Arts·Point of view

Just watch them! 6 must-see web series created by Canadian women

This International Women's Day...go on a YouTube binge. Amanda Parris shares her picks for the best series out there.

This International Women's Day...go on a YouTube binge

Note to self: Watch more web Rakhee Morzaria's Note to Self. (CBC Comedy)

From last year's Women's March on Washington to the rise of the #MeToo movement, women's voices are being amplified in a way that I have never seen before.

Some days it feels affirming.

Other days it feels surreal.

Most of the time it feels terrifying because I have no idea if this is just a blip or a truly watershed moment.

History will illuminate how this moment will translate on a larger level. For now, though, I remain fascinated by how the conversations once relegated to the margins are finally taking centre stage — and being shared on screen.

So, this International Women's Day, I'm highlighting six web series created by Canadian women that you should check out ASAP.

Canada's film industry is tough to crack, and many emerging and established filmmakers are increasingly turning to the medium to tell their stories, develop and experiment with their craft and build a fan base. These six series stand out in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, and they demonstrate the wide range of stories Canadian women are telling.

Now, it's up to us to watch them.

Note to Self

Creator: Rakhee Morzaria

Some of the best comedies revel in the awkwardness of the everyday. In this series from CBC Comedy, creator and star Rakhee Morzaria takes on common situations such as bumping into people in the street or trying to ride her bike in downtown Toronto.

These mundane moments rapidly spiral out of control — usually because of her own misguided sense of righteous confidence. The results are hilarious.


Ghost BFF  

Creator: Vanessa Matsui

Depression, grief and suicide aren't the usual go-to topics for a comedy, but this smart and funny series created by Vanessa Matsui and co-written by Katie Nolan is a must-watch. Despite all the very serious and real issues that are addressed, I literally laughed out loud while watching.

Following two best friends, one of whom is dead and another who is not, each episode ends with a thoughtful mental health PSA.


That's My DJ  

Creator: D.W. Waterson

Waterson is a DJ, drummer, writer and director, and the multi-hyphenate based her award-winning series on her own experiences in the electronic music scene. The result is a visually striking, dramatically riveting inside look. I was stunned by how much a single episode covers in a mere three minutes.

There are three seasons of the show so far, and there's a new lead character each cycle. It's highly binge-able, so watch when you have time to spare.


Terrific Women

Creators: Sara Hennessey and Stephanie Kaliner

If you have any memory of late-night cable access TV, then this might be right up your alley.

Terrific Women is a spoof of a low-budget '70s talk show, and it's co-hosted by two women who have no credentials for the gig. Linda (Hennessey) and Joy (Kaliner) are two neighbours turned BFFs who have decided to try their hand at television. Linda is a divorcee with a penchant for creepy men and even creepier cults, and Joy is a very pregnant chain smoker who's desperate to uncover the identity of the baby's father.

From the hairstyles and costumes to the set design and music, the show oozes '70s aesthetic. It's weird and wonderful and will have you (against your better judgment) wanting to hang out and drink cocktails with Linda and Joy.


Girls Vs. The City

Creators: Brynn Peebles and Brianna Wiens

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and also one of the most expensive. This contrast is captured perfectly in this hilarious comedy about two women struggling to find their place in a city that's become too cool and too pricey — and too devoid of eligible men — seemingly overnight.  

Each episode features many Vancouver-based comedians and improvisers, and it's an incredibly hilarious cast of characters.



Creator: Rakhi Mutta

Full disclosure: Mutta is my friend and I have guest starred on this show. I initially wrote about this series when it was premiering, and three seasons later it has amassed a huge and vocal online following that continues to grow.

Funny, relatable and unlike anything on television, Anarkali is an inside look at the millennial Punjabi diaspora living and loving in Brampton, Ont.


About the Author

Amanda Parris writes a weekly column for CBC Arts and is the host of Exhibitionists on CBC Television and Marvin's Room on CBC Radio. In her spare time, she writes plays, watches too many movies and defends Beyonce against all haters. In her past lives she wrote arts based curriculum, attended numerous acting auditions, and dreamed of being interviewed by Oprah.


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