2015 has just begun, but not without a final opportunity for me to pay my annual tribute to 5 extraordinary web series that brought viewers plenty of laughs, drama, chills and thrills within the past year. In 2014, these 5 shows exemplified the very best in web series production, and demonstrated the continued growth of episodic content produced for online viewing.

From writing, to acting, to all aspects of production, so many shows and performances have helped make the past year’s crop of new and returning web series a truly memorable one. With countless scripted and non-scripted content out there, though, it’s become harder to pin down a select few that stand out among the rest.

It’s a task that I tried to accomplish with last year’s “top 5” list, and it’s one that I hope to accomplish with this latest roster of the shows that have made an incredible impression with me over the past 12 months…in my opinion, of course. Without further ado, here are my picks (in no particular order) for the top 5 web series of 2014:


One of the most visually stunning, as well as one of the most superbly acted and written action/adventure series to come out of 2014 is GIFTED CORPORATION.

Co-created by Oliver Mend and series co-star Rose of Dolls, GIFTED CORPORATION’s 7 episode first season brought viewers the story of a band of distinctively different individuals whose incredible talents suddenly unite them in a race to stop a sly, yet vicious coin killer named Z (played by Valentino Vanzetti)  from taking more lives.

Among those out to stop him are police assessor Hugo Osorio Silva (Asier Moreno) and New York cop Sean Thornton (played by Jaime Lopez). Unbeknownst to Sean, he’s been one of a select few that have been blessed with incredible powers (or ‘gifted’). Those people combine their phenomenal abilities to save all of humanity from Z’s path of destruction.

GIFTED CORPORATION was truly a web series project unlike any I’ve seen, mainly due to its epic scale of production. Filmed on location in Spain, the series utilized a multi-national cast, and production team hailing from 11 countries.

Even more impressive was the fact that the show’s creators managed to successfully replicate an American setting inside a foreign country (Spain).

However, the real effectiveness of GIFTED CORPORATION lies in its story and characters. Each episode is filled with compelling action, suspense and drama. Having watched all 7 episodes, I had a genuine interest in just who these ‘gifted’ individuals were. The powerful performances by the show’s talented ensemble cast, plus the great writing, direction, cinematography and visual effects, made quite an impression on me.

Vanzetti’s terrifying performance as GIFTED’s malevolent villain also proved to be a standout, further adding to the effectiveness of the show itself. The season finale brought GIFTED CORPORATION’s first season to a stunning conclusion, leaving me even more curious as to what adventures that group will embark on for season 2.

To watch all 7 episodes, visit: www.youtube.com/GiftedCorporation


Hollywood has always been a tough place for any actor, writer or filmmaker to succeed. Unfortunately, it’s been, and continues to be, an even more difficult atmosphere for African-Americans and other minorities to break through in.

Worse yet, many of those actors find themselves stuck doing roles that only end up reinforcing the worst kinds of stereotypes throughout the industry.

Such experiences are hilariously spoofed in season 2 of UNITED COLORS OF AMANI, created by and starring Amani Starnes as Amani, a biracial actress from the Midwest whose goals of achieving stardom in Hollywood are made even harder by racial insensitivity from all facets of the entertainment industry.

Starnes combines smart, uproarious comedy with biting social commentary in all 5 episodes of the series’ second season. Each vignette, drawn from Starnes’ own personal experience as an actress/singer in Hollywood, parodies everything from uncomfortably awkward auditions, to being typecast in undesirable roles by casting directors who seem unwilling to take full advantage of an actor’s real talents and depth.

Watching the series, I was incredibly impressed not only by Starnes’ performance, but also by the great writing and production style on display throughout each episode.

In my original article for this site, Starnes told me that UNITED COLORS OF AMANI’s real effectiveness as a comedy lies in just how it portrays the uncomfortable reality of an industry that still tends to pigeonhole certain performers by what’s on the outside – as opposed to the talent they possess inside.

“…It’s a comedy, but it’s not necessarily gunning for jokes – it’s funny by virtue of the very uncomfortable truths it highlights. It’s written to make people think first, laugh second (or maybe never for people who don’t ‘get it’)”, Starnes said. That factor, combined with Starnes’ memorable performance, makes UNITED COLORS OF AMANI one of my favorites for 2014.

To watch both seasons of UNITED COLORS OF AMANI, visit: www.youtube.com/TheUCOA


Another comedy that launched its sophomore season in 2014 brilliantly depicted the continuing struggles of a Broadway actor in his attempts to conquer the silver screen; a quest compounded by drama-filled romantic relationships and the cutthroat nature of Hollywood itself.

IT COULD BE WORSE was part of my first “top 5” list back in 2013. Thanks to its superb cast, sharp comedic writing and top-level production quality, it makes a repeat appearance on 2014’s list, and deservedly so.

Having achieved critical acclaim and a broadcast platform via the Pivot cable network, plus streaming via Hulu and Hulu Plus, all 4 episodes of season 2 of IT COULD BE WORSE continued the journey of Jacob Gordon, played by series co-creator Wesley Taylor (best known for his work on NBC’s SMASH, plus on Broadway in THE ADDAMS FAMILY and ROCK OF AGES, among others.)

After surviving the rough and tumble world of the Great White Way, and working with the larger than life personality of Broadway diva Veronica Bailey (Alison Fraser), Jacob sets his sights on his next career target – the big screen. With his new love interest Ben (Adam Chanler-Berat) in tow, Jacob finds himself being cast alongside Hollywood headliner Joseph Vincintelli (played by Mark Engelhardt).

No sooner than he arrives in Hollywood, though, does Jacob encounter even more problems, both professionally and personally. From the arrival of Jacob’s morally conservative in-laws, to more drama in his romantic relationship, to the typical arrogance that’s often found in the industry, Jacob’s quest to become the next big movie star is one that’s filled with unpredictable and hilarious moments.

Along with cameo appearances by some of Broadway’s biggest stars, including Taylor’s SMASH co-stars Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty (WICKED), season 2 of IT COULD BE WORSE continued its trademark brand of dark humor, mixed with incredible performances by Taylor and its ensemble cast.

Taylor’s portrayal of a young actor who tries to remain calm amid the highly fickle nature of Hollywood, and the sometimes obnoxious people who surround him, is one of many highlights throughout both seasons of the show.

Other standouts in the series’ ensemble cast include series co-creator Mitchell Jarvis as Sam, Jacob’s irritating theatrical agent, plus Gideon Glick as Jacob’s seemingly unstable former love Phillip, and Paris Remillard as Ricky, a man who only serves to drive Jacob towards making some very bad choices.

Those performances, combined with a great script by Taylor and Jarvis that drew heavily on their own personal experiences as actors, lands season 2 of IT COULD BE WORSE on my top 5 list for 2014.

To watch both seasons of IT COULD BE WORSE, visit:



We all know dinosaurs did walk among us at one time, don’t we? Try proving that to Brian Majestic, who plays a brave, yet possibly delusional explorer out to prove that dinosaurs did not exist in the new comedy web series BRIAN MAJESTIC: DINOSAUR HUNTER.

Co-created by Majestic and longtime web series composer Rob Gokee (who wrote, directed and did the music for the show), each of the show’s 9 episodes (running 2-3 minutes on average) depict, in wacky and memorable fashion, the misadventures of a man who seeks to find definitive evidence that dinosaurs never did roam the earth.

Along with his loyal cameraman Karl (Ed Robinson, PAIRINGS, in a hilarious performance), Brin soon finds that his mission of disproving the existence of dinosaurs turns out to be a lot harder than he could have ever imagined. Joining Brian and Karl is Vianessa Castanos as Simone, a socialite whose sudden appearance makes their journey even more unpredictable.

As I watched BRIAN MAJESTIC: DINOSAUR HUNTER during a live Twitter chat with the show’s cast/creators, I was instantly impressed with the high production quality of each episode, including its cinematography and sound.

Rob Gokee’s powerful music added suspense and depth to the show, and the hysterical performances by Majestic, Robinson and Castanos made each episode incredibly effective. Even the brief run time (2-3 minutes), and the writing by Gokee and Robinson, enhanced the impact of the show’s 9 episodes. Already, season 2 is in development, and I can’t wait to see what sticky situations Majestic and his team find themselves in.

To watch all 9 episodes, visit:



Rounding out the top 5 is the teen paranormal thriller TWEET, which was one of the most entertaining and compelling new shows to debut this past year.

Produced by Marc Zatorsky and Shawn Morell Lewis (ORTHO AND HIS REMOTE), TWEET follows the life of a seemingly average teenager named Fallon Ward (impressively played by Taylor Blackwell, DOLPHIN TALE 2).

Fallon, who lives with her mom Nancy (Julie Upton), plus her grandfather, Nancy’s ex-Army father Woody (Rick Seguso), and her annoying little brother Jeremy (Zack Michael), exhibits a love of vintage collectibles. One day, while shopping at a local second-hand store, Fallon thinks she’s found a one-of-a-kind item: an old, broken iPhone.

Unfortunately for Fallon, the phone turns out to have a horrifying mind of its own as it sends her a series of ominous tweets; messages that make her increasingly fearful of future events. As a result, the frightening situation Fallon finds herself takes a tremendous toll not only on her, but her entire family and friends.

Blackwell’s portrayal of the show’s protagonist still sticks with me, even after viewing the show’s first season finale. As Fallon, Blackwell brings a strong sense of vulnerability, mixed with likability and humor through each episode of TWEET.

The depth she brings to the role makes hers one of the best performances I’ve seen by an actress in a web series in 2014.

The other members of the cast, including Seguso as Fallon’s highly structured grandpa Woody, plus Lucie Rhodes Evans and Cayla Brady as Fallon’s best friends (Lizzy and Jenna, respectively) and Michael as Fallon’s obnoxious little brother Jeremy, make each episode even more entertaining.

Perhaps the biggest thing that sets TWEET apart from other web series thrillers is that it’s a rare show that doesn’t resort to violence or gore in order to achieve its impact on viewers. Story and characters, above all else, is what makes TWEET worth watching.

Zatorsky and Lewis mix smart, compelling suspense with light-hearted humor in each episode, and it shows in every script. With an excellent ensemble cast, and great writing, TWEET is a web series that kids and families alike will enjoy in equal measure. With season 2 in pre-production, I look forward to continued success for TWEET. Who knows? Maybe TWEET, and possibly the other shows listed, could find themselves on the top 5 best list for 2015!

Happy New Year, and Happy Viewing!

To watch TWEET, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/SeeWorthyFilms2