Five Female-Driven Web Series Every Creator Should Check Out

When we saw the article below we knew we wanted to run it with a positive “woman driver” type punny pic. Soon we found out that was almost impossible because all we could find were images mocking women drivers. We decided to look for an action photo of the world’s most well-known woman racing driver, Danica Patrick – and lo and behold, 99% of those we found were beauty shots. The closest we could come to a pic where a renowned sports figure could be identified engaged in her sport was this: (And it ain’t exactly close at all! Kee-rist!)

Danica Patrick taking a hairpin turn in an Indy racing car
Danica Patrick taking a hairpin turn in an Indy racing car

by Cameron Maitland

As creators of new web series content, we’re constantly excited by the multitude of diverse female-focused series on the web. It would seem that the internet affords us viewers with styles and situations we can’t find on television and in turn it would seem that the most successful series tend to bring something very unique to the table. As we began pre-production on our new series Sisters of Mercy, with a focus on women and diversity as well as storytelling, we looked to some of our favorite series for inspiration. Here’s a list of five, how they inspired us, and why we think they’re worth a watch for any web creator.

Burning Love

Burning Love is a technically brilliant parody of the Bachelor that has run for three seasons skewering everything from the banality of reality tv competition to the wild personalities of those drawn into the spectacle.

With its massive success and involvement of Hollywood A-liters, the ‘inspiring diversity’ angle of Burning Love is often overlooked. Still, at its core Burning Love is created by Erica Oyama and was a brilliant way to highlight female comedic performance. By latching onto the ‘Bachelor’ parody concept Oyama opened a door to fifteen comic actresses, a number that dwarfs the big Hollywood success of Bridesmaids. Also, through its bombastic tone and multi-season arcs it has allowed these actresses a chance to perform the kind of strange, over-the-top humor that has mostly been the providence of male performers online. The abundance of talent on display in Burning Love definitely defeats the notion that the world has a lack of talented funny women.

We think creators looking to focus on women and diversity should look to Burning Love and its building blocks. Oyama saw The Bachelor as popular, female-friendly and woman filled form of entertainment and built and sold her own idea around it. Sometimes the outlets for diversity can be right in front of you, in places you least expect them.

Nikki and Nora

Nikki and Nora is a fun P.I. romp with a twist: the detectives are a lesbian couple. Set on a backdrop of New Orleans, the first season delves into the music scene and all the fun and danger inherent in detective work.

The story of Nikki and Nora is a classic example of the struggles involved with getting diverse content on air. Originally shot as a pilot in 2004 but not picked up, the show leaked online found a fan base among lesbian viewers desperate for content. Creator Nancylee Myatt stuck with the project in the interim, eventually got back the rights and found a home for it online.

Nikki and Nora is a great example of how a relatively traditional genre story can get so much flavor from diversity. There are plenty of female detective shows out there but making the leads lesbians adds a dimension to the storytelling that puts it a cut above cable drama. By pairing with the lesbian content platform Tello Nikki and Nora also found a way to focus on and reward its loyal diverse fan base, as well as provide a strong, traditional series backbone for a fledgling content stream.

Web Creators should see the struggles and successes of Nikki and Nora and Nancylee Myatt as a template for commitment to a creative, diverse idea. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of web series and bail on a project that’s not getting heat but creators shouldn’t be so quick to bail. Nikki and Nora proves that even years later, with the right audience, an idea can be a success.

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The kind of pic found all over the interwebs that we refuse to run, especially with an article like this. Absolutely. No way:

Female-driverUm, we kinda just screwed ourselves with this, didn’t we? Ulp…