The Best of YouTube Part 1

By Shamus
on Aug 6, 2017
Filed under:
Random

Steve C asked a question last week:

Shamus, what Youtube channels do you watch?

I remember you mentioning on the Diecast that you don’t watch TV anymore. That your recreational TV time has been replaced by Youtube. Personally I wish I could do that. There’s just not enough of stuff on Youtube I want to watch. Except I know that I’m wrong. With a few million years worth of content on Youtube I know that there has to be more than stuff on there that I’d like, I’ve just never found it.

So I’m curious what non-TV options you fill your time with.

It’s not completely true that I don’t watch television. That’s only mostly true. There’s exactly one traditionally big-media show that I’m into. I’ll talk about that at the end of this post series. The rest of my passive entertainment comes from YouTube.

Here’s a list of the channels that I’m into these days. We’ll start with the ones of mild interest and work our way up to the channels that I never miss and which have have remained engaging through repeated archive binges. For each channel I’ll list a “viewing suggestion”, which is one particular video that’s either remarkably good, a personal favorite, or a suitable starting point for new viewers.

And yes, the title of this post is a lie. This is not remotely the “best” of YouTube. But “The Stuff I Happen To Watch On YouTube Because I Subscribed Six Months Ago And I’m Too Lazy To Unsubscribe And Besides It’s Mostly Pretty Good” isn’t as catchy.

21. Cinema Sins


Link (YouTube)

Some people find this show really annoying. Jeremy nitpicks movies and flags them for various “sins”. Some sins are classic movie mistakes like plot holes, problems with continuity, editing mistakes, or clunky dialog. But others are just joke sins that don’t mean anything. Some are “sins” for things that aren’t part of the movie. (Like reminding Jeremy of something he dislikes.) If you go in expecting that good movies should get a low number of sins and bad movies should have lots of sins then the show will drive you crazy. I like it as a series of rapid-fire observations and jokes. I actually prefer his Conversations with Myself series, but those are kinda rare.

Viewing suggestion: Everything Wrong With A Good Day To Die Hard In 6 Minutes Or Less

20. Philip DeFranco

DeFranco does a daily vlog-style news show. It’s not really my thing, and my interest in the show is almost anthropological. About once a month I check in because it’s a good way to get a feel for the overall YouTube community and see a summary of the current YT drama. From his show, I’ll often branch off and watch a few other channels or look up some mega-celebrities that I’ve paradoxically never heard of. This is all part of my attempt to keep myself vaguely aware of what millennials are into so I’m not completely trapped in my Gen-X bubble. It’s an impossible task because “millennials” is far too broad and complex a group to follow via executive summary, but I do what I can to avoid turning into an out-of-touch old coot.

Viewing suggestion: Given that the show is so focused on current events, this isn’t the kind of channel where you’ll re-watch favorites. The best place to start is with the most recent.

19. Joe Santagato


Link (YouTube)

People who know me will find this choice kind of strange. Joe Santagato is a young, brash, foul-mouthed guy who makes fun of other people. He makes jokes about body parts, bodily functions, and weirdo behavior. That’s obviously not my kind of humor.

But for whatever reason, I like his show anyway. If anyone else was making these jokes I’d hate them, but Joe Santagato takes the whole “school bully” persona and makes it work. I strongly suspect it’s because the observations he makes remind me of one of my brothers, and his delivery reminds me of my other brother. I realize this is a very weak endorsement, but the truth is I watch the videos and they make me laugh.

Viewing suggestion: The Dick Facts (Warning: This video is about dicks.)

18. Red Letter Media

I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Mr. Plinkett” videos, where a crazy old man rants about the Star Wars prequels to the point where his critique is nearly as long as the movie being criticized. If not, then you should probably start by watching his review of The Phantom Menace. It will give you crash course in screenwriting and film editing by way of pointing out just how many ways Phantom Menace fails at both.

Assuming you’ve seen that, then the next place to go is to check out the rest of the channel. Red Letter Media is a group of filmmakers and critics based in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and they have a lot of different projects flying under the RLM banner.

Best of the Worst: Four critics watch a selection of randomly-selected horrendous movies, usually from a pool of obscure direct-to-video tapes from the 80s and 90s. They drink beer, joke about what they watched, and decide which movie is was bad in a good way and which one is bad enough that they want to physically destroy the tape.

Half in the Bag: A sitcom / sketch comedy / movie review show where Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman play… Mike and Jay, a couple of VCR repairmen who obviously don’t get a lot of business here in 2017. So they talk about current releases Siskel-and-Ebert style. Sort of.

Re: View: Probably the most sedate show on the channel. Two members of the cast sit down to discuss a classic (usually sci-fi) film. They talk about why they liked the film (or didn’t) and discuss its legacy.

Mr. Plinkett Reviews: While the Phantom Menace review is kind of infamous, the Plinkett character has reviewed a lot of Star Wars and Star Trek properties over the years.

Viewing suggestion: Best of the Worst: The Photon Effect, How I Saved the President, and Double Down

17. Technology Connections

This is a new-ish channel focusing on long-form documentaries about how various mundane or obsolete technologies work. His videos manage to tell me things I never knew, despite the fact that they happened when I was a young man and he wasn’t born yet. That’s a credit to his research acumen.

Viewing suggestion: Why Sony’s Beta Videotape System Failed–and failed hard.

16. Adam Neely


Link (YouTube)

Neely is a bass player and composer living in New York. He’s got a master’s degree in Music Stuff and Instruments or Whatever. On his channel he talks about playing bass, composition, and music theory. To be honest his music lessons are usually so far above my level that I generally don’t get much out of them, but I stick around anyway because he’s a good storyteller.

Viewing suggestion: The music theory of V A P O R W A V E.

15. Numberphile

Numberphile isn’t just a channel about mathematics. It’s a channel about topology, fractals, geometry, logic problems, prime number theory, probability, platonic solids, game theory, spaghetti noodles, and the tragic fact that some people still think that the “math” vs. “maths” debate is a worthy topic to spend time arguing over.

Viewing suggestion: The Most Powerful Dice.

This was supposed to be a dashed-off post to fill a Sunday afternoon, but now it’s grown into some huge thing and I’m going to need to spread it out over a few weeks. I’ll be back next Sunday with entries #14 through #8.

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From the Archives:

  1. Alex says:

    I also watch CinemaSins, RedletterMedia and Numberphile and recommend all three. I’ve heard great things about Philip DeFranco, but don’t follow him.

    Others I watch (that you might get to in later articles):
    Jairus of All, Colin Furze, Sufficiently Advanced and Primitive Technology. They make things, ranging from bark-and-vine sandals to pulsejet-powered bicycles.

    Shadiversity. I think you’d like him – he gives fair consideration to fantasy stuff, like what type of weapons a centaur might wield or whether a fantasy castle is nonsense just meant to look cool.

    Agonywolf Media a channel in a Mystery Science Theatre vein, with series on a few Resident Evil games and Fallout 4.

  2. Yerushalmi says:

    CinemaSins has seriously declined lately. There has been a marked increase in his usage of the f-word lately, and he’s starting to rely on it to make his points punchier instead of coming up with an actual joke. His video covering Home was the last straw; I timed it over the weekend and saw he used the f-word three times a minute, so I gave up and unsubscribed. (In contrast, the Die Hard video you embedded above uses it only five times in the entire video of seven minutes.)

    I find it quite coincidental that less than two days later I read a post recommending the series :)

    • Piflik says:

      Who the fuck cares about a fucking word?

    • Fizban says:

      I think he’s just stuck in a bit of a rut of movies he really hates, or at least the last two were. Home was so bad that I couldn’t even finish watching the sin video, no problem with the rage but the clips actively made me want to stop watching because it was so terrible, and he had to actually watch and comment it in order to make the video. In contrast, going back just one more past those two I was expecting him to eviscerate Wanted, but it seems he liked some bits of it and wasn’t nearly as harsh as I expected.

    • Parkhorse says:

      Cinemasins videos started out being 2-7 minutes long, each. Now they’re 15-20minutes long. The jokes haven’t gotten better, there’s just more repetition, padding, and “swearing is a joke.” I used to like the channel. Now I find it insufferable.

      I feel like he usually has about three good minutes of material per movie, and then works to see how he can pad them to game the current Youtube algorithms. Not something I’m inclined to support.

    • Zekiel says:

      I’ve mostly given up on CinemaSins because I realised that I don’t find the videos very satisfying. It’s a great idea, and I generally find some of each video funny. But the nature of the format is that the videos don’t have any sort of proper ending. They just come to a stop with the last sin and the video ends. That’s really annoying.

      Also you generally can’t enjoy them unless you’re familiar with the film (even if you’ve watched the film but forgotten most of it) since the format doesn’t allow for a proper synopsis or anything like that.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      I used to really like the channel too, but I noticed that after a while I wasn’t watching as often or enjoying what I did watch. I eventually stumbled onto one of the “Everything Wrong With Everything Wrong With” videos which seemed to give me psychological “permission” to finally un-sub. My brain is weird sometimes…

  3. Redingold says:

    Since we’re mentioning CinemaSins, it would be remiss of me to not mention the Everything Wrong With “Everything Wrong With” videos, wherein some people turn CinemaSins’ nitpicking back on them and point out all the mistakes they make in their videos. There’s at least two channels I’ve found that have done this, here and here.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Around the time he started sinning plotholes that weren’t actually in the movie (I may have found it funny if he then sinned the lampshade, but he didn’t) I figured he’d finally hit a dry well and stopped watching. But if he’s spurred a round of sinning the sinning, I find myself with… mixed feelings.

      We might call it the logical culmination of remix culture. Not sure how I feel about that.

  4. Lee says:

    If you’re looking for actual recommendations from Cinemasins, I think your best bet is to go for the movies where he removes the most sins. I assume someone has made an accounting somewhere, but I’ve yet to find it.

    Also, his partner’s Cinemawins channel is good, too.

  5. Michael Miller says:

    Numberphile? And I am sure you mentioned cgp Grey previously. I am going to leap to the conclusion that you also listen to Brady and Grey’s collaboration podcast – Hello Internet. So how bout it Shamus, are you a Tim? :)

  6. Steve C says:

    When you didn’t answer my question I hoped it was because you were going to turn it into a full post. Instead you turned into a series.
    I am pleased. :-)

  7. gunther says:

    OK if we suggest a few of our own favorites?

    EDUCATION

    Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell: Short videos about science and philosophy, with a rather charming style of animation. Recommendation:
    Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever – CRISPR

    CGP Grey: Short-to-medium videos about science and philosophy. Slightly less charming animation, but the content is very interesting. Recommendation:
    Humans Need Not Apply

    History Buffs: Looks at the historical accuracy of Hollywood films. Recommendation:
    Saving Private Ryan

    CrashCourse: short but fast-paced videos covering subjects you probably learned in high school but have since forgotten about. Recommendation:
    World History

    Every Frame a Painting: Film analysis from an academic perspective. Recommendation:
    Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy

    COMEDY

    Dad holes: Short web series about a couple of new dads commiserating with each other about how awful their kids are. Recommendation: Dadholes 1

    zefrank1: A parody of David Attenborough’s documentaries, with possibly-true facts about a range of animals. Recommendation:
    True Facts About Marsupials

    OTHER

    Primitive Technology: A mute, shirtless Australian man builds the latest in stone-age technology out of rocks and sticks. Recommendation:
    Tiled Roof Hut

    Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Each video is an attempt to name an emotion we all feel but don’t (yet) have a word for. Probably not something to watch if you struggle with depression. Recommendation:
    Vemödalen: The Fear That Everything Has Already Been Done

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Cinema Sins is really an interesting thing.Its the cliche X things that Y about Z,but done in a really good way.

    About DeFranco,even if you dont watch him regularly,jumping into the description of all of his videos to check out his today in awesome things is always great.

    For Red Letter Media Id recommend the wonder woman half in the bag review,because it has the best opening,and it quickly shows a big chunk of the humor you can expect from this crew.Also,I love their last transformers review because thats something I wanted someone to do for ages now,yet no one had the balls to actually pull it off.And they did it twice in a row.

    Its interesting that you picked(for a second time) numberphile over computerphile.The first is superior for me,but Im primarily a maths guy myself.Its what I studied for a long time.As a computer guy,one would expect you to gravitate more towards the other one.Also,the best thing about Brady Haran and all of his videos is that he is filming actual college professors,bringing the cool stuff from college to a wider audience.I really love that youtube has enabled such a thing to exist.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,Im going to recommend this guy to everyone,because he is great,yet obscure,and deserves for more people to know about his channel:

    Joseph Anderson.He does long (hours long sometimes) analysis of video games.And because the videos are so long and in depth,there are only few of them,but they are all great,even if they are about games you dont like.Everyone should check out his channel.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Also,we started a thread about this in the forums few moths ago,so people could check that thread and see if theres more youtube stuff they are interested in.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Typo:

    but Joe Santagato takes the who “school bully” persona and makes it work

    Whole instead of who.

  12. MichaelG says:

    Try James May’s The Reassembler. https://youtu.be/_3R4pstLlqE

    Old school nerdish entertainment.

  13. Joshua says:

    Red Letter Media is my subscribed channel on YouTube. I’m not sure there’s ever been a movie that I’ve liked that they’ve trashed, although I’ve seen a few of the opposite. They’re really great for a low-brow and laid-back perspective of high-brow intellectual film-criticism.

  14. Nixorbo says:

    I bailed on CinemaSins long ago. Too mean-spirited. Instead I do How It Should Have Ended.

  15. Agammamon says:

    I would like to reccommend LindeyBeige for those with a roleplaying/LARP/TT wargaming/history interest.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/lindybeige

    • Fade2Gray says:

      It still amazes me how many subjects he covers on his channel.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Lindybeige and Shadiversity have both been mentioned. I really want to like both of them, but they ramble so, so badly. I realize I’m not one to talk -when I record lectures for class that don’t have a script, I tend to ramble too, but I’m trying to produce those videos in a three day window.

      They could be so good if they would just write a script and stick to it. I do not need to hear the umpteenth rehearsal of the opening point 15 minutes into a 30 minutes video!

  16. MichaelGC says:

    That recommended Best of the Worst is one of the strangest ones ever, and might set a bit of an unrealistically high bar if it’s one’s first episode! I’d recommend easing in to things with one of these two. Then, if you like these, you’ve got Shamus’s pick to look forward to…

    Deadly Prey, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Miami Connexion
    https://youtu.be/mbWTthXfdBc

    The Item, The Crawlers, Blood Lock
    https://youtu.be/n747ktceuwI

    • MichaelGC says:

      Another good one, and a good one to start with:

      Supergirl, Captain America (1990), Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four
      https://youtu.be/d-O_RzwrZPw

    • Dreadjaws says:

      I’d really suggest they start with the first one, and in fact taking a look at all their videos in order, independently of the show they belong to. These guys tend to make a lot of references to old episodes. Someone showing up to their latest Best of the Worst video will undoubtedly be confused by all the comments about “Tums Festival”, “This video took 12 years to make” or “Jar Jar is the key to all this”.

      Then again, that’s probably the fault of the commenters, who take this referencing up to eleven, even though the guys from the channel are pretty tired of it.

      • MichaelGC says:

        Yep, this would also be a good approach – with the (small) proviso that the production values have increased over time, as have their general levels of confidence & panache. Often the way with this sort of thing! So, the very early episodes might give a slightly distorted idea of how things are now, but things do quickly develop and settle in to a more comfortable routine.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          the production values have increased over time

          Arent they deliberately trying to make everything look crappy?Maybe the number of Ps has increased due to buying new equipment,but thats not really important for a show thats 90% “A bunch of people sit around and talk”.

          • MichaelGC says:

            They have a much nicer sofa now! 😁 Aye, you’re right – I think what I meant was that e.g. the editing got a bit more sure-handed as they settled in to a nice routine, and the camera & audio quality improved a bit. (None of this is a big deal, however – I mentioned it was just a small proviso.)

    • Radiosity says:

      Good choices, but personally I’d go with Order of the Black Eagle, Wired to Kill, and Raiders of Atlantis, probably my favourite BotW so far.

      It’s a pretty good idea to watch in order though because it evolves over time with guests + new gimmicks like the Wheel of the Worst.

  17. Thomas Steven Slater says:

    Or channel I’ll recommend that definitely needs a boost is “Plainly difficult” its a cpg grey like channel that does short video about small quirky bits of history that most people don’t know about. One video I’ll recommend is the one about the able archer exercise.

  18. Dreadjaws says:

    “Some people find this show really annoying”

    I’m one of them. I can’t stand their “Everything wrong with…” and “Honest Trailers” shows not just because of the nitpicking and mean-spirited approach (though, just to be clear, they are too nitpicky and mean-spirited), but because the jokes they make are lazy, obvious, derivative and show up usually several months after they stopped being relevant and everyone else has already made them.

    In that sense, I find little difference between those shows and Friedberg and Seltzer’s “Noun Movie” movies, except for a very, very positive lack of scat humor. Honestly, at this point I have to believe the only reason they’re popular is the narrator’s gloriously soothing voice.

    In contrast, places like “How It Should Have Ended” or “The Editing Room” offer much smart observations, interesting analysis and all-around clever jokes that don’t steal from others’ earlier, better works.

    I used to be a fan of “The Agony Booth” for the same reasons, but that place has turned into an irritating cesspool of cynism, and not the fun kind. Thankfully, we still got Red Letter Media.

    • Polius says:

      I don’t mind Honest Trailers nearly as much as I mind CinemaSins. Honest Trailers tend to keep it to a tightly focused series of critiques and often nail it with their redone songs (look at any of their Disney trailers for an example). CinemaSins comes off as pedantic and repetitive by comparison. Though in fairness to both, they need to wait until the movies come out on DVD release to get clips, so it’d be terribly hard to be relevant to the cultural commentary that was present upon theatrical release.

  19. Paul Spooner says:

    I kinda want to make my own suggestions, but I think I’m going to wait until the series ends so I’ll know if they are on your list as well. So far, zero overlap!

  20. Carlos García says:

    Well, it’s more of a Twitch series in a channel and four days later in their webpage and like two or three weeks later they get publicly posted in Youtube: Critical Role (Geekandsundry). It has some extraordinarily good chapters by being fun or epic. Sam Riegel, though in the first couple of chapters I thought I wouldn’t like at all because of a fart joke, ended being doing the funniest moments of the show. Chapters are weekly and last between three and five hours, with the average being short of four. It’s about a group of nerdy voice actors playing D%D in a homebrew setting.
    There is a DoctorBenjyFM who makes some funny videos of Football Manager saves.
    How it should have ended (hishe) and honest trailers (screen junkies channel for films and smosh games for games) are solid recommendations.
    FIBA has a playlist of coaches explaining things about basketball.
    Bballbreakdown is a very good channel about NBA.
    Mother’s Basement and TopAnimeWeekly have some interesting critic videos on anime series.
    The other channels I follow that are worth recommending I know for sure will feature in future chapters of this series, if not already in this (Numberphile).

  21. Nimrandir says:

    Numberphile isn’t just a channel about mathematics. It’s a channel about . . .

    I wanted to stop myself from yelling, “Those are mathematics!” like Ross from Friends, but I failed. Sorry.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Spaghetti noodles isnt a field of maths,so technically he is correct.

      But yeah,I get your pain.Thats precisely what was going through my head as well,but I managed to suppress my pedantry.

      • Nimrandir says:

        I didn’t have time to go watch the video. I honestly presumed it was a bridge to talk about knot theory.

        • Philadelphus says:

          Knot theory was my guess too, but I was surprised to find out there were no actual spaghetti noodles in the video (though the author also calls them spaghetti); instead, it’s about those pasta noodles in the shape of numbers, and how large a number could be made by various combinations of a can of them. I’m unsure if that would fall under combinatorics, though.

          • Nimrandir says:

            That’s the sort of thing I’d do in a discrete math class, so I’m claiming it as mathematics, too.

            [plants flag with “We’re number -e^(pi * i)” on it]

  22. Cinebeast says:

    This is cool. I’m hyped to see the next couple of entries. (Something tells me I already know what a few of your favorites are.)

    For myself I mostly watch let’s plays and reactions, with the occasional review or analysis video. Lindsay Ellis is probably my pick of the lot, but she only updates like once or twice a month. I check out Brad Jones whenever I see a movie he’s seen (and he sees everything). My favorite let’s play channel is easily the Super Best Friends, and it helps they have a podcast as well.

    Actually I get a lot of my entertainment through podcasts, mostly McElroy stuff like the Adventure Zone, Rose Buddies and Sawbones.

    Anyway, I love Youtube. I genuinely can’t remember how I survived without it. I guess I just watched Spongebob all day on cable? I’m honestly not sure.

  23. ElementalAlchemist says:

    If you are/were a fan of MythBusters, and/or you like anything to do with prop replicas, cosplay outfit making, or generally building stuff, you should check out the Tested channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/testedcom/videos There’s a reasonable amount of filler material, frankly, but any video with Adam Savage is typically great.

    • SAJ14SAJ says:

      Sadly, Tested has really declined in the last couple of months. I find their videos looking at props someone else has and similar the least interesting thing they do. They haven’t built anything or tested anything, or shown anything of real interest in a long time. Other than moments of brilliance when Simon is on (everything she touches turns to %@##%itty gold), I feel like they have lost their way. Adam may be beyond busy, but they have other contributors….

  24. Michel says:

    Strat – Edgy has a lot of in depth videos about games and how its themes relate to social issues. I recomend it

  25. Christopher says:

    I’m surprised none of these are gaming related channels. That’s basically what I watch, for the most part.

    I thought the dick facts one was pretty funny.

  26. Syal says:

    Oh, Youtube recommendations. Got to think of something classy. Something classy…

    uuuuuuuuuhhh supremecourt.gov?

    Oh wait, that’s not Youtube.

    …I’ve got nothing.

  27. Jenx says:

    We doing YouTube recommendations? Cool. Let me throw some at you (some of these may or may not be already mentioned above)

    1. First off I’d throw another vote for giving Philip DeFranco a watch, if you want to stay fairly informed of various world and internet events and happenings.

    2. Primitive Technology – This guy. This guy is fucking amazing is what he is. His show has no talking (be sure to turn on Closed Captions when watching, by the way!) and he offers detailed notes underneath his videos on whatever project he shows, be it making a bow, making a loom, building a furnace, planting yams or constructing a tiled roof hut.

    3. LoadingReadyRun – I love these guys, it’s as simple as that. They’re a comedy group from Victoria, Canada, who used to do comedy sketches and did those for years. These days they have a very active Twitch channel, they have a regular 1-1.5 hours comedy variety show, they do super-short sketches, do stuff about Magic The Gathering, video games and all kinds of other stuff. It’s great comedy, it’s great content and they have also attracted a rather great community around themselves.

    4. The Ragehalic – This one might be a bit of a contentious point with people. Razorfist does all kinds of stuff – movie reivews, video game talking points, political commentary, comic book stuff and, I’d say some of his best work – a series called Music/Metal Mythos where he details and reviews the careers and albums of various metal and non-metal bands. His videos on Michael Jackson, The Ramones and Judas Priest are personal favourites of mine.

    Where does the contention come from? Well, if you 1. Don’t like people who are very open about not being left-wing and not caring who knows it or 2. Don’t like very verbose, rapid-fire satire with lots of swear words, insults aimed…everyone, really and a vocabulary that requires you to stop every ten seconds to check what a particular word even means. The guy, at least in his YouTube persona is very brash, very verbose and perfectly willing to stand up for unpopular opinions, take down “sacred cows” of music, movies, comics, video games or politics…and is generally not very interested in being unbiased or non-confrontational. It’s a kind of humor that definitely would not fit anyone, but I’d suggest at least giving his music videos a watch, to see if you’re interested.

    That’s about it. I was thinking of throwing in a recommendation for CGP Grey, but the fact he uploads a video once in a blue moon has really diminished my opinion of him as a youtube creator. (obviously he does lots of other stuff as well, so it’s to be expected). I also follow various political commentary channels, but I am definitely not sending anyone there, because that stuff is up to you.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m going to add that LRR actually have TWO YouTube channels. One is LoadingReadyRun and the other is LoadingReadyLive, the latter one is primarily for archiving the livestreams of their games while the first one is for everything else.

  28. RJT says:

    I suppose I’ll pester you all with my recommendations as well.

    1. Accursed Farms You may know him from Freeman’s Mind (now in season 2!), but he also posts “Ross’s Game Dungeon,” lengthy explorations of bizarre freeware from the dawn of video games, old indie games, arcade games, and other obscurities. Sample: Super Cult Tycoon

    2. Pemberley Digital They seem to be no longer posting, but they were very prolific 2-3 years ago and have a back catalog of vlog adaptations of classic literature, mostly from Jane Austen, featuring young, hot, ethnically diverse people of varying acting ability. Sample: Lizzie Bennet Diaries, ep. 1

    3. Maven of the Eventide Wearing a disturbingly diverse array of gothic attic, the maven discusses the themes of vampire movies, new and old. Sample: The Little Vampire

    4. No Small Parts Brandon Hardesty of past viral fame now makes lovely editing mini documentaries about character actors, those people you say, “Oh, that’s that guy that was in that thing,” about. Sample: Anne Ramsey

    5.Double Fine Productions Two Player Productions has been producing documentaries about Double Fine’s video-game making for years now. There are interviews with designers about their lives, pitch videos, and films about the process of making several games start to end. Sample: Making of Broken Age

    6.Brows Held High Discussion of the themes of movies meant to be “art.” Fast cuts and juxtaposition of images with text and voice-over make a rapid-fire sort of humor. The movies he focuses on range from widely panned to highly praised in snooty circles. Older videos have a lot of youtube injokes, which can be annoying. Sample: Andy Warhol’s Dracula

  29. Liam O'Hagan says:

    Clickspring – Basically turning raw brass into amazing stuff, including a very nice clock. Also shows all of the tools he makes for the job as well.

    His latest series is on making a replica of the Antikythera mechanism, trying where possible to recreate the tools that may have been used to make the original.

  30. Radiosity says:

    Also check out the game version of CinemaSins, except the guy doing it is more enjoyable imo. Dartigan’s Game Sins. Recommended first video? The three part Final Fantasy XIII entry, definitely.

  31. kunedog says:

    I couldn’t help but notice that neither Shamus nor any commenter mentioned RedLetterMedia’s video game review show Previously Recorded with Rich and Jack. It’s on a different YT channel (which is cluttered with livestreams), but it’s under their label.

  32. Echo Tango says:

    Thanks for introducing me to Technology Connections! That guy has a very relatable manner of speaking, while still backing up all his claims with references and calculations.

  33. Redingold says:

    Ooh, while we’re all sharing what youtube channels we like, I should mention Ben Eater, who is building a breadboard computer completely from scratch. He’s meticulous in his explanations (and wiring) and it’s a joy to watch it all come together.

    If you like Numberphile, then 3Blue1Brown is another excellent resource. His animations are top-notch, and he occasionally does series where he covers the basics of a given area of maths, like calculus or linear algebra. The next one planned is going to cover probability.

  34. Gruhunchously says:

    If anyone wants more longform videogame analysis in their lives, I feel I should recommend Raycevick. He does lengthy retrospectives on older games, along with shorter reviews of more recent ones. They’re generally very even-handed, with lots of interesting points, often with particular emphasis on game music, which I don’t think gets discussed enough.

    He’s recently done a retrospective on Spec Ops: The Line

    As well as some sci fi RPG series that no one here has likely ever heard of.

    His biggest project is a series on the Halo games from the critical perspective of a fan, similar to Matthewmatosis and Super Bunnyhop’s videos on the Metal Gear Solid series (both of which are cited as direct inspiration). Halo isn’t particularly popular around here, but I’d still recommend a look; the videos look at both why the series was so popular as well as where it failed.

  35. methermeneus says:

    At the risk of starting a flame war, “math” vs. “maths” is one of three instances where , if there is a more correct way to English (which I’d argue there isn’t, but that gets in the way of my history lesson), American English is more correct than English English. Allow me to explain.

    “Math[s]” is short for “mathematics.” The usual explanation for the English version is that mathematics is obviously plural: It ends in “s,” and it describes a diverse field. Leaving aside the fact that the order in which words are shortened and pluralized is not standardized in English, this is not actually the case. Is algebra a “mathematic?” No. The word “mathematics” comes from the Greek “mathematikos,” and is unusual in that the final syllable nucleus is lost in English without stopping away the whole nominative suffix. (In other words, most words from Greek would keep or lose the “os,” not just the “o.”) Odd though it may be, the result is a singular word ending in “s,” so there is no plural ending to carry over.

    If you were curious, the other two things Americans get right are “aluminum” and the “-or” (as opposed to “-our”) version of the agentive suffix. (“-re” is better than “-er,” however.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      On the other hand,the language itself has so many exceptions to each of the rules that claiming one version is more correct than the other is pointless.

      • methermeneus says:

        Which is precisely why I said there isn’t a correct way to English. If other English speakers can understand you, that’s good enough. My problem is just with the faulty arguments some people use when they claim authenticity. That and Matt Parker’s insistence that “maths” is correct, which is probably why Shamus mentioned it in the first place (the only other Numberphile presenter I can recall mentioning it is James Grimes, and his opinion was mostly that which one is correct depends on what country you’re in). It annoys me when he rants as passionately on the subject as he does about the imperial measurement system, particularly when his reasoning on the word is far less sound than for the measurement system.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          There is a reason why “pulling a Parker” has become a thing.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Whichever one of them it was did the “imperial measurements are terrible” should get an award for “best proving of the opposite point video in a pedantic subject.”

          My friends and I -Americans -came away from that video more fully convinced that metric is a system for people who don’t actually have to measure anything. “Unit conversion” is not a useful trait in my day to day. Properly sized and easily subdivided measurement units are. Point Customary.

      • Echo Tango says:

        English, like all evolved languages, is full of loopholes and edge-cases. Personally, I’d rather just fix up[1] some of the quirks, so that the languge is 1) more easily learned by adults from other linguistic backgrounds, and 2) more easily learned by children. In both cases, there would be time saved, which could go towards other things. I suppose also, 3) the textbooks would be slightly shorter and cheaper to print, with less rules and edge-cases to explain. :)

        [1] I actually wrote up a short blog post (“article”?) explaining my thoughts on this. I should really get a proper web host, instead of just using Github. Also, write more than two blog posts…

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I like this old joke,because it has so much truth in it.It looks silly to people who have learned the crazy english spelling from early ages,but as someone whose mother tongue has exactly one letter representing exactly one tone,I can see actual practicality in it.

          • LCF says:

            It is indeed funny, but it also falls apart when you know [z] and [th] are two different sounds in english.
            Doing as the joke say would decrease the number of sounds used at best, or create confusion and misunderstandings at worst, with possible deadly consequences.

            I like to troll the Americans by favouring British English and actual civilised measurment systems.
            I have to admit there is a will to order all that linguistic and orthographic mess. I have to admit some of the mess comes from French, either because of the Normand conquest (“You raise pigs, oxen and sheeps, you filthy peasants, but I’m the one eating porc, boeuf, mouton) or because of the Renaissance and the stabilisation of French othography (“You know, Ancient Greek is really nice. Let’s hellenise French language and replace a lot of ‘F’ with ‘PH'”).
            Sorry about that.
            Also, the “S” making a [z] sound between two vowels, that’s us too. It comes from French. Not sorry.

            Lastly, it goes for languages as it goes for measurments: it’s not that much of an absolute good, it’s not really an absolute. It is a bunch of conventions to which we all agree, so we can express the same things, mean the same things when we say them.
            If you go and give different meanings to the vessels, or if you start using different vessels for meaning, you start distancing yourself from the rest of the group. Long as the whole group goes along, it’s fine. In fact, that is how languages evolve. However, if you splinter and do it alone, you may not be understood at all, hence the value of a common mean of expression.
            Languages change as they ever do, but having a 2.54 cm unit with subjective subdivisions instead of a regular 1 cm unit with regular subdivision cost you a space probe. It does cost you so much more in time and effort every day.
            Not using the same number frame than the rest of the world sets you apart. Not sharing the same cultural framework sets you apart. I’d understand the appeal of isolation, but in this world, in this day and age, is it such a good idea?

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              It is indeed funny, but it also falls apart when you know [z] and [th] are two different sounds in english.

              Sure,but seeing how numerous people have already substituted “the” with “d” or “da”,nothing of value would be lost.Ive thought about it,and the only thing that wouldnt work if english was cleaned like this are puns.And no one would cry for puns.

              • LCF says:


                I wood.

                Joke apart, it’s only an exemple of a wide problem. Han Chinese is already very difficult to understand when talked to, because of this. Let’s not turn english into a mess where you struggle to realise whether the other guy is talking about sand & sea or if he is insulting and rude.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Except that wouldnt be the case if all you changed was there spelling.And in fact,there already is a phonetic alphabet for english that can be used 100% without a hitch.The only problem is that it has some characters that are practically never used,which could be trimmed down a bit with no loss.

                  • LCF says:

                    Also, and this is a reason why written French remains so obnoxious, orthography and etymology are two means of understanding the language better.
                    You need to invest effort into learning a bunch of quirks, but when you do, you have references, tips, tricks and a-priori knowledge. You can get underlying rules, influences, and the History of how the system evolved the way it did.
                    Doing away with it would deprive us of of all that knowledge.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      We already have plenty of ways to preserve knowledge,so it wouldnt.Those who are interested in it would still be able to find out about it,but those who dont care wouldnt be encumbered by some archaic rules like they are now.

                    • Droid says:

                      Also knowledge has no inherent value. There’s no point in having a more difficult language just to be able to know more about it and how it became as difficult as it is now.

    • Echo Tango says:

      I prefer aluminium, since it matches other metals in the periodic table. As for -or vs -our, or -re vs -er, I think the better solution is to introduce more letters into English, so we can have a proper, phonetic alphabet, without ambiguity. :)

      • methermeneus says:

        Preference is fine; that is, in fact, why aluminum became aluminium. (In a weird twist of fate, the US switched back to aluminum because of a printing error. Also, in spite of aluminium fitting the period names better, aluminum is better Latin.)

        RE: -our, -or, -er, -re: We don’t need new letters for that one. The sound in question is just -r. (I’m on my phone, so don’t expect to get proper IPA.) Also, I think you meant “phonemic,” unless you really think that we need a 50ish-character alphabet. Or want to tell Arabs that they need four more vowels in spite of their “one character per sound” alphabet. (In case you’re wondering, I once got into an actual argument just from asking for pronunciation advice: “It’s all the same sound: ah, ah, ah, fatheh!”)

      • Philadelphus says:

        But lanthanum, tantalum, molybdenum and platinum will get lonely without aluminum! :)

        Not to mention all seven classical metals, aurum, argentum, cuprum, stannum, plumbum, ferrum, and hydrargyrum.

        Preference is fine, but “aluminum” is not some weird aberration in the periodic table and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. :)

    • Philadelphus says:

      Very interesting to hear the etymology there! (As a student of Greek.) Why is “-re” better than “-er”? I’m genuinely curious.

      • methermeneus says:

        Noting to do with etymology in this case, but phonology. The suffix is pronounced “r,” so in terms of the matching the pronunciation, -re is better than -er because English has the precedent of a silent -e. The former should be pronounced “r” (or “reh,” but only if the -e is not silent), while the latter should be pronounced “ehr.” Both are better than -or or -our, which are pronounced the same way (rounded vowels are more highly marked—that’s the reason only unrounded vowels get reduced to schwas in English—but take note of how “favo[u]rite” is pronounced), and there the American spelling is better than the British, because at least it’s not a diphthong.

    • Khazidhea says:

      I’m wondering if you’d be kind enough to expand on how you’ve come to the conclusion that Americans got it ‘right’ in spelling aluminium as aluminum. To my knowledge (admittedly not great) it’s a best neutral, with aluminum correct in America (and Canada?), and aluminium most other places, no value judgements on ‘right’ either way.

      • Philadelphus says:

        “Aluminum” is the spelling Sir Humprey Davy (the guy who discovered element-13) settled on, and it was some anonymous Brit who decided, nah, he didn’t like how that sounded, so he casually went and renamed it. By convention at that time (and for a period of around 200 years, until the IUPAC started officiating between competing claims in the 20th century), the discoverer of an element had the right to name it; ergo, aluminum is the correct spelling (and as I noted a few comments up, there’s nothing unusual about it when compared to other metal names both ancient and those being discovered around the same time).

        Note that this cuts both ways and I’m perfectly fine being consistent on it; the American spelling of the name of element-55, “cesium”, is similarly incorrect, as the discovers originally named it caesium.

        Sulphur/sulfur, on the other hand, has no correct form as it has no known original discoverer.

        • Khazidhea says:

          I’d always heard that it was Humphry Davy who eventually settled on the spelling to aluminium, with it being just another change made himself like when he went from alumium to aluminum (albeit to match the preference that others in the science community had had for years). Sadly that’s only going from memory and I don’t have any sources to back that claim, and a quick google search hasn’t found something reputable enough to settle it either way.

          • methermeneus says:

            Davey wasn’t behind the change to aluminium; he just followed suit when others started doing it. The change from alumium to aluminum occurred between his personal notes and publication in an academic journal. He could have named it alumium, but in the end he chose not to. I believe the story is summarized in Wikipedia’s aluminum article, though I don’t remember how good the sourcing is.

        • methermeneus says:

          Pretty much this, except the anonymous renamer wasn’t even talking to chemists: he wrote a letter to the editor of a literary and political journal, saying that aluminium was “more pleasing to the ear.”

          That said, Kazidhea is right that there’s no one “right” way to write/say alumin[i]um. It’s just that the argument that English English is the original and therefore correct way is wrong, in this case because it’s not the original way. It’s not like America preserved the original spelling, either: We bought aluminium from England until an American patented a different way of refining it from bauxite, and he didn’t have time to correct a typo on his advertising handbills before his investors expected him to start making a profit, so he wound up selling aluminum to the American public. So, really, if you want to be overly pedantic, everyone’s wrong; this is just a case of two wrongs making a right.

  36. MilesDryden says:

    I used to be pretty neutral about CinemaSins. Then he ‘reviewed’ Zootopia, and now I hate him.

  37. Fade2Gray says:

    A couple channels that I recently started watch and am enjoying:

    Captain Disillusion: It’s an older channel and he only puts out videos every couple of months or so but they’re well made and entertaining. He breaks down how various viral videos were made using practical and special effects. Just note, in case the name didn’t make it obvious, he does use the channel as a platform to promote skepticism (both the mindset and the philosophical worldview). I don’t find it obnoxious but YMMV.

    Linus Tech Tips: I’m pretty sure this is a fairly well known channel (especially among PC enthusiast) but I only just recently stumbled into. They do a good mix of straight tech reviews and various “because we could” over the top build and tech demo videos.

  38. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I’m sure Tom Scott and Scott Manley will make appearances eventually. Extra Credits and Extra History probably will, too.

    I would like to plug “Today I Found Out” and “Engineer Guy”. Both of whom are endlessly fascinating on a number of topics.

  39. Default_Ex says:

    Since you like Numberphile, check out standupmaths sometime. It’s Matt Parker’s channel and pretty much same stuff as you might imagine from seeing him on Numberphile. Another good one along same lines but with emphasis on cool chemical reactions is periodicvideos. Professor Moriarty is and awesome guy to see going on tangents.

  40. Deadpool says:

    My recommendation:

    Primitive Technology

    That’s where a guy just builds primitive shit in the woods. I know it sounds dumb, but it seems up Shamus’ alley.

    Example:

    https://youtu.be/VVV4xeWBIxE

  41. Me, I can’t suggest Folding Ideas enough. He’s referenced Campster and he’s an astute critic and analyst who can make some more modern postmodern textual criticism and academic approaches a lot more easily understood and salient.

  42. tmtvl says:

    I can’t understand how nobody’s mentioned michaelcthulhu of Big Giant Swords fame yet.

  43. Anachronist says:

    Oh my. Thanks for Numberphile. Great inspiration for topics on my own mathematics blog.

    We don’t watch any TV in our house either, which is weird because we have a pretty nice TV and audio system. I watch YouTube only occasionally for a few minutes here and there, but I think your suggestions will increase the YouTube watching. Those rare times when we do turn on the TV (maybe once or twice a month), it’s either to watch a DVD in our collection or to watch something on Amazon prime — but it’s all video-on-demand whether it’s streaming or from our own DVD library.

  44. Mousazz says:

    But “The Stuff I Happen To Watch On YouTube Because I Subscribed Six Months Ago And I’m Too Lazy To Unsubscribe And Besides It’s Mostly Pretty Good” isn’t as catchy.

    I have to disagree with you there, Shamus. A ludicrously long title is, used in moderation, much catchier than one with a controversial or striking word in it.

    Anyways, here are my recommendations for Youtube channels:
    Mandalore Gaming – A video game reviewer that checks out more obscure/hard to get into games that a lot of people wouldn’t have heard of. He acts calm within his videos, yet slightly amused, and has a great sense of humor.
    MrBTongue – He analyzes writing and story topics in certain video games and movies. Unfortunately, his Youtube account hasn’t been active for 9 months; instead now he’s writing posts analysing Game of Thrones on a site called… TwentySided… oh.

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