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We are in the golden age of content. In addition to the amazing quality and variety available to us on network and cable television, we now have many broadcast-quality shows with huge followings on YouTube. Battling for views and subscribers is hard, and for every channel with one million or more subscribers, there are hundreds with only dozens of regular viewers. With so much trying to battle for our attention, we here at GeekDad thought we would share some of our favorite YouTube channels that are criminally underrated (and under-viewed). Here are seven of our favorites that we hope will soon become yours:
There are countless unboxing videos on YouTube, but Future Cyborg is definitely the only one that takes place in the ’80s in your neighbor’s basement with the toys from your childhood. Hosts Todd and Russell have somehow time traveled to bring us detailed examinations on “new” toys from the early ’80s before diving in and opening up actual vintage toys. If the thought of instantly devaluing a collector piece makes you cringe, then you may want to stay away, but I urge you to stick around. Equal parts review show and nostalgia trip, Future Cyborg mixes top-quality production value with quirky and humorous entertainment to bring you an offbeat walk down memory lane. Season two, covering toys from the years 1982-1986 with six episodes slated, was just announced. – Preston Burt
They’re an indie film troupe that make comedy and comedic-mystery mini-movies that are both nerdy-clever and over-the-top ridiculous at once, led by a brother/sister writing/acting duo and Lydia-from-the-much-more-well-known-Lizzie-Bennett-Diaries. They’re not entirely unknown, but I love their work so much–I can watch it over and over, which I can’t say about many shows–that I feel like they OUGHT to be far better known, so I’m plugging them. If you like straight-faced wordplay, historical references, meta jokes, and shockingly good soundtracks (I seriously love whoever writes their music), you have to check them out. – Amy Weir
It’s hard to describe exactly who or what Bob Zarzadeck is since his videos are constantly evolving, but whatever it is that I find myself watching, it’s funny. A self-professed “control panel technician,” Bob seems to keep the viewer and himself unsure of what will happen next. From faux informational videos like “Things You Can’t Do if You’re a Dinosaur” to his series of hilarious “Is it OK to Drink That?” episodes, the absurdist humor of Mark Shields shines. Not only do I hope more people see what’s already been created because it deserves it, but I selfishly hope more viewers means more episodes so I can watch them. – Preston Burt
I discovered the YouTube channel Welcome to the West in the most unusual of circumstances. I was walking through downtown Prescott, Arizona, when I heard the raucous cacophony of a country guitar and a stand-up bass hammering away from a dusty saloon. I stepped inside and was mesmerized by what could only be described as a full-fledged hootenanny going down in front of me. It was freezing outside, too cold for snow, but people had thrown off their coats and were two-stepping in a frenzied fashion to some of the best Western music I had ever heard live. I had almost forgotten that “Western” existed as a separate genre from “Country;” I’m reminded now of that famous line from the Blues Brothers when Jake and Elwood are told that the bar they’re performing in has both kinds of music available. When I got home I spent hours scouring the internet for more examples of modern Western music and was delighted when I found Welcome to the West on YouTube. This station catalogs the efforts of modern Western artists in a series of captivating live performances with incredible fidelity and the kind of recording technique that will delight even the most critical of listeners. – Chris Wickersham
Gavin makes cheese at his home and records the entire process. He shows how to make seemingly difficult cheeses at home where you can control the ingredients and process. And it doesn’t hurt that he calls everyone “Curd Nerds.” – Samantha Fisher
If you’re a nostalgia junkie with an affinity for VHS tapes like me, then Dolton TV has you covered. Not only has channel curator Ryan done the Lord’s work of preserving some long-lost television footage from VHS, but he’s also given us the delightful VH-Ed (who may or may not be a puppet with a VHS tape for a head). Ed’s curated content is presented with humor and heart and the many classic clips trigger long-forgotten memories. The production quality leaves a little to be desired, but perhaps with more viewers and that sweet, sweet YouTube video monetization, we’ll hopefully see VH-Ed’s production quality match the same high quality of the actual content. – Preston Burt
Movie reviews are a dime a dozen on YouTube, but Chuck Dowling of Watercooler Films stands out amid the clutter with his deftly cultivated content focused on B-grade horror movies. One of the hosts of the long-running Bad Movie Friends podcast (or BMFcast), Dowling’s commentary is hilariously on point critiquing these lovable losers. Though there are other randomly interspersed videos on his channel, the 31 Horror Movies in 31 Days he releases each year are the cream of the crop. – Preston Burt
Gaming content probably makes up 1/3 of the entirety of YouTube, but most of that is devoted to retro and modern video game consoles and PC games, however only a criminally minuscule portion of them focus on pinball. Straight Down the Middle is part video podcast, part review show, and part instructional video focusing entirely on the silverball. Pinball may not be as mainstream as it once was, but the fans that are out there are absolutely diehard and the guys from SDTM are no different. Not only do they cover classics like Indiana Jones, they mostly cover the newest releases such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Houdini, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Many hardcore collectors and players may already know about this channel, but even casual enthusiasts or complete newbs can appreciate the expert insight from SDTM and maybe even ignite a newfound passion. Be warned, however. When you fall for pinball, you fall HARD. – Preston Burt
Bonus Content: Other YouTube Channels We Love
Okay, okay. I know we said we’d share with you some under-the-radar YouTube gems, but we also wanted to make sure you already knew about a couple of better-known gems too.
In a world of viral videos of faked stuff, Captain D is the wacky superhero unmaking the truth. Videos on the channel typically take on the latest “incredible” viral videos on YouTube and show how they were faked. But he also branches out into other realms of skepticism and the amazing world of video effects, with a geeky sense of humor and an endearing, self-effacing earnestness. If there were any justice in the world of YouTube, he’d have millions of followers. – Ken Denmead
OK, sure. This channel already has over 7 million subscribers, but there’s hundreds of millions of people on the planet and they all need to know about Primitive Technology. The basic gist is this guy goes into the woods and constructs tools, housing, and clothing using only, get this… primitive technology. Unlike the boisterous in-your-face bombast of many YouTube videos, Primitive Technology has no narration and the only sounds are of nature. Soothing and fascinating, this channel gives you a certain appreciation for how hard early civilizations had to work to construct things we take for granted. One fascinating episode and you’ll be hooked. – Preston Burt
Click through to read all of “Staff Picks: 7 Criminally Underrated YouTube Channels” at GeekDad.