News Column

Online TV offers many shows, and on the viewer's schedule

August 25, 2013


Aug. 25--Watching television online is becoming hugely popular. In the world of Web, a series can be seen by millions. That's why even the Nielsen ratings company is taking note of what you're streaming.

If you haven't tried online viewing, in addition to classic and older TV series, there are many original Web programs and imported shows as close as your smart TV or other Internet-connected device.

Even some series with major stars, like "Susanna" with Oscar winner and "True Blood" star Anna Paquin, are free on YouTube just by subscribing to the channel presenting the series like Wigs. But most online TV watching is done through subscription-based providers, like Hulu and Netflix, and on iTunes, where viewers download individual episodes for about $2 each.

One of the benefits of streaming is being able to watch an entire series at your leisure. You can binge watch the episodes -- which range in length from 5 minutes to 23 or more -- all at once or you can spread out your viewing on your own timeline.

Here's a sample of shows you can only watch online, where to find them and a short synopsis.

"House of Cards" -- Netflix (13 episodes)

In this brilliant political drama based on the British miniseries, a power-hungry congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him. It's binge-worthy show starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara. Season 2 is expected in early 2014.

"Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" -- (16 episodes)

Jerry Seinfeld offers up another show about nothing. This time, it's the comedian driving around to pick up a buddy (like Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Alec Baldwin, David Letterman or Michael Richards, to name a few) and their conversations about anything and everything on the way to pick up coffee.

"Orange Is the new Black" -- Netflix (13 episodes)

"It's like the Hamptons, only f---ing horrible," says one character -- and she's right. Based on a true story, "Orange is the New Black" is a women's prison drama with comedy where star character Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) trades her sweet life with her fiance for prison because, 10 years ago, she had a lesbian lover (Laura Prepon) who persuaded her to carry a suitcase filled with drug money. Not that she is blaming anyone for her situation. Piper admits she's doing the time because she did the crime. But following the initial shock of putting on those orange prison clothes, Piper does begin to learn about herself and questions her former life. It's like summer camp but with bars, prison culture, hilarity and heartbreak, and it's been renewed for a second season.

"Moone Boy" -- Hulu (six episodes)

This British comedy focuses on a young boy's life growing up in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland. It's the semi-autobiographical story of Chris O'Dowd, and he stars as Sean Murphy, who is self-described as the "imaginary friend of an idiot boy in the West of Ireland." That boy is Martin Paul Kenny Daglish Moone, the youngest child in the slightly dysfunctional Moone family, and it's his life at the center of the show, not that of his "friend." This lovable imported series set in the late '80s and early '90s has six episodes and was picked up for a second season.

"The Guild" -- YouTube (five seasons)

A fantasy show with five-to-eight-minute episodes about a gaming posse called The Knights of Good blossomed out of star, writer and producer Felicia Day's obsession with The World of Warcraft. The Knights of Good guild members dedicate countless hours to a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The series focuses on Codex, the guild's Priestess, who brings her guild mates together in real life after one of them, Zaboo, shows up at her home. The series was launched five years ago and proved so popular that it helped Day launch the Geek & Sundry channel on There are 63 episodes, but it's unlikely to return for a sixth season.

"Susanna" -- YouTube (12 episodes)

Anna Paquin ("True Blood") and Maggie Grace star in this drama about sisters on YouTube's Wigs channel. In the first episode, when Susanna learns her older sister Katie is in trouble, she jeopardizes her job to help her. Susanna Goodwin is a high-powered bank officer on the way up, and Katie is a single mother who previously suffered depression and had to go off her meds when she became pregnant. Now she's scared of what she might do with the baby. So are we.

"The Awesomes" -- Hulu

Tulsa's Bill Hader is voicing the villain Dr. Malocchio, "an evil villain with the power to control minds and whip up a flawless quiche," in Seth Meyers' animated adult comedy that premiered Aug. 1. The voice cast also includes other "Saturday Night Live" alums including Kenan Thompson, Rachel Dratch and Taran Killam along with comic actors Paula Pell, Ike Barinholtz and Emily Spivey. The series, created by Meyers and Mike Shoemaker ("Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"), is all about a group of not-so-superheroes who have to take over and figure out a way to save the world after all the really good superheroes have quit the team. A new episode is posted on Thursdays, with five of the 10 available to stream now.

Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360


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