Welcome back to my weekly Sci-Fi/Fantasy recommendation here at Stareable! I’m spatulawilwheat, aka Meaghan. I’m a student and sci-fi/webseries fanatic, and this is the place where I showcase new and old webseries in the science fiction and fantasy genre.
Last week: Anamnesis. Check that out here.
- Creators: EQAL
- Where to Watch: The series takes place on MANY channels, the first season is compiled here as a playlist and others can be found easily by searching.
- Starring: Jessica Rose, Yousef Abu-Taleb, Jackson Davis
- Overview: A 16-year-old girl’s vlogs depart from usual teenage drama into cult territory.
- Fun Fact: The show was originally portrayed as a real blog, with Bree sending video responses to real YouTubers, posting on MySpace, and talking about being a teenager.
- Tags: vlog-style, female lead, small cast, heavy transmedia, main character in what is essentially a cult, religion
“Hi guys! Um, So this is my first video blog. I’ve been watching for a while and I really like a lot of you guys on here.”
The first words of the eponymous lonelygirl15, aka Bree, began the first real transmedia webseries in a quite mundane way. What’s interesting about lonelygirl is how easy it is to get sucked into the universe and lore. Simply reading the LG15 wiki can be a rabbit hole that spans several hours (trust me, I know). The series is something else entirely. It’s hard to get into, but once you do it’s like a black hole.
The first chunk of almost 30 episodes completely focuses on the aloof and quirky Bree and her best friend Daniel, goofing off and ‘proving science wrong’. It’s only when Bree starts to talk about her parents and her religion when you start to get some… weird vibes. From there, things escalate quickly. Bandaids on Bree’s arms, chants in foreign languages, talks of a special ceremony, and shots that make her feel strange. Even crazier, it… gets… crazier. There’s an entire conspiracy behind Bree’s life that unravels over the course of the first season, culminating in a 12 part finale taking place over 12 hours.
LG15 isn’t a series with the greatest characters, plot, or production value, but it’s an incredible piece of media for what it is, and what it started as: the vlog of a 16-year-old girl who spends too much time online and comes face to face with something she can’t handle. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much every vlog-based webseries ever. While Bree comes off as a quirky airhead, and Daniel her dorky best friend, everything they do hitting every stereotype, and the entire plot can be overwhelming and entirely unrealistic, that’s where the show actually shines its best: Bree’s everyman persona drew in a vast variety of viewers, whether they loved her or hated her, typical of YouTube fame. The slow build up to the actual plot of the show seamlessly started making viewers ask questions, getting them interested in what was going to happen next.
Bree’s channel rode the hype wave of YouTube and vlogs, and, mostly unnoticed by the webseries community, several channels follow in her footsteps today. Inspired by the reaction channel trend, the Reactor persona quickly became popular, being a cringe-worthy and over-the-top exaggerated view of the channels he was parodying, recently breaking out of prison and stealing a car, among other things. Another in the same vein is seventybroad, which starts with a man confessing to a murder.
I’ve seen so many people brush off LG15 as just a mediocre series that was good enough to kick-start the webseries genre, but in all honesty it is so much more than that. LG15 is an experience and I can only hope something else will come around to match its engagement. Big hits like Carmilla are great to watch and have great storylines and characters, which is all fine and great, but by far the greatest part of LG15, even from just seeing it after the fact, is the community. An absolute must is exploring the LG15 wiki and the official site alongside the story, which breathes so much life into the series. Scour the forums and you’ll find thousands of posts regarding theories, decoding cryptic messages, and conversing with the characters and having a real influence on the story at some points. LG15 is half webseries, half ARG, and is what the genre truly needs at this point to bring some more life back into it. When a webseries could just as easily been made for TV, it brings the question: are webseries just online TV, or an entirely different medium? Lonelygirl15 answers the latter with a resounding yes and a phenomenon that captured the internet for years.
The first season wraps up nicely, but there are several more seasons, including a few spinoffs and a revival for its 10th anniversiary that consisted of less than 10 videos which don’t have an exact ending. It’s not clear if they meant to continue, but with no updates from the creators in almost a year, it might be safe to say that LG15 is finally done for good.
One thing to note is it’s quite the commitment: The action doesn’t start ramping up until about a fifth of the way through, and with the first season clocking in at just under 10 hours with 271 videos, it can seem daunting. However, it’s a wild ride, and once it’s over, you’ll know it was worth every second. Immerse yourself in Bree’s world, and let the classic 2006 240p and shaky handheld camera take you into an insane world.
Content warnings follow after the embedded playlist.
Content warnings: some non-pc language and actions that could be considered mildly ableist or just culturally insensitive, blood, violence, death, scenes featuring medical equipment, disturbing themes, manipulation/cult-like behavior.