The internet is not just an endlessly crafty tool with which to cruise for dick, book discounted hotels or have Kiehl’s products delivered straight to your doorstep. It’s also host to a wealth of ingeniously realized, cleverly-written web series of the queer variety — most of which you can watch for free.
Aside from the creative freedom it provides, a web series can lend visibility to otherwise unknown talent and, in particular, allow queer artists an opportunity to express and showcase themselves that might not be possible through traditional network cable.
In no particular order, here’s a snapshot of some of the more impressive shows floating around the web.
Queer As Folk creator Russell T Davies padded his two new Channel 4 shows Cucumber and Banana with Tofu, a stand alone web series that features cast members from both shows, along with every day people talking about the one thing we can all get behind — fucking.
Watch Tofu, “Teenage Lust”
2. The Outs
The Outs may, quite simply, be the sharpest, funniest and most heartfelt show about gay life that’s aired in both TV and web formats. Adam Goldman and Sasha Winters’ woefully short-lived web series follows a modest posse of queers around Brooklyn as they engage in the tediums of sex, friendship and mid-twenties ennui. It’s a familiar, if not tiresome, premise. But the real feat Goldman and Winters have accomplished is in the emotional punch they manage to deliver in just seven episodes.
Watch The Outs, “State of the Union”
3. Little Horribles
Amy York Rubin’s Little Horribles is a hysterical exercise in brutal awkwardness, disappointment and insecurity. The Funny or Die show stars Rubin, who also appeared in four episodes of Looking, as a 20-something lesbian traversing the pitfalls of nasty dates, disingenuous co-workers, bathroom mirrors and the general malaise of life in the city.
Watch Little Horribles, “Bathroom Mirror”
4. F to 7th
Ingrid Jungermann’s F to 7th is a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed web series The Slope, which she co-created. It’s a wittier incarnation of the former, and features show runner Jungermann as an impressionable, self-doubting lesbian navigating the muddy waters of gender and identity politics on the Pabst-soaked streets of Brooklyn. F to 7th boasts a roster of iconic actors like Olympia Dukakis, and features Amy Sedaris as Aunt Kate, the margarita-swilling, closet homophobe we’ve all had to endure at holiday dinners.
Watch F to 7th, “Family”
5. Jenifer Lewis and Shangela
Jenifer Lewis and Shangela tells a story older than water: accomplished but washed-up-star befriends an ambitious upstart and the whole ship capsizes. Lewis, who has a laundry list of screen credits to her name, lets Shangela, star of seasons 2 and 3 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, live in the basement of her Norma Desmond–esque Hollywood mansion. Camp and hilarity ensue in this glittering, albeit scripted, mess of a web series.
Watch Jenifer Lewis and Shangela, “Gold Earring”
6. Whoa, Dude!
It’s a rare day when you see sexy man-flesh on television screens. James Pombo and Jonny McGovern’s Whoa Dude! is the digital answer to this glorious, long overdue objectification. The web series is ostensibly an aggregate of “intentionally and unintentionally homoerotic clips” from around the web, courtesy of wasted frat boys, frisky man thong lovers and saucy twinks. Turn on, tune out.
Watch Woah, Dude! “Frat Boys”
7. So You Think You Can Fuck
Imagine every contestant on Survivor was a male pornstar, and instead of wild obstacle courses around an island, contestants have hot sex to win. Dominic Ford has made this possible with So You Think You Can Fuck. Now in its 5th season, three teams of couples compete to win the title of best in gay sex. You’ll need a Dominic Ford account to see the X-rated version of the show, but a PG version is available for free on their website.
Watch So You Think You Can Fuck, “Lights! Camera! Bad dialogue!”
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Dominic Ford)