With the advent of the internet, a whole new way to both create and enjoy media opened up to us. Webseries are amazing because anyone can makes shows now, not just people approved by various rich executives. The wealthy of creativity in sci-fi and fantasy webseries is a testament to what people can do even without corporate overlords. And while most fantasy web series have lower budgets than what you see on TV, they still manage to turn out great stories and some of them even have really impressive, believable visuals.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some sci-fi and fantasy web series that are well worth a look. What’s your favorite on the list? Do you have any favorites I wasn’t able to include? Talk about it in the comments!
Carmilla is a wonderful modern reimagining of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic vampire story of the same name. The series focuses on a girl named Laura who is attending Silas University in Austria. Her roommate goes missing one night with a mysterious note and gross fluids as the only thing that’s left behind. The school completely ignores her attempts to find out what’s going on and replaces her roommate with the moody Carmilla, who is very obviously and also obviously involved in whatever’s going on. As Laura digs deeper to discover the mystery behind the school, things get more complicated than she can ever imagine.
While Carmilla has a clearly low budget, it’s an well-told story with larger-than-life characters that offers a lot of supernatural fun. It’s been particularly popular with queer women for presenting well-rounded female characters and well-developed, interesting queer relationships
The original Carmilla novella started the “lesbian vampire” trend, but was obviously very rooted in Victorian attitudes towards sexuality- Carmilla’s flirtation with women was supposed to be a further sign of her being a predatory monster.
However, this webseries gives the idea the reinterpretation it deserves and uses the “queer vampire” concept in a positive, nuanced way. While it can occasionally verge into cheese territory, the series also bucks convention and smashes through supernatural romance clichés. Particularly in the second season, which has a good take on the “fall in love with a monster and make them not a monster anymore” idea and the huge mess that kind of thinking can cause. And while the series has romance, the characters main focus is generally fighting whatever new ridiculous monstrous evil their school throws at them.
The characters in the series are flawed, funny and messy. They grow and clash with and challenge each other. While the first season is a bit predictable, the second season really cranks it up, putting the heroes through the wringer and introducing big threats, complexities and villains who are kind of likable.
Carmilla has 2 completed 36-episode seasons with episodes usually running from three-to-seven minutes. There’s a 12 episode "season zero" prequel as well. It’s currently in the middle of its third season. Watch it here.
The webseries is definitely the most professional on our list, featuring big-name talent like Neal Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion. Created during the writer’s strike a few years ago, Dr. Horrible is the tale of a hapless supervillain (the titular doctor) who is trying to get into “The Evil League of Evil” and constantly getting beaten down by his brawny egotistical superhero nemesis, Captain Hammer. Meanwhile, he’s pining for Penny, a girl he sees at the laundromat.
Dr, Horrible is an incredibly quotable affectionate parody of superhero narratives, reveling in cliché but flipping the script and portraying the brainy villain as more sympathetic than his brawny nemesis. The cast is top notch and they get to flex their many talents- Fillion shines as an egotistical superhero while Harris pulls off an awkward, neurotic introvert perfectly. The series also features Felicia Day as a sweet ingénue. The ending is…predictable if you’re familiar with Whedon’s work at all, but it’s a really fun and funny ride until then with tons of catchy songs to boot!