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The Best of YouTube Part 3

By Shamus
on Sunday Aug 20, 2017
Filed under:


Here is the end of my list. The usualy disclaimer remains: The order is less about quality and more about viewing habits. As in: How quickly do I pounce on a new video from this creator when it pops up in my feed? Yes, that’s a vague, unfair, and poorly-justified basis for a list. But that’s what you get when you make these kinds of lists.

Let’s do this…

7. MovieBob

Link (YouTube)

Tragically, MovieBob’s content is sort of spread all over the place. His very best work was during his impressive five-year run of The Big Picture, which ran at The Escapist. He and The Escapist split a couple of years ago and now each side pretends the other doesn’t exist. His old movie reviews are also at the Escapist, while his new movie reviews are running at the YouTube channel Geek.com, and is basically the only worthwhile video content they have. The rest of his content is on his own YouTube channel.

The whole thing is an unfortunate mess.

He’s also stuck in the unenviable position where his most popular work isn’t necessarily his best work or the work he’s most proud of. Two years ago he posted a blistering screed against the awfulness of Pixels, which went on to get millions of views and became his biggest hit. On the other hand, he’s never tried to position himself as the “comically outraged film nerd” and that sort of brute-force schtick would be a waste of his considerable talents. So not only is his body of work spread out over multiple websites and YouTube channels, but he’s also divided between two audiences. On one hand he’s got folks like me who want informative deep cuts on pop-culture oddities and condensed explanations on complicated bits of nerd culture history. On the other hand he’s got a larger, more transient audience who are looking for him to eviscerate bad movies in profanity-laden tiradesSome of MovieBob’s work actually counteracts the “angry schtick” by doing long-form analysis of movies he really likes.. It’s the BioWare problem all over again: Do we cater to our core audience, or pivot to this far larger but less dependable one?

What I’m getting at is that he’s created a ton of content over the years, it’s scattered all over the internet, and it varies wildly in terms of content, tone, and style. So it’s really hard to recommend any single place as a good introduction to his work.

If there’s one small gripe I have, it’s with his Boston accent. I get that he’s proud of his Boston heritage and he’s deliberately leaning into it for the purposes of his online persona, but sometimes it drives me crazy. Maybe it’s because I’ve got some Boston natives in my family and their accent is pretty strong, but reviews where he can’t decide if he’s reviewing “Cars 3” or “Cahz 3” are particularly vexing to my ears. Pick an accent, buddy!

At any rate, I’m always surprised that MovieBob isn’t a much bigger name. Some critics sound uninformed because they don’t know the source material, and some critics sound unreasonable because they’re too hung up on the source material to judge if an adaptation makes for a good movie. MovieBob has one foot in the world of Gen-X / Millennial nostalgia properties and the other foot in the world of cinema. In this environment of non-stop sequels, spinoffs, reboots, adaptations, re-imaginings, ripoffs, and re-makes, he seems ideally positioned to cover the stuff currently residing near the center of our cinematic culture.

6. Slow Mo Guys

Link (YouTube)

I know my list is pretty heavy on documentary, analysis, and educational content. But sometimes I’m not looking to learn. Sometimes I just want to kill a few minutes with cheap sensory stimulation. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong with Slo Mo Guys.

Gavin and Dan own some top-quality HD high-speed cameras. They point those cameras at things, destroy the things, and the result is entertainment.

This is one of those channels that looks easy to replicate but I would advise against running out and dropping $100k on the latest HD Phantom High Speed camera in the hopes of catapulting yourself to YouTube glory. While the camera is important, a lot of the magic of this channel is in the editing and pacing. A video begins with an introduction of the premise. Then some banter to discuss what might go wrong / build anticipation. Then they do the actual experiment. Then there are some cuts, sound cues, and background music to really sell the dreamlike magic of slow motion destruction.

It might look easy, but there’s more to this channel than expensive hardware.

Viewing suggestion: Slow Mo Guys Channel Trailer.

5. Lessons From the Screenplay

Link (YouTube)

At the start of this series I mentioned that I watched a few cinema-focused YouTube channels to help me sharpen my criticisms of AAA games. When it comes to learning about cinema, characters, and the mechanics of storytelling, Lessons From the Screenplay is way out in front. Presenter Michael is focused more on the screenplay than the strictly technical side of cinema, which is really good for my purposes. Videogames have gotten pretty good at mimicking the language of cinema in terms of lighting and framing shots. The area where they come up short is usually with the script. Michael’s explanations of character motivations, story structure, dialog, and pacing are invaluable for figuring out where a handsome but empty film went wrong.

Viewing suggestion: Rogue One vs. The Force Awakens — The Fault in Our Star Wars

4. MrBtongue

This one almost didn’t make the list, since the channel hasn’t gotten a new video in 9 months. But if one does show up, I’m going to drop what I’m doing and watch it twice, like I always do.

Hopefully this creator isn’t wasting his time posting on some obscure blog rather than making me more videos.

Viewing suggestion: The Shandification of Fallout

3. SuperBunnyHop

Link (YouTube)

I admire the heck out of George Weidman. Not only does he run a great channel with great videogame analysis, but he’s also got several vids where he engages in some honest-to-gosh gaming journalism. I mean real, old-school journalism where you’ve got to find contacts, run down leads, dig through boring legal documents, interview people, and otherwise go to a lot of trouble to answer difficult questions. I know this sort of thing is tedious, time-consuming work and I know it doesn’t really pay any better than doing a more straightforward game review, which is why I’m so grateful when George goes the extra mile.

Viewing suggestion: The Importance of Quiet Time

2. The 8-Bit Guy

Dave Murray collects ancient (1980s, and sometimes even 1970s) personal computers and restores them to the point where they look almost factory new. It’s a fascinating process and I always get a sense of satisfaction when I see a machine from my childhood restored to its former glory.

Viewing suggestion: Apple IIc Restoration and video jack repair

1. CGP Grey

Link (YouTube)

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone through the ol’ CGP Grey archives, but it’s a lot. Grey doesn’t follow any of the supposed conventional wisdom with regards to building an audience. He doesn’t post often or on any sort of predictable schedule. He’s never done a face reveal. He doesn’t stream. The channel isn’t built around a single theme or topic and isn’t specifically targeted to any particular group. While the production values (mostly simple animations using stick figures) aren’t terrible, they’re pretty far below the other channels in his weight class. He doesn’t have unique intro or background music but instead relies on simple public domain music. But even though he doesn’t do any of that stuff he does the most important thing, which is that he makes really good content.

I’m not sure why the face reveal thing matters so much to me, but I’ve always felt like my perception of someone was somehow incomplete until I’ve seen their face when they’re talking. If there’s one face reveal I’d most like to see, it would be Grey’s. One of the first things I do when I discover a new author or director is go on YouTube and look for interviews. Is this normal? I have no idea.

And because I know people will ask: Yes, I know that Grey has a podcast called Hello Internet where he teams up with Brady Haran. Brady is one of my other favorite people on the internet, being responsible for both Numberphile and Deep Sky Videos, which appeared earlier in this list. So obviously if two of my favorite people get together and talk for two hours every week that must be something I really love, right?

The truth is, I’ve never listed to HI. Not once. Podcasts just don’t fit into my routine. If I did ever listen to a podcast I’d certainly start with Hello Internet. But no, that hasn’t happened yet.

Getting back to CGP Grey and his channel…

Link (YouTube)

Video, being a linear non-interactive format, will live or die on the strength of its editing and pacing. If a topic drags on too long you’ll start skipping. If it’s not covered in enough detail you’ll get bored. If there’s an obvious objection or counter-argument you want to make, not only does the author need to anticipate your point but they also need to insert their preemptive rebuttal at just the right point in order to pull you back in. When editing is done poorly you’ll find yourself irritated, frustrated, bored, or even simply moving on to something else, even if you were initially interested in the topic. When it’s done well the editing is completely invisible. You find yourself at the end, wondering where the last five minutes went.

I guess that’s what makes the videos work so well for me. CGP Grey is the Half Life 2 of YouTube. Maybe the visuals are dated and maybe the same things have been said and done better elsewhere, but it’s got really exceptional flow that makes it a joy to go through.

Viewing Suggestion: The whole channel! But if you want a place to start, I suppose Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever is a good way to spend the next four minutes and twenty seconds.

Honorable mentions

I really love Vihart, DJStevePorter, Bad Lip Reading, and Every Frame a Painting, but they have either gone dark or they update so rarely that it’s not worth recommending them as a source of new content.

Loading Ready Run is an interesting case. They produce a lot of content. I’m into about ¼ of it. I love their skits and Checkpoint. On the other hand, I’m not into their videogame or cardgame stuff. If YouTube had a way for a “channel” to organize its videos into “shows” – you know, like Old Media has been doing for about 90 years – then I could just subscribe to the shows I like. Instead I have to subscribe to the whole channel, which gives me a deluge of unwanted content in my feed. Because of the way stupid YouTube handles this, it means LRR will always show the “new content” icon. Which makes the icon useless. Which means I might as well unsubscribe and just manually check in on the channel every few days. Which means I forget to do so. Which means when I finally come back, I’ve got tons of videos to sort through. Everybody loses.

From LRR’s perspective, the only way to solve this would be to make a new channel for each show. But then each show would have to work to build its own audience from scratch and LRR shows would need to do cross-promotion.

Basically, YouTube is strangely lacking in what I would consider to be very basic features. Like Steam, they’re a market hegemon. Also like Steam, it’s really frustrating when a new competitor shows up and fails because they don’t know what customers need or want.

At this point I’d ask for more suggestions, but people have sort of been doing that throughout this series. So instead let me ask this: What now-dead channel would you love to see revived?


[1] Some of MovieBob’s work actually counteracts the “angry schtick” by doing long-form analysis of movies he really likes.

Comments (98)

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is slightly off topic.Ive just read your twitter comment about LGR,and:

    But… why? What could possibly be wrong with these? This isn’t even YouTube GREED, because it doesn’t make them money. It’s just strange.

    Because youtube is a great product littered with shitty policies.And sadly,all the sites with better policies are lagging behind it in quality.Its the steam of online video.

    • MichaelGC says:

      They seem to be on a giant demonetisation run of videogame, er, videos. Not sure if the same applies to other categories. I wonder if a big advertiser has been throwing its weight around?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        The weirdest demonetization thing I saw was when Philip DeFranco had his stuff demonetized for graphic content because he dared to show pictures that cnn and other news agency plastered all over their shows.Because,you know,advertisers dont like violence and they would never sponsor cnn.

        Its all just stupid.

        • Thomas says:

          Different advertiser’s would run sponsors over CNN than other shows.

          Advertising for the internet is a lot harder than TV, and most importantly, advertisers have to rely on Google a lot more to tell them how well their adverts are doing. Google say how many views a video gets, how many of them are real, how many of them are going in front of the right sort of content, how many get skipped, when they get skipped, etc

          In TV there’s a lot of independent research to confirm a lot of this stuff. With YouTube it’s all Google and no-one has the power to seeing Google is wrong.

          And then there’s a lot people don’t know like -do people actually watch adverts even if they run? I often tab out. Research shows TV advertising works, it’s more murkier on the internet.

          If Google didn’t start filtering adverts much harder advertiser’s were going to give up on YouTube. Google lost pretty much every big company in the UK within the same month because newspapers were running stories on ads going in front of ISIS videos. Google had to overcompensate to bring them back on board.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Advertising for the internet is a lot harder than TV

            Actually its easier.Because you are advertising directly to someone who might be interested in your product,instead of casting a wide net.But its a new thing that people have no idea how it works,so they are panicking.And google is overreacting because thats easier than trying to educate them.

            • Thomas says:

              Whether or not the advertised concerns are well-founded, they are real.

              Your comment actually highlights yet another one of their fears. Is targeted advertising actually effective? How often are they advertising to an audience who is already sold on their product? How much do you target? This came up a bunch in the political spheres for US and UK marketing. Maybe it’s super effective, maybe you miss out on opportunities

              • Thomas says:

                ^Forget this response it’s nonsense (although it is true some people questioned the effectiveness of targeted advertising during the elections and others thought it was amazing).

                The issue is _google_ would have to do the teaching. Google who receive the money and who try to convince them to advertise using Google’s methods which are judged with Google’s metrics. Advetisers have had years knowing what a TV ad is worth, but they felt like all the pull was from Google and they had little power themselves. In TV advertisers are used to pushing

                With the ISIS stuff, it’s not just that advertising in front of ISIS actively damages your brand when people find out (but it was a lot of that) that was an ad they paid for and Google told them was being shown to their audience.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But the problem here is not what is being watched,but who is watching.Does coke really care if an isis supporter is their customer?If their NuKoke is being presented in front of an isis video,its more likely there because the watcher did something on google that made their algorithm believe they would be interested in such a thing.

                  Its not a perfect system yet,that is true,mostly because not everyone has an account to be mined.And google has a big stake in it.But,no one has to believe google if the system works the way it is now.They can just ask amazon for their data and see how successful targeting ads are.Or netflix.Or facebook.Or anyone else who does such a thing.

                  • Richard says:

                    Brands absolutely do care about who they’re seen with.

                    The whole point of a brand is to carefully cultivate an appearance that they believe will sell their goods.

                    So Coke try to associate themselves with Christmas, Santa, sports, and other wholesome family-friendly activites. And frankly, it’s worked quite well – “Holidays are coming”
                    (I bet many readers now have an earworm, whether they like it or not.)

                    Building up that association takes many years, and can be lost overnight – there are several examples of brands being destroyed by a CEO’s unguarded statement.
                    – Oddly I don’t rememeber many off-hand, this may be partly because the brands themselves no longer exist.

                    Losing a brand doesn’t always kill the company, but building a new one takes a very long time.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      So Coke try to associate themselves with Christmas, Santa, sports, and other wholesome family-friendly activites.

                      And I am yet to see them forbid an asocial christmas hater from buying their beverage.Yes brands care who advertises them,but they dont care who buys into those advertisements.

                  • Taellosse says:

                    But the problem here is not what is being watched,but who is watching.Does coke really care if an isis supporter is their customer?

                    No, not even a little bit. But they care a LOT if anyone KNOWS that ISIS supporters are among their customers, and if it looks like maybe they (Coke) was trying to target them on purpose. Because then they lose WAY more customers than they gain from ISIS. This is all a matter of optics and PR, and when it comes to that stuff, appearances matter much more than reality.

  2. Redingold says:

    Calling it dead might be a bit premature, but timtimfed, aka Michael Shanks hasn’t uploaded anything in 7 months. I’d love to see more from him.

  3. Ellery says:

    I would love to see Drakkenstrike’s Component Breakdown come back. These were a long running series of high quality boardgame overview videos. Jeremy Salinas is finally back with Man vs Meeple, but that is a different format of board game show, more like a talk show than anything.

  4. LadyTL says:

    I might bring up the problem with LRR content in one of their AskLRR things they do for Loading Ready Live. They are always looking for feedback on how do do things that reach more people more effectively. Graham has already moved his GVLOGs to it’s own channel so they might be open to doing exactly what you thought of.

    • kunedog says:

      Which means when I finally come back, I've got tons of videos to sort through. Everybody loses.

      It doesn’t help the subscription/notification problem, but if you click LRR’s playlist tab, they’ve done the sorting for you (unless by “sorting” Shamus means binge-watching the backlog, and not digging through to find the videos he likes). In fact, most channels seem to put in this effort already.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        It would really be helpful if you could just jump to the playlist page from the video of the creator,instead of having to first go to their channel,then to the playlist tab.

        The history button youtube has helps,but it has a huge problem of being at the bottom of the page AND youtube automatically loading more videos when you scroll down to the bottom of the page.Because of reasons.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    I don’t mind about faces, and almost prefer not to see them, unless the face is part of the content. Er, as it were – I mean folks doing particular expressions to put their point across, or comedically, etc.

    I guess if the face has always been there, that’s fine, as I’ll be used to that. But where I’m already used to faceless content a face-reveal can be a bit jarring, and I’d rather avoid it! At base, the reason is the same as for Shamus – whether or not accurate or justified, faces can hold a lot of meaning for us, and so can have a large impact. We just differ on subsequent approach – Shamus seeks out that further meaning; I’d rather avoid the extra info in case it gives me a mental clash.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    At any rate, I'm always surprised that MovieBob isn't a much bigger name

    The reason I stopped watching Bob,and the reason I saw many others stopped as well,is that he injects too much politics in his videos.Dont get me wrong,I dont mind politics videos,I watch a few of them,sometimes from those I disagree with as well,but I prefer having those be a separate thing.If I watch a movie review,I dont want to hear about the racism in america unless that movie is twelve years a slave or something like that.And Bob really went overboard with this a couple of years back.

    Also,his video game thing was not that good,and he has plenty of those as well.

    • Shamus says:

      That’s very true. It’s not just that he talks politics, it’s that he does so in the WORST way possible: By flailing at a childish strawman, for no reason, with petty insults. It’s about as jarring and random as this:

      “This movie is so bad it will make you forget REPUBLICANS ARE ALL HILLBILLIES / MIT ROMNEY! The cinematography has all the…”

      Ugh. If you’re on the right it’s instantly infuriating because he’s reducing you to an unfair stereotype. If you’re on the left it’s tedious, not insightful, not funny, and sort of embarrassing by association. Also, this gets him backlash, which he does not handle gracefully and which further feeds the cycle of insults and backlash.

      And yeah, MovieBob talking about videogames is like Michael Jordan playing baseball. He’s not terrible at it, but he’s not anywhere NEAR the best, and he’s already the best at his main thing. It’s not that I hate his videogame vids, it’s just I’m not interested in watching them and I wish we could get more “Big Picture” style stuff instead of those. (It seems I’m not alone in this. His videogame stuff gets about half the views of his movies / pop culture stuff.)

      • Thomas says:

        I found Jim Sterling and Bob controversial enough to give them a break when leaving the Escapist. I ended up going back to Jim when I was a bit older and cooled down. I still found Bob too risible for me and there’s a lot of movie people on YouTube.

        • No One says:

          I’ll second this. Sterling’s persona on Destructoid and his “Jimquisition” vids was pretty much kryptonite to me, but I really enjoy his more low key material such as the “jimpressions” vids. MovieBob’s comic history explanation vids and movie reviews on the Escapist were favorites, but the politics worm bored its way in and ruined the whole thing.

      • Christopher says:

        I’ll just second this. Big Picture were my favorite videos of his. I still occasionally go to him for video reviews, and I feel like his recent ones have been good about his way of handling politics, but there was a period of a few years when every video of his I watched was the example you give. The only time I specificaly went out to watch one of his videos in that period was if I felt I wasn’t riled up enough that day. Dude is just awful at talking about that stuff. I’m not the biggest fan of politics talk in the first place, but there are people who can talk about it in ways that aren’t anywhere near as grating as what Bob does. Austin Walker over at Waypoint for instance is just a saint in comparison.

        I think his actually worst content is the… lore stuff? His framework? Where he has characters he plays. I think the preamble on Jimquisition videos is bad too, but that’s at least easily skippable because it’s like 40 seconds in every time.

      • John Law says:

        Agreed. I’m not against the idea of political commentary in reviews and the like. I think there’s nothing wrong with relating a work to the context of the climate in which it was made; art isn’t made in a vacuum after all.

        But the way Moviebob does it is so offputting and toxic. I’m nominally “on his side” on most issues, but all I see when he goes that route is impotent anger and a lack of empathy. I’d say FilmCritHulk is a much better example of the type of criticism Bob goes for in terms of combining GenX pop-cultural commentary with classic film school critique. The format is different (FilmCrit almost exclusively does long essays) but deals with similar topics and has similar political views without the massive chip on his shoulder.

      • Parkhorse says:

        “If you're on the right it's instantly infuriating because he's reducing you to an unfair stereotype.”

        I’ll go further, as someone generally on the right. It comes off as “okay, I get it, you don’t want me to watch your videos.” Well, message received – I stopped watching his videos. They actually were pretty good otherwise, but a presenter only has to make it clear so many times that he doesn’t want me to be part of his audience – eventually, I’ll take the hint.

      • Steve C says:

        If you're on the right it's instantly infuriating because he's reducing you to an unfair stereotype. If you're on the left it's tedious,

        And if you are not American, it is irrelevant background noise.

        • ehlijen says:

          I’m not sure about irrelevant. American media has been dominating much of the world’s leisure time for close to a century now, and the internet is happily eroding some of the remaining cultural barriers.

          It’s entirely possible nothing like that affects a given specific person, but the line is not as clear cut as national borders are on maps.

          • Niriel says:

            I’m French and have been living in the Netherlands for ten years. Still I actually know way more about US and UK politics, because English is pretty much the only language I use. I don’t seek it actively but I don’t mind learning about it. I do follow the Dutch news on TV, but as far as I know France might not even be connected to the Internet. Does anyone here know any interesting French YouTube channels?

      • evileeyore says:

        “Ugh. If you're on the right it's instantly infuriating because he's reducing you to an unfair stereotype.”

        Actually I quite MovieBob because I’m on the left and got tired of hearing how my political views were terrible evil republican/right bs. MovieBob isn’t “Jordan doing baseball” because at least Jordan understood baseball.

        Bob didn’t understand the politics he was spouting off on.

    • Jenx says:

      To quote one of the people I linked in the first article, Razorfist:

      What can you say about Bob Chipman that isn’t preceeded by the phrase “I can’t believe I actually used to watch.”?

      And yeah – that about sums up my take on the guy. I used to watch his stuff on the Escapist, and while I generally didn’t agree with him almost any time he’d bring up politics, I still didn’t mind it. It’s the dude’s show, he can say what he wants.

      Then later on I watched his stuff on YouTube and Jesus he is genuinely unwatchable to me these days. Which is annoying, because his Really That Good series of videos are actually damn impressive (and I also wish he’d do more of them), but the rest of his content is just off-putting.

    • Destrustor says:

      I never cared much for the movie stuff, so I was only ever interested in his game overthinker series.
      His little intro/outro skits became increasingly cringey and embarrassing to watch, to the point where I began preemptively skipping them entirely, and getting annoyed at how they seemed to be taking up more and more video real estate.
      When he started adding little snippets of these every few minutes and putting bigger sections in the middle of videos, I decided it wasn’t worth it and stopped watching him.

    • Angelo says:

      In the only two videos of him I ever watched he did that while defending Metroid: Other M and neo-Simpsons.
      He’s dead to me. There is no coming back from that.

    • Gresman says:

      For me Bob is unwatchable as well by now.
      I liked his Game Overthinker bit and some of his Big Picture stuff. But his political inserts were mostly annoying to me.

      As someone else said. His position was surplanted in my viewing habits by Jim Sterling. Or at least his gaming/nerd culture related side.

      For his movie reviews I was not able to find a proper replacement.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What now-dead channel would you love to see revived?

    Theres this great guy,MrBtongue,who talks awesome stuff about video games.But he hasnt made a new video in months.I hear he is doing some sort of writing for some blog or something like that.I wish he made some new video content.

    Also,there was this channel called reset button made by some dude called….Shame Old,or something like that.Id like to see that thing come back to life.

    • Echo Tango says:

      We just need to raise enough money to clone Shamus so he can make more videos…

    • SKD says:

      No, I’m pretty sure his name was ShamWe.

      Now make us some more videos Shamus. I miss you on Spoiler Warning but I’m not going to push that since when a team loses its chemistry it can only mean bad things for their product. But I would love to see more of your Reset Button series. Or even the occasional foray into videogame review, criticism or deconstruction if you feel like dipping your toe in.

      Have good day all. :)

    • Droid says:

      “Theres this great guy,MrBtongue,who talks awesome stuff about video games.But he hasnt made a new video in months.I hear he is doing some sort of writing for some blog or something like that.I wish he made some new video content.”

      You did it! It’s a meme now! I hope you’re proud of yourself.

      • Mousazz says:

        I, personally, would feel a mixture of both pride and shame. While it’s nice knowing you’re starting a wide trend, “I said something mildly funny but extremely catchy that will blow up WAY out of proportion and be repeated a long time after it stops being funny until it annoys everyone to no end” isn’t really an action worthy of praise.

        Then again, it’s not really a meme until it spreads beyond TwentySided (and not an in-joke until it’s repeated 2 more times at least). Thank goodness.

        • Droid says:

          They mentioned it once in the first and the second Timely GoT Griping articles, respectively. Then Shamus (who should count double, because more people read articles than comments) and Daemian again.

          That’s worth at least 5 passing comments.

  8. krellen says:

    You promised to talk about the TV show you still try to keep up with. Is that next week?

    • Shamus says:


      This entire series kind of got away from me in terms of length. These Sunday posts are SUPPOSED to be short, low-effort things. But the tale grew in the telling, as it were.

      If brevity is the soul of wit, then I am screwed.

      • Droid says:

        “According to an anecdote published in 1918 Woodrow Wilson was asked about the amount of time he spent preparing speeches, and his response was illuminating:

        ‘That depends on the length of the speech,’ answered the President. ‘If it is a ten-minute speech it takes me all of two weeks to prepare it; if it is a half-hour speech it takes me a week; if I can talk as long as I want to it requires no preparation at all. I am ready now.'”

        A few more quotes with a similar theme can be found here.

        So at least you’re in good company.

  9. Grimwear says:

    I stopped watching Bob when he left The Escapist. Too much politics for my tastes when I’m just looking for entertainment. If I could get a channel brought back it would probably be Belated Media. He made his big debut with his “What If Star Wars Episode 1 Was Good?” video and he proceeded to do the entire trilogy where instead of a critique or re-imagining he just takes George Lucas’ initial draft and tweaks it and makes changes to make a more coherent story. Now he just does short reviews if anything but I’d love it if he could find another small project like that one.

    As for LRR I’ve been watching them for decades but now they’re mostly just my filler that I put on in the background. I follow both their main channels where LRR is their main and LoadingReadyLive is their twitch streams. They’ve made a huge shift to streaming and I guess it’s working out for them but I don’t watch any streams so I end up putting them on in the background and it’s not the greatest. (It used to be the diecast but alas.) I’m not sure how I feel about streaming for them since going from their sketches it just seems (my opinion here) lazy, or maybe easy? They used to come up with ideas and do a weekly sketch and while they still do some videos like their commodore hustle and Friday Night’s they ALSO just throw 40+ hours a week of streams up on the site and just leave it. Having a large team like them doing constant streams really makes me appreciate the edited and structured form of their previous work.

    • Fizban says:

      The Crapshots basically took the place of the old sketches. Shorter, but then a lot of sketches were stretching to fill time, and I think there’s usually 2-3 Crapshots per week. Some ideas are revisited enough times that if you watched them all together you’d have one or more of the old sketches. It has been noted that they’re essentially spending as much time on Crapshots as they did on sketches before, but with more flexibility (and sure, views too). Cutting down on streaming wouldn’t let them do significantly more sketches.

      Feed Dump and Checkpoint are reactionary but still edited takes. There’s also LoadingReadyLive the show-which is posted on the main LoadingReadyRun youtube since it’s a specific thing: an hour-ish long variety show streamed live, but like a variety show a mix of live, pre-recorded, and talking bits.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So no talk about stuff thats technically not on youtube?Because I see a notable absence of SF Debris,the show about star trek and anime.

  11. John says:

    Shamus, LRR organizes at least some of its content in the form of playlists. I note that they have a Checkpoint playlist, for example. While YouTube won’t let you subscribe to a playlist, you can add that playlist to your library. This doesn’t entirely solve the “have to check things manually” problem, but I’ve noticed that new content in my library playlists has a tendency to show up near or at the top of the suggested videos list whenever I start YouTube.

    This is how I deal with Smosh’s “Honest Game Trailers” series. I’m not interested in anything else that Smosh does, so I don’t want to subscribe to the channel. But Smosh has a playlist for Honest Game Trailers. I added the playlist to my library, mostly so I could find it again easily should the mood strike me, and have been pleasantly surprised by the results. The thing I like best is that YouTube has never once suggested any other kind of Smosh video to me. (That’s good because to be perfectly honest the other videos all look kind of dumb.)

    • Fizban says:

      You can also just bookmark the playlist. Weather or not the playlist gets updated properly is more up in the air, apparently there’s some sort of automatic system that goes on the fritz so sometimes a playlist will be out of date until the uploader fixes it manually.

  12. Da Mage says:

    I know you mention youtube, but have you ever been into any of LRR streaming stuff? If so, which of their ‘shows’ do you find interesting to watch?

    • bubba0077 says:

      Since Shamus is only interested in a few bits and the majority of the streaming is gaming, I would assume that isn’t the ideal way for him to consume their content. You don’t really gain much from watching Checkpoint or LRL live on the stream unless you are interacting with chat. (Not to knock that last bit, but it does make consuming less convenient.)

      Personally I’m in the same boat*. I sub the main YT channel, then skip over TapTapConcede, Sidewalk Slam, and Paul Quest as they appear.

      * Although some of that is I just don’t have the bandwidth to watch streams, I have trouble enough just keeping up with my YouTube. I would probably watch Tinker Tail Solder Fry or AFK otherwise.

  13. skeeto says:

    I’ve never used YouTube’s subscription mechanism, instead preferring the Atom feeds. It’s a whole lot more reliable “” from what I understand you have to subscribe and ring a bell, and it’s still spotty. It also gives me better control, especially since I’ve got youtube-dl hooked up to my feed reader, to download videos as if they were podcasts. Even more, playlists Atom subscriptions are first-class and no different than subscribing to a channel. The only problem is that you’re at the mercy of the channel maintainer to put the video in the playlist in a timely manner.

    It’s a little tricky to find YouTube’s Atom feeds on your own, and they’ve changed without notice a couple of times over the years. If it’s an older channel (pre Google+ integration) that actually has name rather than a long, random ID, here’s their feed:


    If they’re a newer channel, then they’re just a random ID. The channel name is cosmetic and useless in the API. (I hate this since it makes their channel URLs meaningless.) Here’s how to subscribe:


    Finally, if it’s a playlist, all you need is the playlist ID:


    I currently subscribe to 34 active YouTube channels using these feeds.

  14. JDMM says:

    Of the three channels I have subscribed to you haven’t listed (not counting channels that aren’t youtube specific)
    Noah Caldwell-Gervais

    The first two do video game analysis, mainly of series with Matthew seeming to focus more on the gameplay whereas Noah focuses more on a thematic element, I’m not sure I’d reccomend them though, they’re a bit more slower paced than what you’ve listed here and with Noah it’s more of visuals to distract than visuals to enhance the experience

    The third is a primarily animation based youtuber with forays into video games and films sometimes, he can go deeper however it’s intermixed with recommendations and he seems to ‘play’ a lot more in his videos, his breakdown of how horror can work well with a comic as exemplified by Junji Ito though is quite interesting and probably enjoyable on it’s own

    In terms of youtubers I’d want to come out of the dark? Ross Scott and MrBTongue are people I’d like to post more content in terms of analysis however both don’t really strike me as people who naturally make that content so you know

    I’d default to EveryFrameAPainting, the man is a professional editor, a dive deep down into something like how they think of fridge logic would be easy to him and likely fascinating to the rest of us

  15. bubba0077 says:

    Shamus, based on your list, here are some others that you (and others) might like that I subscribe to. Some [Most] of these feel like I’m pointing out “hey, here’s this channel everyone already knows about”, given their 7-digit follower counts, but you never know what might be new to someone.

    * “Movies with Mikey [Neumann]” on Chainsawsuit Original channel
    * Glove and Boots (sketch comedy, by puppets!) – I recommend “10 Reasons Why Time Travel is No Good”, “Airplane Etiquette”, and “The History of Television” for a start.
    * Computerphile (sister channel to Numberphile)
    * Extra Credits (which I’m surprised isn’t on the list)
    * Kurzgesagt
    * The Film Theorists, but for you, specifically the “Frame by Frame” series (there is a playlist)
    * Minute Physics & Minute Earth
    * It’s Okay to be Smart
    * ASAP Science
    * VSauce
    * Some parts of the Nerdfighteria: SciShow and its spin-offs, Crash Course, and PBS Eons
    * And as mentioned above, sfdebris although (a) he is no longer on YT (b) he’s a little snarkier

    Didn’t include links to avoid being flagged for spam, but I can add on request.

    • Shamus says:

      Chuck left YT?

      When I first discovered him he was on some off-brand site. (Blip?) Then he moved to YT. Did YT drive him away with takedown notices? Where is he now?

      EDIT: I just looked it up. He’s on VidMe. Crap. I don’t think VidMe is a long-term solution. Barring a change in fortune, I expect it will be insolvent soon.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Technically,he only did announcements on youtube,while still having videos on other,creator friendlier places.

        Its better to follow him on his own site:

        Even when he changes the video provider,that site will host them all.

      • Thomas says:

        I bet his income source is through his site, not VidMe I think he went through a bunch of hosts before settling on VidMe. When they go bust he’ll move again (as long as people are ready to waste money trying to dethrone YouTube)

        • ehlijen says:

          Indeed. I believe in his system patrons sponsor him directly to do specific episodes, shows or movies. At least, that’s what I figure since every review he does appears to be dedicated to 1-3 names.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            He had so many requests that for a while he didnt take any new ones.His patronage is strong,so Chuck has the luxury of switching video sites,which is a good thing.Though it usually takes a few days for everything to change places.

    • kdansky says:

      I had all but one channel of Shamus in my list too, so here’s a few more in the same vein.

      * Ahoy – history lessons
      * HBomberguy – comedy + commentary
      * Keith Burgun – actual theory
      * Matthewmatosis – long form reviews
      * Joseph Anderson – very long form reviews

      All about gaming.

      The reason Extra Credits is not on the list is because it’s just not very good.

  16. Ardis Meade says:

    Grey does stream. He has a twitch channel and let’s play channel on Youtube, CGP Play.

  17. Dreadjaws says:

    I’m confused here, you’re obviously familiar with LGR, since you’ve mentioned him several times, but I don’t see him on your list. He posts regularly, he makes very interesting content that’s right up your alley and he’s an all-around cool guy.

    How come he isn’t here?

  18. Amstrad says:

    In the spirit of this series I’m going to share my regular Youtube go-to people.
    In no particular order.

    * Binging with Babish – A guy wot reproduces food from TV/Movies/Etc
    * Lindybeige – A guy wot talks about warfare throughout the ages (classical, medieval, the WWs) plus a bunch of other stuff
    * Forgotten Weapons – A guy wot shows off a whole lot of obscure or interesting firearms
    * Ashens – A guy wot reviews pound shop (dollar store) tat (junk), eats out of date food, and reviews shoddy (crap) electronics, also blind bags and monthly boxes and video game stuff
    * Motor Trend Channel – Primarily I watch Roadkill on here as they’re actual guys doing actual wrenching on barely held together cars, also occasionally HOT ROD Garage
    * Glove and Boots – Mentioned in another reply here, puppets do stuff, recently have started streaming video games
    * Tested – Geek/Nerd stuff with a big focus on Makers, especially when Adam Savage of Mythbusters came on board
    * The Modern Rogue – Two guys try out stuff like ‘Can we makes knives out of melted styrofoam’ or ‘Can we duplicate your house key from a photo’
    * AWE Me – Specifically the Man at Arms: Reforged videos which involve a team of people forging functional video game/movie/etc swords/knives/etc
    * Lazy Game Reviews – AKA: LGR a guy wot reviews older games, a lot of nostalgia stuff here

    I think that’s the bulk of it.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Lindybeige is a favorite of mine as well. He often has a lovely alloy of reasonable and unconventional opinions on controversial topics.

    • Dreadjaws says:

      “* Ashens ““ A guy wot reviews pound shop (dollar store) tat (junk), eats out of date food, and reviews shoddy (crap) electronics, also blind bags and monthly boxes and video game stuff”

      And don’t forget he burns the figures he reviews and considers bad quality. That’s important.

    • Rob says:

      Yay for Ashens and his terrifying food reviews! Also random things like the “talking mccauley culkin doll” review. Scary stuff.

      Ditto also the like for Motor Trend roadkill, which I find falls foul of Shamus’ complaint: I get notified about all 6(?) Motor Trend shows, but only like that one.

      My other fave channels are seemingly all build/take-apart themed:

      * Cody’sLab. Science experiments and thoughts from a young guy in rural Utah. Even the setting is eye opening for me – his family have to haul water to their farm from miles away; totally isolated. I like the occasional “go dig the mine” episodes for something different.

      * Techmoan. English chap who does fantastically well produced reviews of audio and video gear. Like wire-recorders from the 50s, and RCA video vinyl, through to bluray re-cuts Vs VHS originals. Repairs curious equipment.

      * Mighty car mods. Australians working on home car projects, and the occasional grander sponsored episode like the Mad Max apocalypse car. Zany Aussie humour (not for everyone) makes it different. Turbo Yoda – need I say more?

      * Colin Furze. Mad British chap, building jet engines, 100mph dodgems, bunker in the back yard…

      * AvE (mentioned by No One below). Canadian engineer playing in the machine shop. Oddball humour, with a “when men were men” bent to it. Honestly, not suitable for everyone, but a lot of interesting insights make it worthwhile.

      * Jay Foreman. British comedian, doing videos explaining UK politics, and various history of London / maps things.

      I realise now that I seem to watch a lot of similar stuff. Think I should put more effort into avoiding the internet echo chamber!

  19. silver Harloe says:

    Tpyo patrok: ” the next for minutes and twenty seconds. ”
    Probably meant ‘four’ there, unless you were intentionally trying to throw off pot related internet searches.

  20. No One says:

    I’ve actually started watching a fair amount of non gaming/geek oriented content over the last year or so. Skilled trade oriented vids are kind of my current jam, stuff on machining, repair/restoration, welding, black smithing, etc.

    Keith Rucker’s vids on restoring old machine tool, steam locomotive parts, and general demonstrations of fabricating using metal working tools are great.

    Essential Craftsman, An experienced contractor from Oregon shares all sorts of interesting tips, tricks and lessons on craftsmanship. Really well produced and edited. Currently has a series going on all the steps in the process of building a house, starting from buying a plot of land on up.

    Steven Lavimoniere. He’s a plumber / A/C / Heat technician in Mass. He posts vids of almost all of his jobs and his adorable rat terrier. Caution: His Mass accent is STRONG.

  21. Thomas says:

    Having seen the whole list now, Smarter Every Day is definitely my favourite knowledge YouTuber.

    He combines real insight and learning with an engineer’s mindset and throws in slowmo footage to boot. I love how a video of him using his kids to triangulate a lost drone through sound (which incidentally involved a gun and a 5s of footage of proper gun safety discipline which is great to leave in), turned into a video about how our ears locate sound to him demonstrating an experiment where if you change the shape of someone’s ear they can no longer tell if a sound is in front or behind them.

    His philosophy on life is just great too. All about learning and understanding and trying not to become segmented to one side. He’s a gun wielding rural southern Christian but his videos never feel political because he cares about the process of being open and learning so darn much.

    Edit: He also has another channel where he records directional audio of places around the world so that you can experience them aurally with headphones in.

  22. Paul Spooner says:

    I have the same difficulty with LRR, where I would subscribe, but then their content swamps everything else, and I don’t want to watch all of their content anyway.

    If you’re interested in building-neat-stuff channels, I recommend Cody’sLab, SV Seeker, and Matthias Wandel

    And of course, Jonathan Blow for good old fashioned well-justified performance-oriented programming snobbery.

  23. WWWebb says:

    Content that I wish was still updating: Anglophenia British ladies explain English things for Americans. There are about 40ish videos, and I think they just ran out of things to say.

    Gaming channel I appreciate the most: Andy Gilleand
    He makes “movie cuts” of popular, cinematic games. I’ll never play Uncharted because I don’t have a Playstation, but I can watch the 2-3 hour movie cut and understand the appeal. He does a great job editing. It’s not just a collection of cutscenes because in good games the plot happens in gameplay, but he skips most of the boring parts that make Lets Plays so tedious. If you ever wanted to know what happened in a game, but don’t want to play through it yourself, watch Andy’s movie version.

    And finally, I’ll put in a plug for Crash Course. Well researched, written, and professionally produced, it’s basically every introductory course you would ever want to take: literature, history, philosophy, science, mythology, computer science, and many more. My kids’ teachers will occasionally use their videos in class. Hundreds of videos for binging.

  24. Adeon says:

    I’m in a similar situation with LRR. I enjoy some of their content but not all of it. In my case though I do keep them as a subscription because they produce a lot of longer content (TapTapConcede and LoadingReadyLive in particular) which I often use as background noise when I’m working because even though I’m not super interested in the content I find their voices relaxing as background noise.

  25. Philadelphus says:

    For those who like Loading Ready Run’s skits, I’d suggest maybe checking out Door Monster. They’re pretty regular at putting out a skit a week on Mondays (followed by a video responding to community comments from the previous video on Fridays) for the past few years, with great editing and acting and special effects where appropriate and absolute mastery of comedic timing. They do a wide range of subjects, ranging from original content with silly or surreal premises and characters to spoofs of various games and movies or TV shows that they like, but all in a spirit of gently poking fun at the various tropes involved rather than ever feeling mean-spirited.

  26. Liam O'Hagan says:

    I’ll add in The Engineer Guy, an engineer (funnily enough) who describes the sometimes complex engineering behind sometimes common everyday objects.

    I say sometimes because he also did a series on the mechanical computer that can do FFT and iFFT!

  27. Rymdsmurfen says:

    No VSauce? I expected that at top 5.

  28. Gresman says:

    I can not resist to recommend a few channels. Some have been already mentioned in the comments but here goes nothing.
    Lazy Game Reviews: He does nostalgic stuff but his Food channel is awesome as well
    TotalBiscuit: He does a lot of first impressions but I enjoy him more for his editorials. Really longform stuff. Podcast is worth listening to as well
    Noah Caldwell Gervais: Really longform videogame analysis similar to Joseph Anderson
    Extra credits: Pretentious game culture talk and history talk on saturdays :)
    The Great War: Play by Play of the first world war with a lot of extra information
    The Dom: Great comparisons of books to the movie adaptations
    Larry Bundy Jr: Weitd background information about the gaming industry
    History Respawned: Talking about the historical accuracy of games
    Matthewmatosis: Even more long form video game essays
    Ahoy: Videos related to video games
    Lindsey Ellis: Semi pretentious movie analysis
    Gaming Symposium: Really pretentious game analysis. This channel might be somewhat on life support. :)

    I left out a lot of german channels and channels which I do not watch as regularily as these.
    The list feels somewhat pretentious and long formish. Hmmmm.

    Will there be a column about suggested channels or channel you forgot about?

    • Droid says:

      I really tried watching videos from TotalBiscuit, but in his long-form talks, he always seems to presume the audience already knows what he is talking about, making them totally useless for someone who got there to inform themselves about the topic. They even seem like they are consciously cryptic, as if he wanted to cover his ass for talking up against other people when all over the internet, everyone flings crap at everyone else and he’s mild in comparison to what other people get away with.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        he always seems to presume the audience already knows what he is talking about

        Doesnt he always have a “If you dont know what Im talking about,heres a summary” after the intro?And in his recent videos,he even has timestamps of what he is talking about at what point in the video so that you can easily jump to what is most relevant for you.

        • Droid says:

          Well, maybe he improved in later videos. The ones I watched were all like this: *either some game he plays in the background or black screen* “I made this video as a reaction to people who don’t make it clear that they were receiving benefits from the company they are discussing. As you sure all remember, there was this uproar last week [that I’m not going to explicitly mention, link to in the description or otherwise point to for your convenience] …”.

          • Gresman says:

            Yeah sometimes he can be cryptic. But usually he links to articles of relevance. But I might be mistaken. More often then not I see such occasions as jumping off points for general discussions which might be worth having.

            The mildness you mentioned is something that attracts me as I am not really in the mood for all this aggressive mudslinging.

            For such a reason I stopped watching Angry Joe. A lot of his content was baseless raging, screaming and stream clips. His reviews were still cool. But most of the content were clips from his streams which were just meh at best.

  29. Pentecontaetia says:

    Something a little different:

    Miracle of Sound makes a lot of videogame related music, and he seems to hit just the right mood for every game (at least the ones I’ve played, and the ones other people assure me are just as good).

    Some Batman/Dark Souls/The Witcher themed songs: Playlist. Also, For Honor, because why not?

  30. stratigo says:

    Grey bothers me somewhat.

    He says a lot of things, not all the things he says are smart, but he says them in a way that sounds smart, so people just go along with it anyways.

  31. So obviously if two of my favorite people get together and talk for two hours every week that must be something I really love, right?

    every week

    Ok, yeah, it is quite clear you have never listened to HI!

  32. Khazidhea says:

    Lists! On the internet! here’s mine (each category roughly ordered by how quick I am to watch their videos once posted)

    Music (mostly violin):
    Lindsey Stirling
    Taylor Davis
    The Hound + The Fox

    pennyarcadeTV: Their d&d campaign Acquisitions Incorporated: The C Team
    Sanctuary International Matrix: The Pastor Bob series, 5 minute daily videos from a pastor in the metal music scene

    Board games:
    Shut Up & Sit Down: reviews
    Rahdo Runs Through: playthroughs
    Geek & Sundry: TableTop (also their Escape! room series, and the roleplaying series Titansgrave)

    How It Should Have Ended
    Screen Junkies: Honest Trailers
    Geek.com: MovieBob (his movie reviews are fine, even though his tastes largely don’t overlap with mine. But his schtick is wearing increasingly thin)

    Let’s plays and video games:
    Extra Credits (and Extra History)
    Previously Recorded: Game reviews from the RLM crew
    Errant Signal
    Super Best Friends, TFS Gaming

  33. Disc says:

    My Youtube watching has been in a bit of a decline for the past year for IRL reasons and as a result I just kind of forgot to keep up with the channels I’ve been watching. Nothing wrong with the content, it’s just that I haven’t been able to find the time and energy to keep up with them. I do still check some of the channels every now and then, but I find it hard to get back into regular watching.

    If not for my brother introducing me to the “If the Emperor had a Text-To-Speech Device” series back in spring, I think I might have just stopped watching Youtube for most parts. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve actually binged on a YT series and actually look forward to the new episodes.

  34. baud says:

    Every Frame a Painting is definitely dead, you can read the authors’ postmortem there:


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