of success. One of the original lesbian web series, it won the 2008 web series competition run by AfterEllen.com.
Another mystery-based web series (although this one trends younger), Ruby Skye P.I is reminiscent of Harriett The Spy. It follows the detective work of smart and stubborn Ruby Skye (Madison Cheeatow) as she tries to uncover mysteries, and stops at nothing to unravel the clues. Complete with best friends, an angst-ridden older sister, and a nemesis, Ruby Skye P.I is the perfect tween show. Entirely violence-free, full of blog entries and games, it's a great classroom resource for teachers, and a show parents can feel safe about letting their children watch.
Writing by Kat Harlton