Most filmmakers can’t afford Manhattan — correction: most human beings can’t — so it’s no wonder many web series take place in, or are filmed in, the outer boroughs.
After I Hate Being Single and Lena Dunham got press for representing Brooklyn, I decided to cobble together a list of scripted web shows set or filmed in Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx — with a couple extras thrown in. Of course there are tens of thousands of web shows, many of them shot in New York city, so this is just a sampler. (There are, for instance, some great docu-series and talk shows like Revel in New York, S.H.I.T, Chris Gethard, and Subway Sessions).
Please email me good ones I left out and I might keep this post updated, unless it just gets too long. Many thanks to New York web series creators on Facebook for helping me out. (Sidebar: It’s really great to see a community of producers/actors/directors in evidence here; a lot of people show up in various shows, behind and in front of the camera! Sidebar 2: UCB folks basically run the city).
12 STEPS TO RECOVERY
The series follows a recently single man as he dates his way to recovery from a bad break-up. The show shoots all over New York City, including the boroughs. (Click here for my interview with creator Tony Clomax).
A struggling actress deals with pursuing her dream in the city.
ANYONE BUT ME
The web’s most popular gay series recently concluded, but over the course of three seasons, the show has bounced around from Westchester, Manhattan and the outer boroughs. (Click here and here for interviews with creative team Tina Cesa Ward and Susan Miller).
This very New York-y series from Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson is possibly headed to FX, but take a minute to enjoy the splendid simplicity of its satire online.
BROOKLYN IS IN LOVE
A romantic drama with an attractive and diverse cast.
BROOKLYN IS FOR LOVERS
A self-described “sex comedy served up in wwweb-tastic portions,” this series explores a diverse — lebisan, gay male, black and white — cast of young Brooklynites.
One of the earliest indie video web series, The Burg remains the classic online show about Williamsburg.
Shot all over New York, this noir detective series beings with the mystery of shady “shimmer men.”
A personal favorite, duder explores the misadventures of a group of neurotic and socially awkward friends, primarily Glen, who is gay, and Ricky, who is straight. What’s more Brooklyn than that? (Click for my interview with creator Matt Kirsch).
Most series about Brooklyn focus on white hipsters. East WillyB flips the script, satirizing Williamsburg’s gentrification and its effect on a Latino community. (Click for my interview with creators Yamin Segal and Julia Grob).
GOOD NEIGHBOR MINUTE
Nobody wants to hang with their neighbors in New York! Katina Coorao (also on Jack in a Box, by guest star on Michael Cyril Creighton) plays the world’s worst nosey neighbor.
GOOD PEOPLE IN LOVE
Anyone But Me co-creator Tina Cesa Ward’s drama starts with an engagement and a dark challenge to prove whether love and marriage are still worth it.
I HATE BEING SINGLE
I Hate Being Single deals with the everyday foibles of perenially single Rob (also a Broad City director) while avoiding cheap jokes about Brooklyn as a haven for trust-funded hipsters.
IT GETS BETTERISH
A delightful series parodying gay life, from Lady Gaga to orgies. (Click for an interview with creators Eliot Glazer — brother of Broad City‘s Ilana — and Brent Sullivan).
JACK IN A BOX
Jack in a Box follows the personal and professional life of Jack, a thespian whose career and love life are in a near-constant state of disrepair. (Click for my interview with creator Michael Cyril Creighton).
Nelson George unleashes a legion of a diverse group of women in this Fort Greene-set drama. See all episodes at the site above or on Digital Chick TV.
If Hollywood is to be believed, Harlem might as well be a borough: very few shows or movies are set there. Lenox Ave. creator and Harlem-native Al Thompson explicitly set out to remedy this with his male-led soap about reaching adulthood.
This inventive and funny “romantic sketch comedy” follows Jamie and her less-than-desirable love life in New York.
This all-Broolyn shot thriller about a DJ with a taste for cannibalism has strong horror and surrealistic elements (from Al Thompson collaborator Jorge Rivera).
Two politically incorrect lesbians explore their neighborhood of Park Slope. The increasingly popular show features cameos from the likes of Michael Showalter.
Like Tiny Apartment below, Squatters is Manhattan-set but the premise is borough-friendly: the island is hella expensive.
THEN WE GOT HELP!
This series, shot in creator Julie Ann Emery’s house in Queens, focuses on four couples conducting group therapy sessions — think Modern Family but more raw. (Click for my interview with Emery).
With Girls premiering on HBO next week, the Lena Dunham promotional vehicle has unearthed her previous work, including this very Brooklyn-y show about an artist commune, originally published by Nerve.com.
Okay, so it takes place in Manhattan. But! It’s entire premise is why people move to Brooklyn. The series might be best known for its hilarious episode about The Wire — featuring cameos from Ilana Glazer and Will Forte — so I’ll post another one, “Flippity Do,” because it’s a cute commentary on race and Hollywood, it showcases the tinyness of the apartment, and I know two of the guest stars (Kevin Bradley, Jr. and Dennis A. Allen II). Never said I wasn’t biased.
Gay bear brothers in Brooklyn support and foil each other in absurd ways. Featuring actual bears. (Click for my interview with creator Vinny Lopez).
Etsy vendors buy a fashion magazine and turn it into a “hipster third-wave feminist” rag for hard-nosed journalism like “the best cocktails for your tiki party.”
WE NEED GIRLFRIENDS
Like The Burg, this early web show generated significant interest because of its humorous portrayal of borough life.