Help Van Hansis Make This Series

Hello, Blogosphere. There are nine days left to help make the web series Ms. Guidance by making a contribution through Kickstarter. (Maybe eight now; I’m late.)

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The Ms. Guidance Company all pride-ified.

WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Well, you know I am very bully on making your own art happen these days. One of the gifts that technology has given to creatives is the ability to make more art accessible to more people on a very grassroots level. And social sharing, though services like Kickstarter, has empowered more and more people to be a part of this rise of independent production with a very, very minimal monetary contribution.

Actor Van Hansis and playwright James Ryan Caldwell created the series and Hansis is also starring as well as taking a turn behind the camera, co-directing with Melodie Sisk.

WHAT WILL I GET OUT OF IT?
There’s the satisfaction that comes from making someone’s dream come true. If that’s too damn esoteric for you, I would suggest that you’ll get personal pleasure out of watching a well-crafted story, well-told. Isn’t that why we watch anything?

Also, if you’ve read this blog long enough, you’ll know that Hansis is on my short shortlist of people that I would pay to see read the phone book. (Do people have phone books anymore?) My soap opera people will know Hansis from his former incarnation as Luke Snyder on As The World Turns, recently called out — correctly, I might add — as Number 1 on thebacklot‘s list of 25 Greatest Gay Characters in soaps. My web series folks will know him from EastSiders, Kit Williamson’s smash-hit web series about a dysfunctional gay couple and their equally dysfunctional straight friends. My indie film friends will also be looking forward to his turn opposite Gale Harold in Casper Andreas’ upcoming Kiss Me, Kill Me or the 2013 horror film Devil May Call or maybe the thriller Occupant.

Look, he’s just good, okay.

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Ms. Guidance creators James Ryan Caldwell and Van Hansis.

WHY SHOULD I WANT TO SEE THIS?
I read somewhere that Hansis described Ms. Guidance as Strangers with Candy meets Anton Chekhov. That’s a genius line. How do you not want to see that?

There’s nothing I love more than stupid funny that makes you think; that sticks with you. And from the little teasers I’ve seen, that’s what this is. What do you do when your life doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to? That’s comedy gold, my friends. (Oh, trust me; that’s hilariously bitter experience talking.) Also, Uncle Vanya is one of the funniest plays ever written — yes it is! — so, there’s that.

In addition to Hansis, the cast includes Amber Gray, Adriane Lenox, Ian Unterman, Tyler Hanes, Marco Zunino, and introduces Elliotte Crowell as Jenny Bump, an actress who has a nervous breakdown on the New York stage and returns to her old performing arts boarding school as potentially the worst choice ever for an interim guidance counselor.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
Just log on to Kickstarter in the next nine days (eight now, maybe) and pledge. You can pledge as little as $5 or really as much as you want. Hey, for $750 you can get a dance lesson from Tyler Hanes! $750! Trust me, if you’ve ever seen him dance, that’s the bargain of the century.

They have just under $10,000 left to raise of a VERY MODEST goal. Just take that $10 you were going to spend on that venti four-shot no whip cinnamon dolce soy latte and give it to these guys. You’re awake enough; you don’t need any more coffee.

Have a lovely Independence Day. I have to go catch a damn airplane so I can go home for the weekend. (See above re: hilariously bitter life experience.)

“Just Us Guys” — Just a Little Bit Meta

I decided to check out the web series Just Us Guys last week and found that I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s constructed as a direct address vlog — we all know those and probably subscribe to several — and while it may be lacking in blocking, it’s definitely worth a watch.

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Skyler Seymour as Max Sherman and Scott Hislop as his dad, Scott Young in the meta vlog series, Just Us Guys. |Image fr. Snobby Robot.

The conceit is that a single-parent gay dad and his straight son decide to begin vlogging together as a bonding experience. Along the way you learn that the son is generally the more mature one, the grandma is a bigot trying to redeem herself, both the father and son start dating, and along the way, you find yourself beginning to form a real connection with these characters, who are not presented as characters but as real people on a real vlog.

It’s a clever leitmotif, I have to acknowledge, but I think its the likability of the leads that makes one come back again and again to these short, well, vlog-size, bites. Scott Hislop is the father, Scott, and Skyler Seymour is the son, Max. They’re effortless performers who have great chemistry and the relationship is completely believable. It’s a bit more forced when other characters are introduced and the two-hander set-up is thrown out, but I am glad to see inclusion of all sorts, including Max’s deaf girlfriend, Beth, played by Amanda McDonough. Both Seymour and McDonough sign as well as speak through their scenes, again quite effortlessly.

Chris Lilly has come up with nearly 40 episodes as of this writing and they are currently on a riff about bullying. I hope they continue; it’s a show that’s educating and entertaining. Good on you, sir.

Here’s an embed of Episode One. You can subscribe on YouTube.

P.S. to my Days of our Lives groupies: Tammy Taylor, who plays Scott’s mother on Just Us Guys, played Hope Williams prior to Kristian Alfonso taking the character into the soap stratosphere as one-half of one of Days‘ most popular supercouples of all time. Ya learn something new every day!

Most Gay Porn Watched in the South?

Actually, that makes perfect sense to me and, as this clip from the Rubin Report explains, we should not be surprised that the regions that have the most oppressive anti-LGBT laws are were we would see this bubbling under the surface.

The Rubin Report is something that I would encourage you to look into. Like the Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver, Dave Rubin has fashioned a unique program that combines humor with discussions about real issues. And instead of pundit blathering, he uses comedians. Usually, and this is not a stretch to those that have been around this world, the comedians are some of the best interpreters of human emotions and often offer important dissections of events of the day.

Also, they’re funny. So, there’s that.

Watch.

Ubiquitous End of the Year Roundup: What You Are Reading ‘Round Here

Happy New Year. Looking back at 2014, I have come to the conclusion that, while I try to write about a broad array of topics, it is obvious that people come here to read about three subject areas:

  1. Web Series’
  2. Soap Operas
  3. Gay People

A web-based soap opera about gay people, well, that’s the trifecta, ladies and gentlemen! (Keep reading!)

So, what have I learned? I learned that more people read this blog in 2014 than in years past and I learned that the busiest day on the blog was June 16 and the most popular post that day was Where the Beautiful People Go to High School, which is about a web-based soap with (not entirely, but strong) gay themes. It was also the year’s most-shared piece. More than 2,000 readers shared it on their Facebook pages.

More people commented on I Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game and Celebrating the Zeitgeist than any other story of 2014 and the top referrers to the site were: Facebook, Twitter, will-sonny.livejournal.com, willxsonny.tumblr.com and reddit, followed closely by thebacklot.com. Top clicks included thebacklot.com, YouTube, Kickstarter, stage17.tv and my marketing blog, markblackmon.net.

Visitors came from 112 countries, including 5 people from Qatar, 1 from Armenia, 1 from Mongolia and 54 from the Russian Federation. To be fair, the vast majority of readers are from the U.S. and Canada, but the international reach is quite astonishing, especially since I did nothing to cultivate it. The Worldwide Web is not named hyperbolically!

So, with that long, drawn-out introduction, here is this year’s Top Ten list of most-popular posts.

10. High School Same-Sex ‘Cutest Couple’ is Prom-Bound Internet Sensation
cutestThis one, originally posted in June 2013 had the 10th most views in 2014.

It got a second wind this year; I don’t know why. Prom season, maybe.

I did some quick digging and couldn’t find any updates on these prom cuties. Perhaps, like so many others, they went off to college and discovered new cuties to hook up with. If you know something about them, though, let me know.

9. Saying Goodbye to the First WilSon Incarnation with a Bit of Snark
snarkwsNothing of great import here; just what the title implies. A shoutout is due for “snicks” from thebacklot.com who put these hilarious slides together to commemorate the end of Chandler Massey’s run as Will Horton on Days of our Lives.

Over the last year there’s been a lot of yammering about Days letting Chandler go and recasting the role, but mostly I believe it’s just the Interwebs’ usual stuff and nonsense. If you know the show, though, these are hilarious.

8. Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too
esdr2A screed. A smack in the face. A wake up call. Maybe a primer on how crowd funding and word-of-mouth actually work. This was written at a time when it seemed that, by traditional metrics, the Kickstarter campaign for the second season of Kit Williamson’s bravura web series may not make it to its goal. I figured that I needed to do something. So I yelled a little! Like I do.

Did it help? Doubtful, but they did make their nut and Season 2 is coming soon! So many people have said that this series is so good that it should be on TV. And even though Kit recut the series as a feature length movie that aired on Logo, you won’t find anything this good on television. Nothing this good ever makes it to television. I mean, they don’t call it the ‘boob toob’ for nothing!

7. Wallflowers Returns for a Second Season — No Shrinking Violets Here
wallflrTruth in advertising: I only watched this show because John Halbach asked me to. I thought the first episode was very good and I said so here.

I did one other post about the show during the second season but what I didn’t expect to have happen was quickly to turn into an unabashed fan of Kieran Turner’s series about a band of romantically challenged souls.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch the series in one binge and it may be even better the third or fourth time around. It’s a delight. Nuanced. Crisply written. Witty and smart in all the right places. Warm. And in the final episode? Still surprising. Full of grace notes, this.

Watch it, if you haven’t already. This is my nominee for “Best New Thing I Found on the Web in 2014.”

6. Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?
vankitThis one ties for my vote in the category of the best thing I wrote in 2014. You may not think so, nor may the judges from the American Academy of Specialty Bloggers*, but I think its good and it’s an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I opened up a little and told a bit of my story, old and creaky though it may be.

Kit and Van are smart and creative and are both on my shortlist of people I would pay to watch read the phone book. It hurts not at all that they are also drop-dead handsome. I love their sensibilities, I suppose. Ones to watch.

5. Actor Hunter Canning Talks ‘The Outs,’ ‘Whatever This Is’
hunttommyThis is just a paragraph. I mean, really, Internets? The linked interview is good, but I didn’t write that; just this paragraph.

One supposes that people are drawn in by this devilishly cute picture of Hunter (right) and his The Outs and Whatever This Is co-star Tommy Heleringer

The Outs and Whatever This Is, both from the mind of Adam Goldman and company, are two more of my favorite web series.

Originally posted in Oct. 2013.

4. ‘Sonny’ Skies or Clouds on the Horizon? The New Normal Comes to Salem
freddieAn early-in-the-year piece that focused on daytime television’s first male-to-male marriage proposal on Days of our Lives. I thought it was a compelling jumping-off point to say something about LGBT representation in the media at large and this storyline in particular.

This hit quite soon after the role of Will Horton was assumed by Guy Wilson and a lot of people were saying nasty things about Guy on social media. Sometimes I wish people would keep their yaps shut. So, I slapped at them a bit and ended up getting a number of positive comments including nice note — maybe it was a tweet? — from Guy. I still think it was a good recast. So there.

3. Where the Beautiful People Go to High School
ydGay. Web. Soap: my blogging sweet spot! HA! A quick little review of the web series Youthful Daze. Proving that you never know what will hit and why, this is the most-shared post on this blog and it was shared more than 1,000 times in the first 12 hours it was up. It’s over double that number now.

It’s a very good series. I was more impressed than I thought I would be, to be honest with you. Bryan James has created a real soap in the best traditions of serials with a lot of, as I put it in the original piece, angsty teens and improbable dramas. I’m glad these types of shows exist and continue to thrive on the web. It makes me think there is a higher purpose to it all than merely showcasing silly photos of cats.

2. I Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game, and Celebrating the Zeitgeist
idoThis piece hit big after the April telecast of the wedding of Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton on DOOL. It was an outstanding week of programming and it was the first time in my soap-watching memory (and that’s a LOOOONG time) that I can recall a multi-year story arc  tied up so well. It really was this genre at its finest and it didn’t hurt that everyone surrounding the two outstanding actors at the center of the action was a veteran soap performer.

In the months since the wedding, I haven’t felt as enamored of the writing. It’s seemed inconsistent and sometimes downright head-scratching. Still, there was a part of that first arc that so enraged me that I nearly stopped watching, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but I do wish the writers were more artful in their plotting.

This is the piece that ties with No. 6 for best thing I think I wrote this year.

1. Finnish Soap’s Gay Storyline Finds International Fans Thanks to YouTube
saltutI published this piece originally on Jan. 4, 2013 and it has made it into the “most viewed posts” list almost every week since and yes, it was the most-viewed post in 2014. That’s the second year.

Go figure.

It’s a quick cut about a gay teen storyline on the Finnish sudser Salatut Elämät. Thanks to the uploader and captioner who goes by the handle missfinlandia88, I still watch these clips from time to time on YouTube. It’s not the greatest soap I’ve ever watched — sometimes it’s downright groan-worthy — but other times it’s pretty good and I enjoy the two leads. Also, I appreciate the fact that while the stories are sometimes a little far-fetched, at least the Europeans have moved past the U.S. in their inclusion of LGBT characters into their stories.

***

Anyhow, if you’re still reading, that’s the list. Thanks for reading these for the past year. Thanks for your comments and your “likes” and shares, which tend to be the only way one knows that you are connecting with the world. And thanks for continuing to check in. I started this blog a couple of years ago as a way to talk about things I wanted to talk about. I didn’t expect anyone would care. I was pleased — and shocked — to find an audience and am excited that it continues to grow.

Best wishes for 2015!

*Oh, stop Googling. I made it up.

‘EastSiders’ Creator Kit Williamson | Backstage Actor Interviews

‘EastSiders’ Creator Kit Williamson on the Alchemy of Web Series | Backstage Actor Interviews | Acting Tips & Career Advice | Backstage | Backstage.

Good, quick read, in case you missed it — or — ICYMI, as the kiddies annoyingly text. Can’t wait to see what Kit and his merry band do with Season Two.

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the new web series "Eastsiders."  Watch at www.eastsiderstv.com

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the series “Eastsiders,” the second season of which is now in production.

Wallflowers – Fresh Meat

Kieran Turner’s Wallflowers is fast becoming one of my favorite web series. Smart and funny are a combo that I find very, very hard to resist. And, if you like that, too,  you should definitely be watching.

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New guy Wade (Daniel Abeles) throws himself on the grenade that is Janice to win a job at Hunter Casting in Wallflowers, now on stage17.tv.

Episode 3 of Season 2 debuted last week and featured plenty of earnest wackiness from Janice (Christianne Tisdale) and the continued pursuit by Martin (Gibson Frazier) of his married and pregnant co-worker. I think this is going to be a sweet — albeit a bit twisted — plot and I’m eager to see what transpires here. It may end up being a complete train wreck for poor Marty, but either way, I’m strangely invested.

Daniel Abeles debuted as Wade, the eager new receptionist at Bryce’s agency. He’s a “fresh piece of lamb,” according to Janice, who announces that it’s quite obvious that he’s gay and “it’s carefree; I like it.” Tisdale owns this little scene and it’s a treat to watch her work, especially playing against such an excellent ensemble.

As I said, everyone is so well-drawn and crispy performed, it’s really hard to find much fault here. Marcia DeBonis, as Bryce’s office manager, Leslie, is dead solid perfect, if underutilized and her line, “You need to be more afraid of me,” is delivered with so many layers, you know it’s the truth!

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John Halbach and Patch Darragh fog up the lens in episode 3 of the second season of Wallflowers.

Alex (EastSiders’ John Halbach) and Bryce (Patch Darragh) button the episode with a short scene that artfully uses a monitor to add depth to the moment. It is awfully damn sexy for being very much a PG scene. Whatever is happening under those end credits?

P.S. — Mad props to Mr. Turner for the episode names.

Catch up on back episodes at Stage 17 and watch this episode below.

PREVIOUS
Wallflowers – No Shrinking Violets

Wallflowers Returns for a Second Season — No Shrinking Violets Here

Alert readers will already know that there’s not too much that I like more than discovering a really well written and well-produced show. And I’ve got another one for you: Wallflowers, the charming comedy from Kieran Turner (Jobriath A.D.) that’s just launched its second season on Stage17.tv.

According to the site, Stage17 is a new “digital platform offering captivating original, executive-produced and curated entertainment for the world’s largest stage — the Internet.”

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John Halbach and Patch Darragh in Wallflowers. The second season opener is now available at Stage17.tv.

You’re going to see more of these types of platforms coming online as smart entrepreneurs, producers and, eventually, the mainline ‘creativity oligarchy,’ begin to understand where their audiences are getting entertainment.

As I started watching Wallflowers, I began to think about the title of the show. And, of course, I did what any self-respecting researcher would do: I turned to that specialist bastion of lexicography, urbandictionary.com. (Don’t judge.) UD defined wallflower this way, in part: “…some of the most interesting people if one actually talks to them.”

And that’s a pretty good jumping off point for this series; the central conceit of which is following a fairly tight-knit yet wildly diverse group of people who, for whatever reason, can’t get dates. They are all members of the support group, “Navigating the Relationship Waters in the New Millennium,” sort of an AA for the hopelessly single.

It’s a thesis that could get really old really quickly, but creator Turner is a smart writer, who uses the group meetings sparingly and effectively to advance the narrative. Janice, the group leader, sets the tone and Christianne Tisdale plays her with deadpan hilarity. Janice is doggedly earnest, even when her group members think she may have gone ‘round the bend.

Patch Darragh (Mercy, Boardwalk Empire) is the third actor to take on the central role of Bryce in the short history of the show and I believe he really nails the character in a way that neither of his predecessors (both quite good, by the way) did. Darragh has a marvelous world-weary, overly cynical, screw-you-guys, every cloud has a black lining kind of — what? — ennui, maybe — that just drips beautifully from every line he delivers.

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John Halbach as Alex opposite Patch Darragh as Bryce in the second series of Wallflowers. The duo has their first encounter in a smartly written ‘pas de deux with Marlboros’ in episode 1.

This season, Bryce has a new love interest — after a riotously bad blind date from hell in Season 1 — in the form of piano player Alex, played by EastSiders’ John Halbach.

Halbach plays endearing all-American wide-open genuineness so well that, set against Darragh’s mordant darkness, you know sparks are soon coming.

Their main interaction in the first episode is a short, but important scene where you learn just about everything you need to know about them. It’s adorable. The mating rituals of the smoker.

Bryce fights against his acid edge here while Alex displays the same genuineness that Halbach had playing opposite another caustic love interest (the fantastic Constance Wu) in EastSiders. Smart writing. And the scene follows the old axiom “let picture tell story;” something forgotten by so many. It’s the moment when I definitely decided to come back for the next episode.

I have a clip of this scene that I put in and took out I don’t know how many times. Ultimately, though, I think you need to watch the entire episode to watch it all gel.

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To keep you coming back: more cute boys, less clothes. John Halbach as Alex in an upcoming episode of Wallflowers.

Rounding out the principal cast are Sarah Saltzberg, Gibson Frazier, Jolly Abraham, Susan Louise O’Connor (an out-and-out screaming hoot), Max Crumm and Marcia DeBonis. All are actors with serious theatre chops. I’m sure I’m biased, but I find that’s where most substantial ensemble players come from.

Anyhow, watch it. Turner is a clever one and a deft weaver of all of humanity’s various foibles and failures — and those tiny glimmers of hope that make us get out of bed each day — into a well-turned story. Also, Wallflowers looks lovely; so props to cinematographer Zachary Halberd.

I have a short list — a very short list — of favorite series that I go back to again and again because they never seem to get old. That list has now grown by one.


Something Else:
It turns out that Turner is the man behind a little holiday flick called 24 Nights. I had no idea. You should check it out, as well. It, too, is delightful. Plus, as an added bonus, it features the lovely David Burtka, so young he’s barely out of short pants!

 

‘Submissions Only’ Returns March 3

BWW TV: SUBMISSIONS ONLY to Return to BroadwayWorld.com for Season 3 on March 3, Check out the New Trailer!|Broadway World

Okay, you know I have a handful of series that I am rabid about, but I think Submissions Only is special. I don’t know how well it plays for those who have never been in “the business,” but I’ve tested it with some “civilians” and I find that, as the old line goes, “funny is funny.”

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Subsmissions Only creators Kate Wetherhead and Andrew Keenan-Bolger.|Image: BroadwayWorld

But for anyone who has ever acted, directed, written, produced or watched theatre: this is so hilarious you might not realize that parts of it weren’t actually drawn from your own real life.

The last time I felt this strongly about a series that got the theatre business dead right, it was Slings and Arrows. (I swear that show contained actual tape recorded scenes of my life!!)

Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead are the responsible parties here. I am not-so-secretly in love with both of them! Watch and love!

I Want My GayTV — Web and Broadcast Series Line Beginning to Blur

(Jan. 7, 2014) — Tonight, the cable channel Logo will air a movie-length compilation of the series EastSiders. [Check your local listings, but it looks like 11:30 p.m. in the East.]

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the web series "Eastsiders."  Watch at www.eastsiderstv.com

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in “EastSiders,” which is seeing its cable premiere tonight.

So, what’s the significance of this — other than the fact that I’m a fan? Well, I think it’s because the series is at the vanguard of blurring the line between Web-based entertainment — the quality of which is seen often (and wrongly) as “less than” — and traditional broadcast/cablecast TV. Logo seems to be tentatively dipping its toes into the Web world to see what they can mine for their network. (The show was released originally on Logo’s website, after the first episodes premiered on YouTube.)

Down the TV Rabbit Hole
I’m actually not among the ones who think that a television deal is the end-all-be-all of the entertainment world. In fact, I tend to think that networks are looking to the Web for content because they are running scared — scared of the death of cable monopolies, scared of the death of cable bundling, scared of the increasingly small numbers of corporate parents, which tends to have a negative effect on diversity and innovation.

I mean, let’s get real, it’s great that Logo is out there, but it’s owned by one of the most powerful entities in the entertainment world: Viacom. And it does not exist because of any altruism; it’s because Viacom saw a niche where they thought they could make some money. Not making any money? BAM! You’re the next Discovery Health Channel.

It’d be great if the creators of EastSiders could tap into a bit of that corporate money to make a second series (or more), but not at the price that corporate tentacles usually bring with them.

Still, watch, if you’ve never seen it. It’s a terrific example of a program made independent of studio money or interference that’s simply just better than most anything you’ll find on a major network. It’s one of the first, of what I hope are many, programs to showcase different voices and points-of-view.

It’s Awards Season
It is. I know this because the New York Times on Sunday helpfully included and entire special section in the newspaper. One of the awards not helpfully included were the Third Annual Groovy Awards for Web Series Excellence.

There were a few outliers, but generally EastSiders and It Could Be Worse took home the most, er, …. well, I don’t know what groovy thing you get — statuettes? trophies? certificates? Starbucks gift cards?

Anyhow, here’s a rundown:

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Van Hansis, Kit Williamson and John Halbach of EastSiders.

Grooviest Drama Series: EastSiders
Grooviest Actor in a Drama: Van Hansis, EastSiders
Grooviest Supporting Actor in a Drama: John Halbach, EastSiders
Grooviest Supporting Actress in a Drama: Constance Wu, EastSiders
Grooviest Guest Star in a Drama: Sean Maher, EastSiders

It Could Be Worse received the following in groovy achievement:

Wesley+Taylor+Clear+Day+Can+See+Forever+Broadway+XsseGoSL8-Ul

Wes Taylor, star and co-creator of It Could Be Worse.

Grooviest Comedy Series
Grooviest Gay Series
Grooviest Actor in a Comedy: Wesley Taylor
Grooviest Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Adam Chanler-Berat
Grooviest Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Alison Fraser
Grooviest Guest Actor in a Comedy: Audra McDonald

It Could Be Worse is the brainchild of Wesley Taylor and Mitchell Jarvis and fast-established itself as a member of that rarified position occupied by EastSiders, The Outs, Whatever This Is, and Husbands known as “Belongs on TV if TV Had the Balls to Produce It.” A second season is currently in production.

Meanwhile, I have to say, it’s an egregious slight not to include EastSiders creator and star Kit Williamson on the “groovy” list. He’s just as groovy as Van — and I’m not even being paid to say so!!

Watching a lot of TV not on TV

Back in May, I reported that I was fed up with television and was giving up the habit. Well, I did it. Sort of. I did jettison my cable so that I only have the super bargain basement basic cable just in case I need to know what’s going on locally, but other than that I just do not bother.

I get the vast majority of my television from Hulu and Netflix and YouTube and the handful of series I watch on the Web. Google’s somewhat-clunky-but-still-revolutionary Chromecast has eased the transition significantly, I have to say. Here are a few things that have grabbed me lately:

EmmerdaleEMMERDALE — American dramatic serials only wish they were in the same league as this powerhouse from ITV in the U.K. Airing six times a week (twice on Thursdays), Emmerdale is a half-hour drama about the most interesting village in Yorkshire. Fires, floods, famine, good-guys-gone-bad, bad-guys-gone-good, lesbians with children, snarky old people, elder-abusing ex-priests — you can find them all having a pint down the Woolpack. If I don’t watch, I start to twitch. Nowt better, as they say in the Dales. (Tonight, an evil bastard is going to burn down Moira Barton’s farm and this time it has nothing to do with her taking up with village shady character Cain Dingle. Oh, it’s a cracker, this one!)

Pramface Series 2 PRAMFACE — This smart and funny offering from BBC3 tells the story of Jamie and Laura. He’s a 16-year-old who has his first sexual experience at an end-of-term party with a very drunk 18-year-old on her way to university. And, of course, she gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby. From that hackneyed premise, comes a simply lovely, hilarious comedy about class, about age, about finding your own path, and about listening to others. The first two series — 13 total episodes — are on Hulu. A third series has been shot and set to air in the U.K. in 2014. Highly recommended.

Whites_(TV_series) WHITES — Alan Davies stars as Roland White, a chef who is both pompous and potentially past it. Darren Boyd is his ever-suffering sous chef. Set in the kitchen of a restaurant at a posh English country hotel, this BBC offering feels a bit like an update of the Lenny Henry classic Chef! crossed with Ireland’s Raw. The Beeb only produced one season. It’s on Hulu. It’s quite sweet.

Rev_-_main_cast REV. — Tom Hollander plays the titular reverend in this delightful BBC2 sitcom.You know Hollander from, well, every period costume drama produced in the U.K. in the last 20 years it seems. He also plays Hugo Weaving’s lover, Darren, in Bedrooms and Hallways, my entry in the most overlooked comedy of the 1990s competition. Smart and human, this is not your ordinary vicar-out-of-step-with-the-world sort of comedy. It addresses many of the struggles of modern life. It also won the 2011 BAFTA for best comedy. Two seasons are out. A third is to be released in 2014. BTW – watch for Simon McBurney’s fantastic turn as the Archdeacon. Brilliant.

The-Inbetweeners-001 THE INBETWEENERS — Laugh-out-loud funny and often raunchy comedy about a group of teenage boys getting up to what teenage boys get up to — mostly having to do with sex and drinking. But, God, is it funny. I thought I was going to have a stroke, I laughed so hard. American audiences with no knowledge of the English educational system may find terms like “A levels” and “GCSEs” and “Sixth Form College” and “revising” completely and utterly baffling. It might help you to peruse Wikipedia for a minute. For the education references; not for the sex jokes. Well, a working knowledge of “slapper” and “up the duff” and “bell end”  would help, I suppose! On Hulu.

MV5BMTQ2ODgyOTM4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDI1ODY3OQ@@._V1__SX640_SY720_ HE’S WITH ME — Web series written by and starring Jason Cicci about a friendship between a gay man and a straight man and their close circle of friends. It spirals out from that premise in some interesting ways. By and large, it’s worth a look, though there is one episode in the middle of the first series (I don’t remember which, sorry) that I thought was a total clinker, but, I liked the characters enough to pick it back up. I’m not sure that it didn’t stray a bit from its intended trajectory, but I won’t fault it too much for that. I really liked the way Cicci (and director Sebastian La Cause) buttoned up the first season. Surprise standout: Ryan Duncan as Benny Costa. You can’t help but love him! Available on YouTube.

holding_video MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES — Fabulous flapper Phyrne Fisher is at the wheel of her Hispano-Suiza as she careens around 1928 Melbourne searching for clues to solve the latest case dropped in her lap. With the help of her companion and maid, Dot, cabbies Bert and Cec, her able houseman Mr. Butler, and to the consternation of Detective-Inspector Jack Robinson, who harbors a bit of a crush on the freewheeling Miss Fisher, who helps herself to lovers and clues, as well as a “gasper” or two, Miss Fisher is to the 1920s as Mad Men is to the 1960s: costume and set and properties design to die for. Essie Davis is sensational in the title role, but I have a soft spot for Hugo Johnstone-Burt as unsure young constable Hugh Collins. The ABC series (Australian Broadcasting Company, that is) is just wrapping series two Down Under, but the first series is on Netflix. Watch it. (Based on Kerry Greenwood’s Hon. Phryne Fisher novels.)

P.S. — Congratulations to HUSBANDS on two Writers Guild Awards for “I Do Over,”  parts one and two, which aired on CW Seed.

Also kudos to EASTSIDERS on nominations for an International Press Academy Satellite award. The Kickstarter-backed series aired on LogoTV.com.