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The Best Web Shows

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Ok, I'm going to say it: I don't have a television. Now, don't get me wrong. This is not a cry for help, or the first step in my ten point plan to survive purely on yoga and ambient jazz.

I don't have a TV because, although there's some great networked television, there's only so many times you can watch beer, chips, and nappies commercials before wondering exactly how you should be living your life. I can only assume it's with a vat of crinkle cut French fries, and urine proof undies.

I watch box sets, subscribe to streaming services (like Netflix and Lovefilm), use fee TV applications like Crackle (which gets a mention for featuring the excellent live action series of The Tick), but increasingly I watch internet shows. The web is the wild west of television where anything goes, minds run rampant and budgets are small. Now there are plenty of shows to champion but I want to mention a few that you, my Huffington amigos, may specifically enjoy, and with the success of Alan Partridge Morning Matters still fresh, and TVs with YouTube built in, what better time to get out of those urine soaked undergarments?

1. The Angry Video game Nerd

James Rolfe AKA the AVGN has been making game reviews since he was a child, but it was with the invention of YouTube (yes there was a time before, in the long long ago, when people shared animated gifs and stories of cute kittens) that The Nerd was born.

Focusing on terrible games James created the nerd character to spew bile and make us laugh. Be warned at times the language can be a crude, but it's hard to deny the sheer effort invested in these videos and playing the terrible games themselves. This is a nostalgia trip for the retro games enthusiast, and an education on how bad games evolved to what we know today: The Kinect. The Skynet of gaming, preferring us humans to not be involved.

2. Becoming Batman

Becoming Batman is the Antithesis to the superheros dominating our screens offering a series that digs into the psychology of being the bat, in a English village. Too long have we accepted that superheroes are all tickeytboo in the brain department when one should be asking, "Hey Superman, why pants over trousers?". The Amazing Spiderman is fine, but I'm bored of the franchise. I yearn for the Amazingly Neurotic Beatle with its leading man Woody Allen.

Becoming Batman is subtle, if you fancy giving it a try commit to several and you will soon see layers of jokes that weren't obvious at first. Written with a sensitivity towards the medium its parodying, a eye for detail, and a twist of the absurd it is one interesting cocktail, like a Ron Jeremy anecdote (cock-tale). One YouTube comment I noted was "Reminds me of the office" and I can see their point, even if they are most likely Troll scum.

3. Table Top

Table Top, like many successful web shows, focuses in on a niche audience. What that means is this is not a show for everyone, unless 'Everyone' is the name of your Dungeons and Dragons character.

Table top is a show where 'celebrities' (in the same sense I'm a journalist) get together and play a board game. If your dream is to see the presenter of Mythbusters compete with Sulu from Star Trek (John Cho) then you should seek therapy, or welcome this as the sensory highlight of your existence. Get some popcorn, wear a poncho, and ride each dice roll like your life depended on it.

A criticism levelled at Table Top by one of my friends is "presenter Wil Wheaton laughs, but seems dead behind the eyes". I can see my friend's point, but personally don't mind seeing a fellow crushed spirits gaze. Wil's just one more individual hollowed out by the grinding banality of existence, but he makes a refreshing change to the frenzied lust stares of Ant and Dec.

4. Stubbing Out Problems

Stubbing Out Problems is a series of web shorts where comedian Rachel Stubbings plays a wannabe self-help guru giving advice to her guest on camera. The comedy is rich and dark, playing on Rachel's characters self absorption and ego. These short videos are great for a quick lunchtime fix, and if you enjoy this you can see Rachel healing live on stage during the Edinburgh festival. No real jokes here mainly because I could really use some advice.

5. Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

As a comedian rarely do I use the word "hilarious" as I reserve it only for my latest joke and as a pet name for my penis. Between Two Ferns, however, is hilarious (not my penis). Zack Galifianakis works hard in a way born only from the guilt of making dyslexic bloggers spell his surname can conjure, delivering a wealth of strong jokes, and silly approaches to his interviews.

To those whose only familiarity with Mr G is the Hangover movies I highly recommend Between Two Ferns as a aperitif to Zack's own talent. A hilarious (not my penis) stand-up and comedic actor. Watch this before picking up his live DVD and highly acclaimed TV series Bored to Death. Then if you're still in the mood for clever comedy come see me at Edinburgh festival. Cheeky, but you cant deny the link worked despite being as tentative as a cat's affection.

Well that should be enough to crack on with, whilst of course you can visit New Grounds for the latest in animated shorts, and Podomatic for their Podcast chart. Next week I'll be looking at my favourite podcasts so please Tweet me if the mad voices you call 'opinions' must be heard.

Jay Cowle is performing his stand up show: We The Chemicals from the 4-18 of August, at 3.10pm, in the Banshee Labyrinth Bar, Chamber Room.

He is not in the Fringe guide as he is far too cool to pay for any guide, unless it's a sherpa.

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