Learn as much as you can about Norway in a twenty-minute video. (Source: Geography Now/YouTube)
Okay, so I fully accept that most people aren’t as into geography as I am, but millions of people watch this channel that not only breaks down the geography but also the culture and history of literally every country on the planet.
Started a few years ago, each week—or nearly every week—the show has run alphabetically through every country in the world, most recently Senegal. On top of that, the channel has special episodes where they break down political divisions within countries, regions, etc.
Look, I know it’s super nerdy, but for anybody who’s curious about the rest of the world and doesn’t have the money to see the rest of the world, this is a nice consolation.
Big fan of the Mel Gibson epic “Braveheart?” Ever wondered if that’s what ancient Scotland was actually like? Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t. (Source: History Buffs/YouTube)
To get even nerdier, let’s now talk about history and how historically inaccurate movies are.
Seriously though, for anybody who has ever wondered how accurate some of the most famous historic epics are, look no further than History Buffs.
For anybody who likes history, it’s obviously fun, but as someone who is also a history buff, it’s nice to see somebody poke holes in every Mel Gibson movie about history he’s ever made.
A special episode, in which Dr. Emily Zarka travels to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to explore the Mothman mythos. (Source: Storied/YouTube)
Originally started as “Monstrum”, a PBS-funded show about creatures from myth and lore, both ancient and contemporary, “Storied” now encompasses “Monstrum” and “It’s Lit,” a show about, well, literature, hosted by longtime YouTuber Lindsay Ellis and Princess Weekes. The show breaks down classic works of literature, as well as genres, and other subjects pertaining to literature.
For fans of lore and literature, Storied is a goldmine of quality hours just waiting to be burned.
Entertain the Elk
The popular TV show The Office has been “dead” for nearly a decade now, but for many fans of the show, there is arguably a day where the show crashed. (Source: YouTube/Entertain the Elk)
Much in the vein of Nerdwriter1, “Entertain the Elk” breaks down pop culture with periodical video essays that take apart when popular TV shows lost their magic, how certain musicians write their music, the techniques of filmmakers, among a bevy of other topics that any popular culture fan would love to spend their time engaging with.
Also, he does soundtrack supercuts. For film fans that love the marriage of picture and music, it is well worth the watch.
SB Nation/Jon Bois
A breakdown of why the “new” Cleveland Browns which were resurrected in 1999 are not only bad, perhaps one of the saddest teams in sports history. (Source: YouTube/SB Nation)
For those of you who like sports, but can’t really stand the “Yell Talk Shows” that most sports shows are and rather prefer the weird nuance and unmanufactured storytelling of sports, SB Nation and especially Jon Bois are your ticket to the best stuff at the heart of sports: the fact that it is absurd and somehow insanely captivating.
Jon Bois, who has a YouTube channel of his own, breaks down the absurd in sports, and for the nerdier fans like myself, the statistical anomalies in “Chart Party.” As for SB Nation, well, they have a shows like “Dorktown,” which recently broke down the entire history of the Seattle Mariners, as well as shows like “Rewind,” which explains big moments in sports history and what led up to them and “Collapse,” a show that breaks down the slow decay of one-storied sports franchises and what lead to their demise.
Through SB Nation and Jon Bois, we see more of the absurdity and storytelling of sports, rather than the yelling and predictions.
Behind the Curtain
Nic Pizzolato, creator of “True Detective” explains how he got into television and the concept behind his mind-bending take on the detective drama. (Source: YouTube/Behind the Curtain)
“Behind the Curtain,” a channel that plays audio interviews by filmmakers and actors under clips of the film in question, is both informative and a great YouTube channel to watch when your eyes are occupied.
Most channels on film, including the ones I’ve thus far included, take what filmmakers have said or what the YouTuber in question’s insights lead them to believe and dissect each piece. Whereas with “Behind the Curtain,” you’re getting the unfettered opinions and insights by the filmmakers themselves, patched together in a way that informs film lovers as to what the filmmakers intended and where their heads were during the creative process.
Draper dissects the Mark Waid/Alex Ross classic in an attempt to find the humanity at the core of these absurd characters. (Source: Matt Draper/YouTube)
Matt Draper is suggested for those who love comic books or comic book characters and likewise for those who just want a really long, breezy breakdown of your favorite film, horror movie, or whatever pop culture pastiche you crave as you wash the dishes for the hundredth time or lazily layabout through another Sunday…or is it Tuesday? It’s hard to say with a quarantine time table hammered into your brain at this point.
Draper’s voice is calming, setting him apart from the large number of YouTube Channels that delve into comics,film or pop culture. He delves into the substance of said subject, rather than just shouting out references or whatever it is they do on those other pop culture shows on YouTube. In fact, I often can’t take most pop culture-related media because it delves for that lowest common denominator pop culture diarrhea, wherein the hosts make bad jokes and dissect trailers to the umpth degree in an attempt to drive up views.
No. Draper and the vast majority of the channels on here aim to deal not with the digestibility of its content, but rather, dig deep into the substance.
In Praise of the Shadows
There was once a time when horror novel covers looked, well, like horror novels. (Source: YouTube/In Praise of the Shadows)
Much like Matt Draper, Nerdwriter1 and Entertain The Elk, “In Praise of the Shadows” is another YouTube Channel that takes apart entities of pop culture like film, TV, books and so on. What sets it apart is some of its long-form content, such as his “Anatomy of the Franchise” series, or his nearly three-hour-long, three-part video about the history of witches.
Beyond that, he makes digestible videos that explore popular horror films and far less popular films, such as the Peter Straub film adaptation of his novel “Ghost Story” and South Korean Na Hong-jin film “The Wailing.”
Hopefully, with all of those suggestions, you’ll have plenty to keep you inside and distracted for some time to come. I sincerely hope you’re not losing your quarantined mind. It’s tough and weird.