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The wonderful world of niche YouTube series

Entertainment Editor Chloe Southard wants to introduce you to some of her favorite niche web series on YouTube.
Entertainment Editor Chloe Southard wants to introduce you to some of her favorite niche web series on YouTube.

YouTube is nearly 20 years old.

Since its launch in 2005, the video sharing juggernaut has become home to countless channels, videos and communities. There’s a never ending feed of content; from makeup tutorials to vlogs to animation — YouTube has it all.

So, it’s no surprise that the platform houses a plethora of web series, ranging from professional grade productions to amateur projects.

You’ve probably come across at least one of these series, especially if you watched YouTube in the 2010s. Web shows like “Annoying Orange” and “Fred” were some of the most popular examples of the genre at the time.

But there’s more to YouTube series than obnoxious, nonsensical channels like those previously mentioned. Some channels, such as GenoSamuel2.1, have dedicated their craft to creating documentary series.

On GenoSamuel2.1’s channel resides “Chris Chan: A Comprehensive History,” a docu-series that details the life and online presence of polarizing figure Christine Weston Chandler, AKA the most documented person in internet history. The series is extremely well done and feels like a professional documentary, with each episode spanning over 40 minutes long.

I’ve only made it to the 10th episode so far — there are currently 84 in total, and the series is still ongoing. Samuel does an excellent job at detailing Weston’s history (often dubbed Christory) while remaining objective, unlike most other creators.

If you aren’t a fan of docu-series, fear not, because there’s much more available on YouTube. If you’re looking for something short and comedic, try giving “UNHhhh” with drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova a watch.

Most episodes run a little over 10 minutes long. Mattel and Zamolodchikova are given a topic to discuss in front of a green screen and simply ramble, but the way they feed off each other’s energies is highly entertaining.

Both “Chris Chan: A Comprehensive History” and “UNHhhh” are popular web series, and you may have already heard of them. Let’s get a little more niche, a little deeper into the iceberg.

One of my favorite series to ever grace YouTube is “The Most Popular Girls in School,” created by Mark Cope and Carlo Moss. I know what you’re thinking: that sounds like a dumb, corny high school drama.

But it’s much, much more than that.

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“The Most Popular Girls in School” uses stop motion with Barbie and Ken dolls to portray its characters, and yes, I know, these toys are often associated with children, but “The Most Popular Girls in School” is certainly not meant for young audiences.

Rife with vulgarities and absurdities, the series begins with a new girl, Deandra, as she navigates life at Overland Park High School. What unfolds is a hilarious story of rivalries, romance, sex scandals, mercenary cheerleaders and an ongoing ploy to expose a student who claims she’s from France. Think of it as a lovechild between “South Park” and “Euphoria.”

I’ve watched “The Most Popular Girls in School” several times since I first discovered it in middle school, and I can confidently say that it’s shaped my sense of humor.

Speaking of web series filmed with toys, it’d be a shame if I didn’t mention SophieGTV’s “Littlest Pet Shop: Popular.” If you couldn’t tell from the title, this series is created using Littlest Pet Shop figurines to tell a “Mean Girls”-esque story about two childhood best friends turned enemies.

While “Popular” isn’t as geared toward a mature audience as “The Most Popular Girls in School,” it’s still entertaining and nostalgic for those of us who spent our formative years watching YouTube. SophieGTV uses a professional grade camera along with advanced editing and set design, which is impressive for a series about plastic toy animals.

If you’re a fan of anime or animated series, I present to you: “Nyan~ Neko Sugar Girls,” a fanime (fan anime) created by SoapOpera46 in 2010.

This series, created in MS Paint and edited in Windows Movie Maker, is a laughably bad attempt at an anime, and it’s certainly a product of its time. It’s gained a cult following since its release, and most people who enjoy the series do so ironically.

There are 11 episodes in total, each of them short and amusing. It’s unclear whether the series is meant to parody the fanime genre, but it’s still worth a watch if you’re looking for a laugh.

Since the beginning of time, humans have found ways to tell stories, whether it was through word of mouth, hieroglyphics, writing and so on.

These web series are simply another way for people to share stories, to create and entertain. How lucky we are to live during a time in which we get to experience a never ending supply of these narratives.