Twitch annoys and fundamentally alienates me at every turn. I hate the terrible video player, I hate that every stream I accidentally click on makes me sit through a 30 second ad, I hate that the search and archiving systems are so unrefined, and I hate the idea of live streaming in general. How to people watch live streams, do they have a catalogue what different streams they want to watch each day, or do they just click on random streams until they discover something they like? Most importantly how-to people have the time to do any of this? Twitch just seems like so much work with very little payoff in comparison to its competitors, for my attention.
YouTube has redefined entertainment for young people entirely. I grew up (and kids are growing up now) with an unlimited stream (pun intended) of entirely free content to consume, at all times. Everything is free on YouTube and everything is on YouTube. The video player is near perfection, no other system compares, every other platform video player sucks in comparison to YouTube’s for some reason. They have that system locked down and that’s why YouTube has no competitors, it has an unrivalled install base and a familiarised infrastructure. YouTube is integrated into nearly every hour of my existence, it’s what I spend nearly all my time doing and its completely stream-lined, so why would I even bother with a fumbling mess like Twitch. So now I ask you, how does anyone use this terrible platform?
Reaction channels have been notorious on YouTube and in the YouTube community for a few years now. The main contention against the concept of reaction videos is that they steal content that isn’t there’s and profit from it, and people watch the videos because of the video being reacted to instead of the personality reacting to the content. Reaction videos have been largely dismissed by respectable YouTube viewing audiences and is seen as an immature thing to watch or create, but I would like to humour the counter-argument and present reaction channels that I personally enjoy watching and think are doing it right.
You’ll notice that the three examples I give are all of a certain sub-genre of reaction channels that primarily cover television media. They aren’t usually ripping YouTube videos and adding nothing transformative, they are cutting sections of their genuine live reactions to the chosen show, and then at length, discussing the show afterwards. Patient zero for this genre of online reaction video seems to be Blind Wave, who got big mainly off their Game of Thrones reaction series. In this interesting endeavour Eric (book reader and Game of Thrones veteran) guided Calvin (an absolutely blind, first time viewer) through a watch-through of the highly acclaimed show Game of Thrones. This was an interesting and engaging dynamic that drew big numbers on YouTube and introduced me to their channel. Now they’ve continued this formula of brief reaction followed by long-form discussion into many other area’s and media properties like My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Death Note, Black Sails, The Walking Dead among others, in a continuously growing catalogue of worth-while reactionary content.
Obviously, imitators of this formula began to sprout out on YouTube everywhere, but among them was one standout who also started with a Game of Thrones watch-through with a very similar dynamic. FilmBuff saw Im and the other guy (I can’t remember his name) go through Game of Thrones; and even if they never finished it due to conflicting scheduling obligations, it’s still worth a watch. But recently Im has proven his contents-worth with his solitary reaction effort with Attack on Titan. He’s slowly catching up and watching him slowly discover and unravel the idiosyncrasies of the series is fun. It’s also enjoyable to see as he continues to develop his ever-evolving catalogue of reactionary content with his analytical breakdowns post reaction.
Finally, the last channel I would like to highlight as succeeding in creating worth-while content through reactions is Semblance of Sanity. These guys recently came to my attention due to their unique Berserk reactions, get on-top of the manga boys. They have some incredibly draw out and interesting conversations surrounding Berserk and seeing them try to analyse the complexity of Berserk’s themes with such an isolated and brief look into Berserk through the 90s anime is captivating. They might just be my favourite reaction channel and they have equally as impressive reactionary content and discussion with series’ like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan. They’re signature lengthy discussions are what set them apart and it’s what attracts me most to their content, even if they can be over the top at times.
That’s my 2 cents on the reaction video genre on YouTube. Sure, a majority of the channel churning out similar content to these three highlighted examples are trash but, we shouldn’t collectively dismiss all these ‘reaction’ channels. Don’t through the baby out with the bathwater, there’s something of value here. What do you think about reactionary content? Is it all trash, or are their redeemable, worth-while creators out there?
What do I prefer in YouTube content? It’s how I spend most of my time and there are two categories of videos I believe are my favourite to consume, engaging short (less than 30 minutes) well-edited videos about a single topic or alternatively long-form (longer than 30 minutes) discussions or podcasts that are useful for background noise while doing chores or play video games. The various PCP University Lectures are a thrilling intertwine of both these types of video. They are incredibly long, nearly always over 2 hours in length, but they are also engaging for their entire runtime. The Procrastinators are a group of neat boys including some your favourite YouTube personalities like BestGuyEver, Digibro, Endless Jess and others. On their collaborative channel they have series wherein a particular member of the group gives a university lecture about a certain media property and attempt to explain the usually convoluted aspects of it, to usually blind and unsuspecting onlookers.
The standout examples I’ve watched so far include, BestGuyEver’s duel lectures on Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Watching the others descend slowly into insanity as they try to understand the Kingdom Hearts lore is so captivating. Similar things could be said about the great Guilty Gear lecture, but my favourite is Digibro’s explanation of the ‘Hottest Goss in the Universe.’ I knew next to nothing about the Dick Masterson and Maddox drama, but after watching Digi’s explanation I’m now fully invested and subscribed to The Dick Show on YouTube. I highly recommend this lecture to anyone even tangentially interested in the Maddox/Dick Masterson drama, you won’t regret it. All these are fundamental presentations of the brilliance of this format.
I’m in love with this format of video and am dying for more similar content, so hurry up boys I’m thirsty. Additionally, at some point I myself would love to cover a topic in this format. I’ve always had this interesting idea to explain Naruto chronologically to someone who knew nothing about it, and think this format is perfect for it. But to do that I’ll have to infiltrate the PCP first…