Turn Off the TV and Watch These Online Shows
Netflix to debut Arrested Development Season 4 on May 26.
Want to see some great new shows? Turn off the TV and boot up the laptop. New and returning original series, as good as anything the networks put out, are starting to pour out of websites and apps.
We're not just talking about "House of Cards," the Netflix original series that helped the company score 3 million new subscribers and a stock price surge in the first quarter of this year. "House of Cards" was actually the upstart network's second original show, following "Lilyhammer."
In April, the company launched its third original series, "Hemlock Grove." Reviews were mixed, but the horror show had greater viewership in its initial weekend than "House of Cards" did.
Next up is a long-awaited revival of the cult comedy hit "Arrested Development," set to debut May 26. Four more series are in the pipeline for Netflix, including its first original kids series, the animated "Turbo F.A.S.T.," to be released in December.
"Arrested Development" isn't the only show to get a digital afterlife. Canceled soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" have recently been resurrected and are now streaming in new episodes on Hulu — to the relief of ardent fans. [See also: Cheapskate's Guide to Cable TV 'Cord Cutting']
Meanwhile, other series from all different genres are joining the movement to original online programming. Be on the lookout for these notable shows coming — or returning — to a monitor near you:
— "Betas," from TV veteran and "Heathers" director Michael Lehmann, is set in a Silicon Valley startup and features a host of endearing characters. The series is from the instant video store of Amazon, which just released 14 original pilots — none of which skimped on production value or talent. It debuted in April.
—"Onion News Empire" is a parody of HBO's popular shows "The Newsroom" and a second online role for "Arrested Development" star Jeffrey Tambor. It premiered April 20.
—"Blank on Blank" is an innovative series on YouTube where the unused vintage interviews of journalists are brought to life through the unique animated likenesses of various famous interviewees and their thoughtful reflections.
— "The Awesomes," an animated series co-created by "Saturday Night Live" star and head writer Seth Meyers, features a self-effacing superhero and his cohorts as they battle evildoers and their own reputation as bumbling crusaders.
—"Behind the Mask" is docu-series that examines the unusual domain of sports mascots with a sardonic tone. It's another one of Hulu's original series set to premiere this summer.
— "Burning Love," Yahoo's wildly popular parody of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," is entering its third season. Directed by Ben Stiller, the show features a revolving A-list cast of spoof "contestants" that includes Kristen Bell, Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman and Ken Jeong.
—"My Drunk Kitchen," created in 2011 by the self-described soubrette/sip-ster Hannah Hart, features her adventures and antics with friends in the kitchen while having "one too many."
—"The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl" premiered on YouTube in February 2011 and won the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show. Told through a first-person narrative in voiceovers and dream sequences, it follows a young woman's awkward struggles with co-workers and love interests.
Meanwhile, Ricky Gervais, a recent YouTube convert, is stocking his own online channel with original series, sketches, podcasts and new clips of his character David Brent from the British version of "The Office."
It's true. There's now officially something for everyone to watch online –from animation to comedy to a parody. With the instant way to find a uniquely created show, what's to stop anyone from tuning — er, logging — in?