The biggest doesn’t always mean the best, and millions of subscribers don’t always equate to high-quality content. With thousands of videos appearing on YouTube every minute, it can be difficult to keep up with the content you like. You may also not know where to start.
Fortunately, we do – if you’re looking for some quality content this year, we know which channels are worth trying.
Science, philosophy and learning
Want to learn everything there is to know about physics but don’t have a long attention span? The physics of minutes makes science easy to understand with videos that rarely go on for more than a few minutes (the longest is about seven minutes, but most on average around 1:30). The channel helps explain everything from “What is fire?“To the recent discovery of the Boson of Higgs. Now you don’t have to feel lost when your geek friends discuss science and you can stop trying to learn from “The Big Bang Theory”.
Made by the two responsible brothers Vlog Brothers, Hank and John Green, this channel offers short 40-video courses on everything from biology to literature. Using illustrations and animations, these videos can make anyone interested in a nomenclature and perhaps help you pass a test or two.
Big Think gathers some of the greatest figures of philosophy, science and other fields to discuss important ideas in short and understandable videos. Whether you want to hear physicist Michio Kaku talk about aliens or learn tips on how to improve your mental health, Big Think is a source of knowledge.
Art and culture
Cinema theory can be difficult to digest; Lessons from the script examine various popular films, analyzing what makes their stories work – or in some cases, failing. Topics vary: one video uses The Avengers to discuss the differences between three and five act narrative structures, another uses Blade Runner as a case study in the construction of a science fiction noir story.
Another channel of film studies, Now You See It examines various aspects of cinema, explaining the different techniques that a filmmaker could employ and why they could use them. Topics include costumes, the use of geometry in character design and how to properly scare horror movies.
Seattle public radio station KEXP it hosts some of the most interesting alternative musicians today and the station publishes videos of these performances – half concert and half interview – on its YouTube channel. The KEXP studio has incredible acoustics and each performance sounds clear and intimate.
NPR is not just a reference organization for in-depth radio talk. Its music division includes a number of programs and the NPR Music YouTube channel contains a number of great shows. The crown jewel of NPR Music is the Small desk series of concerts, in which the artists visit the office of the NPR and perform intimate shows, often reduced.
Cooking and food
If you’ve ever been in a late night conversation with your friends about mixing lasagna and poutine would be the most delicious thing ever, Epic Meal Time is for you. These Canadians will take the bullet for you and add bacon or wings to just about anything … just to see what happens. This is not for vegetarians or the faint hearted.
In his weekly series Binging with Babish, the guest Andrew Rea combines pop culture and cuisine, recreating the dishes seen in films and shows with immaculate details. Despite the premise, Binging isn’t just fun; Rea guides viewers through each step of each recipe, explaining things with a clarity and confidence that should allow any viewer to create their own Beef Wellington (or pumpkin pies from the Harry Potter films).
If you want to entertain guests – or simply cut down on your bar expenses – it’s a good idea to know how to make a cocktail. Cocktail Chemistry divides the recipes for various cocktails, ranging from classics such as Old Fashioned and Negroni to more imaginative recipes. The channel also includes videos on bartending techniques, so you can take your cocktail game to the next level.
The Giant Bomb video game website combines a passion for gaming with hilarious personalities; the site staff is a row of journalist murderers. The site’s YouTube channel hosts its free video content, including Quick Looks (where the demonstration members of staff members, who get a first-hand look at how they play) and recordings of GB’s popular podcasts.
Video game journalist Jim Sterling (formerly Destructoid and The Escapist) is one of the game’s most stormy personalities, as a short tour of his YouTube channel should demonstrate. Sterling’s flagship series is The Jimquisition, in which he expresses his pointed (often caustic) opinions on the latest trends in the gaming sector.
Imagine if Tim Curry he screamed a lot and hosted a video game channel. This is NerdCubed. Daniel Hardcastle will play any game imaginable, from Spiderman 2 to Flight Control, and will say “bloody” so many times that you will want to jump on a double-decker bus and drink tea in a red telephone box. Search for videos with his dad, the two play exactly the same way, so it’s fun to figure out who is who. Most of the videos on this channel are quite long, so be sure to take enough time to procrastinate.
Travel and adventures
Louis Cole does more in a month than most people in their entire lives. He and his head full of dreadlocks document his adventures all over the world and them want make you jealous. Although it usually doesn’t provide travel advice, it will show you things to add to your wish list, such as a stay in an igloo or a walk in a haunted and abandoned prison. Whether you decide to follow his example or simply live vicariously through him, Louis will make sure to see something unique in each video.
Otherwise known as Tourist2Townie, Gareth Leonard’s short videos are more similar to trailers in some countries than to travel diaries. They consist of scenes of landscapes and people who get down to music, which is a great way to get a little taste of what a country has to offer. Leonard’s goal is to immerse himself so much in the culture of a place that feels like a local. Decide if it is successful.
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