The Rest Of The Best
Last week, we presented the first half of our top 20 sci-fi web series of 2013 list.
This week, it's our privilege to feature the best of the rest!
So, what made these projects stand out amongst their accomplished peers?
All of these series, though each quite different, share one common trait: they excel in reinvigorating stale, cliche´d genre tropes by infusing them with fresh, exciting ideas.
So without further ado, prepare to re-enter the portal for another visit to worlds fantastic - as represented by these exceptional series!
*Note: All of these series were discovered and featured in 2013 by The 7th Matrix despite many having completed production prior to this year.*
10. They Live Among Us
They Live Among Us is a supernatural web series set and filmed in the gritty underbelly of Los Angeles.
Populated with wistful ghosts, love-stricken fallen angels, insatiable demons, and other ethereal beings masquerading as humans, the series is a 21st century morality tale.
The series centers on supernatural beings who attempt to seduce the forlorn of the city with promises of love, fulfillment, and the attainment of dreams deferred.
This struggle mirrors series creator Anne Lower's own battle to retain her artistic integrity in the face of the commercial demands of Hollywood.
As a result, Ms. Lower's writing gives They Live Among Us a beautifully haunting, elegiac sheen that is extremely compelling to watch.
9. The True Heroines
What if housewives in the 1950s possessed superpowers?
Welcome to the world of the sensational web series The True Heroines.
A period piece a la Mad Men, but with the comic book sensibility of Heroes, the series follows the post-World War II exploits of Margie, Dottie, and Pearl - three beautiful women who must reconcile their domestic lives with the fact they are super-human.
Unfortunately, the mysterious agency responsible for granting them their unique abilities now wants to permanently silence these extraordinary women.
With its unique premise, charismatic cast, and gorgeous set pieces, The True Heroines is one of the most entertaining and distinct web series currently on the web.
8. Osiris The Series
On the surface, Osiris appears to be a straight forward sci-fi action series about the exploits of a man who can not die.
However, just beneath the surface is a deeply philosophical rumination on life, death, and the true cost of immortality.
When you meet Osiris, you encounter a handsome, brilliant, charming and arrogant man who is used to getting whatever - or whomever he wants.
After living countless lifetimes watching those he loves eventually die, Osiris embraces a purely hedonistic lifestyle he uses to keep others from getting too close.
Complicating his life is a sinister organization intent on capturing him at all costs to learn the secret of his immortality.
Osiris the series is an engaging romp that succeeds in pumping out hot action while not getting bogged down by its own existential themes.
7. Wastelander Panda
This Australian import is one of the most extraordinary sci-fi series currently on the web.
Wastelander Panda is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland akin to Mad Max, but that isn't the extraordinary part.
What makes this project unique is its protagonist: a live-action, anthropomorphic, giant, talking panda bear named Arcayus!
Wastelander Panda chronicles the journeys of Arcayus and his companion Rose, as they traverse a desolated landscape laid waste by an unmentioned cataclysm.
It sounds insane (it is!), but this gorgeously shot series works.
This ambitious series is epic in scope due in part to stunning cinematography, top-notch special effects, and a fascinating mythology.
Wastelander Panda is wildly imaginative sci-fi, and a blast to watch.
00c6 is an entirely Chinese production, and is a still undiscovered sci-fi gem. I'm betting that won't be the case for long.
The series envisions a dystopian, haunting future for China in which its controversial one-child policies have resulted in the decimation of the female population.
The resulting social upheaval has thrown the country into a dark age.
Men are chosen by lottery to fight to the death in a brutal contest for the right to become temporary companions to the few women remaining.
What makes this series so innovative is its prominent social commentary, as well as its transmedia components, which include viral videos and a web site with additional content that can be unlocked.
This project is proof web series can be just as affecting as other, more traditional media.
00c6's bold vision and unflinching social commentary earn it a place on this list.
5. Progress The Series
Progress is an exceptional steampunk web series with a most original premise: set in an alternate 19th century England, citizens of the empire all have access to the internet - powered by steam!
As the series opens you are introduced to hacker Oscar Lerwill.
Bored, Oscar accidentally stumblers upon a file uploaded to the internet by one of the most infamous figures in all of history.
Oscar quickly finds himself embroiled in the insane machinations of a certain Whitechapel terror.
Progress is a visual treat with impressive Victorian sets, costumes, dialogue and visual effects - all with the flamboyant flourishes found only in the steampunk genre.
Armed with its truly original premise and excellent production value, Progress is poised to become a seminal work in the steampunk genre.
4. Super Knocked Up
What happens when a powerful superhero and his sworn arch-enemy have a baby together after a one-night stand?
You get the smart and hilarious comedy web series Super Knocked Up!
Set against the backdrop of a world where good and evil super-beings are commonplace, you witness two people re-negotiating their relationship and their lives after an unplanned pregnancy.
Though a comedy, there are also more than a few moments of poignancy as Captain Amazing and Darkstar come to terms with their new reality - being parents.
Brilliantly conceived (pun intended) by creator Jeff Burns, Super Knocked Up is a wonderful blend of comedy, drama, and comic book homage.
3. HPlus The Digital Series
HPlus is the epic web series which boasts X-Men director Bryan Singer as an executive producer.
It's also the only project on this list produced by a major studio - the digital entertainment division of Warner Brothers.
However, HPlus' producing pedigree is NOT the reason it's on this list - it's because of its vision and scope.
Set in a near future, most of the world has abandoned cell phones, tablets, and laptops in favor of a new technology that connects the human nervous system directly to the internet.
Now external hardware is unnecessary in order to access the web, make phone calls, or consume streaming video or music.
It seems to be the dawn of a new golden age of technology - until a catastrophic event throws humanity into a new dark age.
Though made exclusively for the web, HPlus is a spectacular showcase of intelligent writing, smart casting, and production value that easily matches anything you would see on television or in the theater.
2. Heroes Of The North
What if the characters in a superhero comic book literally came to life?
They would probably look a lot like the costumed adventurers that populate the universe of Heroes Of The North, an ambitious transmedia project that includes novels, comic books - and the crown jewel - a dynamic, action-packed web series.
Produced and set in Canada, the web series follows a group of superheroes charged by the government to keep the peace, and protect the nation from threats to security both foreign as well as domestic.
Every aspect of this project features production value that looks as if millions of dollars were attributed to the budget.
The far more impressive reality is Heroes Of The North is independently produced and financed.
This is a powerful testament to the talent, passion, and dedication of the producers, writers, cast and crew.
The plotting is another hallmark, as the ancillary media adds greater depth and complexity to the main storyline. This makes for a truly immersive entertainment experience.
If you love action, intrigue, superheroes and comic books, you will find much to love in Heroes Of The North.
1. STILL The Web Series
The spot at the top of our list goes to STILL, a chilling sci-fi web series set in the American northwest.
The product of the brilliantly demented mind of creator Jonathan Holbrook, this series is a refreshing take on the overdone zombie subgenre.
STILL opens in the quaint fictional town of Sloughtown, Washington - a municipality that could be the sister-city to the iconic Twin Peaks.
As the citizens go about their lives during a seemingly typical day, the sky above begins emitting unearthly noises.
What the unsuspecting townsfolk realize too late is, those sounds herald the arrival of a terrifying extraterrestrial event.
As you witness Sloughtown gradually succumbing to the horror unleashed upon it, the tension, dread and suspense mount exponentially - all without gratuitous gore and violence.
A feat failed at by many similarly-themed projects with bigger budgets and higher profiles.
STILL is an absorbing, tense, sci-fi thriller guaranteed to make your skin crawl.
There you have it, the complete listing of top 20 sci-fi web series of 2013.
Each of these projects represent the tip of the iceberg in exciting science fiction being made for the web.
They are part of a growing vanguard of visionary creators who are blazing a new trail in entertainment with electrifying filmmaking free from the constraints of traditional media - and sci-fi fans everywhere are the beneficiaries.
So please support these innovative filmmakers in any - and every - way you can!
Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2014,
Founder, The 7th Matrix
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