I didn’t really pay any attention to youtube until recently; I’m a podcast girl. But in recent months, it’s been pointed out there’s some fun stuff for to unwind with when the podcasts are running low. Here’s a pick of some of the channels that get me through a stressful week….
Kurzgesagt. Short, beautifully produced and thoughtfully delivered videos on a range of topics, from the immune system to how the EU works to astrophysics. It’s a lovely snapshot of both fascinating subjects you may not know anything about, and a good example of how hard you have to work to be balanced and thoughtful on basically anything. Few educational videos are as willing to flag their opinion sections in big bold letters, nor spend as much time attempting to openly address its own potential biases. Love it to bits.
Overly Sarcastic Productions. I got into this through the ongoing re-telling of the Chinese classic, Journey To the West, though it has done retellings of many classics from many corners of the world. As someone who is a) sorta learning Mandarin and b) has read a (translation!) of Journey to the West, this caught my attention and has held it with wonderful dry humour and thoroughly modern take. But don’t be tricked by the ‘sarcastic’ label. There’s a genuine love for the topics covered, and a thorough, gleefully biased look in a depth at literature that most of us – certainly including me – probably skim through. There’s also a fantastic series on tropes in film and books, which is frankly on it to an almost painful degree. Oh tropes… how I love thee…
How Is Should Have Ended. (HISHE.) You know that bit where you’re like, “but why didn’t they just use the magic xxxx to fix the xxxx?!” HISHE has that question too. On just… everything. And attempts to offer a few answers of its own. A channel for genre-lovers/geeks/movie fans, which has in time grown to create its own mini extended universe, even as it lovingly picks apart everyone else’s.
Corridor Crew. As a techie, I love techies. Watching three dudes break down the VFX and tricks in movies is absolutely fascinating. So, for that matter, are some of the shows where they get fight and stunt choreographers in to break down the fight scenes. It’s maybe just the techie inside, but I find knowing how something works adds to the magic. And when you realise just how much work went into achieving a single shot – that’s when the awe really kicks in, and I love a bit of geeky awe in the morning.
Doug’s Secular Dharma. Bit niche, but if, like me, you’re sorta down with some of the basic tenets of Buddhism (all these stories you’re telling yourself, they makey you suffer; compassion is cool etc.) but aren’t really into chanting of any kind at all, then Doug’s Secular Dharma does a really nice, thorough look at Buddhism through an engaged, atheist lens.
Outsidexbox/Outsidextra. As someone who loves playing games as a way to unwind, I’ve never actually been very interested in youtube’s relationship with the gaming world. I don’t watch streamers; I tend to invest in a few, very broad games that I can spend a lot of time with, rather than in lots of stuff all over the place. But Outsidexbox, a bit like Overly Sarcastic Productions, has nailed the tropes, clichés, failures and joys of the medium with a humour and fondness that I love. And as for their live D&D games… praise Cthulu – and thank you for all the geek-tastic happy hours of chaos.