YouTube Originals content to binge during the COVID-19 lockdown

Robert Downey Jr, Justin Bieber, Michelle Obama, Hajime

Robert Downey Jr, Justin Bieber, Michelle Obama, Hajime  

While we are on coronavirus lockdown, tune into these high-production shows and films by YouTube Originals

Lockdown has ushered in new ways to entertain oneself, digital or otherwise, and we have given you our fair share of listicles for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar but there’s a platform worth our attention, too: YouTube Originals.

That’s right, YouTube is not just for make-up tutorials, recaps of our favourite sports news of the quotidian lives of vloggers. YouTube Originals was officially launched on September 24, 2019, but way before then, there were already an impressive line-up on content, from the bone-chilling kind to the sort which make you chuckle a bit during these difficult times.

Majority of the content is available in 4K along with closed captioning as well as subtitles in French, Japanese and German, among other languages. However, some content is restricted to YouTube Premium users. Pre-paid and subscription plans are available, starting at ₹129 per month.

Here is our list of unmissable YouTube Originals:

‘The Age Of A.I.’


Robert Downey Jr summons his inner-Tony Stark as he hosts this sci-tech show which addresses the ongoing convergence of futurism (in this case, Artificial Intelligence) and humanity. The show kicked off on December 18, 2019. It seems, though, that Downey Jr himself checks his Tony Stark ego at the door, given the very real and astounding advancements in the discussed fields. The series comprises impressive nuances in med-tech, an AI baby, and an ex-NFL star regaining his voice, making it appealing to those who consider themselves technophobes.

There are 8 episodes of ‘The Age Of A.I.’, each about half an hour long.



Bibliophiles, you haven’t been forgotten. BookTube isn’t just an informal name for the book-loving community on the platform anymore, it’s now a full-fledge show which made its foray into YouTube on March 19. The series features Michelle Obama, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, Jaqueline Woodson and Melinda Gates.

Expect discussions on not just the literary world but also social issues such as placement of the LGBTQ+ communities, racial disparity and family. The Michelle Obama episode extensively delves into the back-story of her memoir Becoming which she discusses intensively with author John Green.

There are 7 episodes of ‘BookTube’ , each around 15 minutes long.

‘Justin Bieber: Seasons’


The Canadian pop star has not had an easy life in the limelight; he struggled with mental health issues, personal relationships and a hectic schedule as a musician. Seasons, which launched on January 27, features never-before-seen footage of his music-making career, his quotidian life with wife Hailery Bieber (nee Baldwin), as well as confessionals with the 26-year-old sensation himself.

“My life is changing a lot,” Bieber says at one point of the series, adding, “Getting married, getting back in the studio, talking about getting married. Just being creative with being in this new chapter. And being happy about what I’m doing and being in a good space; a better headspace.”

There are 10 episodes of ‘Seasons’, each an average of 10 minutes long.

The Fake Show


A Hajime production, The Fake Show is a satirical commentary on the often ill-perceived life of well-known YouTubers who are known to frequently glamourise their lifestyles. The plot follows Shotaro who strives to go above and beyond to make a name for himself in a fast-saturating YouTuber market. Unfortunately, chaos ensues when Shotaro’s doppelganger steals his account. Though the premise is straightforward, the humour and direction of the show is impressive, once again reminding us that Japanese entertainment is eons ahead of many of us.

The 11-episode show kicked off on December 12, 2018, before the genesis of YouTube Originals, but this has been added to the Originals collection.



Eminem and acclaimed music video director Joseph Kahn come together for this YouTube Original feature film. It follows Berkeley grad student Adam Merkin who gets sucked into the rap-battle game after meeting icon Behn Grym and accidentally competing in — and winning — his first battle. Do we expect a plot of any other kind from Eminem? Rising through the ranks of the battle scene with his provocative insults, Adam alienates his academic buddies, uptight girlfriend, and literary professor father.

The R-rated two-hour feature film launched on the platform on November 28.

Weird City


Another dark horse in the YouTube Original realm is this Jordan Peele masterpiece. Weird City follows a halved society, segregated by economic class: Above The Line, populated by Haves, and Below The Line, populated by Have-Nots. We already know this is going to be a good watch.

The series stars Dylan O’Brien, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera and LeVar Burton. Colourful production design and self-aware writing make for a rivetting watch.

The six-episodic series launched on February 13, 2019, but it deserves a spot on our list purely because, well, Jordan Peele.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 8:39:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/youtube-originals-films-and-web-series-to-binge-during-lockdown/article31215322.ece

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