Whether a broken heart, a bad day (or week or month), or just a simple case of the transitional blues-- we all need a reminder of love in our lives every now and again. Television and film have culturally been the escape from these emotions, but now we have the new, instant gratification affair with the magic of web series-- available at any given time of day. From the butterflies of a brand new relationship to the magic of sisterhood and community, here are 5 web series to make you believe in love, again:
1. . Issa Rae's First
First is a series created by the phenomenal Issa Rae Productions. The writer/producer who shot to fame after the success of her Awkward Black Girl series, is now the driving force behind other writers and producers of color. Jahmela Biggs is not only the writer, but the co-star of this butterflies-in-the-stomach tale of a rekindled friendship-turned-relationship. Each episode has a theme: "The First Date" "The First Kiss," "The First Argument"-- get it? By the end of each 15-minute episode, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat (or bed), fully prepared for the nostalgia to follow. Luckily, it's usually a good feeling. If you need to get away from exes and past flings, indulge in the beauty of new relationships by watching this. It gets me every time.
2. . Hulu's The Mindy Project
If you're a tv junkie, you may recall the unfortunate end of The Mindy Project due to FOX's chopping board. But by the grace of the internet gods-- Mindy Kaling returned better than ever to Hulu just before moving into her fourth season with the show. Not only is this series about Mindy and all the hilarious, awkward situations she can find, but it's also about her passion for women and their reproductive systems, her witty and modern perspective on everything from condoms to Beyonce as a woman of color, and - of course - her desire for love and a family. Pulling into the fifth season, we find ourselves having loved Mindy through many relationships and breakups, a few engagements and work crises, and now through motherhood and (possibly) single motherhood, at that. All the while, we remain enchanted with her every step with each humanistic fall from grace. If you just need a good laugh about what was and what can be, Mindy and everyone else (especially Tamra) will give you that endorphines boost you've been craving.
3. . Netflix's LOVE
If Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin isn't enough to convince you about the insanely brilliant humor that is to be found in Love, then nothing will. The main characters from the cult movie are similar to the leading roles in this show as well: a hearbroken dorky, white man falling for a rather "hot" and hip white woman-- one most deem out of his league. The opening scene is like looking into the depths of self-proclaimed Mr. Nice Guys worldwide, but everything quickly unravels when his ex calls him out on his b.s. The rest of the first season picks apart these descrepancies and challenges our ideals of what it means to be honest in a relationship. In the meantime, he meets Mickey, an ex drug addict, who completely flips his idea of what is possible in love and friendship. If you're into some uncomfortable humor and fairly comedic portrayls of dating in the world of social media and smartphones: put this on your list.
4. . BluntedMuse's NO SHADE
I came across the No Shade webseries a few years ago, and have yet to forget its impact. This independent production was brought into fruition by director and cinematographer, Sean Anthony. Touching on topics from lesbian, bi, gay, and transgender issues to relationships, safe sex, religion, culture, family, and community-- the passionate characters are all so engaging, relatable, and distant enough to keep your attention each and every minute. Like when the group is discussing Noel's virginity and Eric suggests he doesn't worry about using a condom; Kori interjects, "Why would you tell him all that? Don't tell him that!" in the most serious yet humorously debilitating way possible. It feels like sitting in a living room with your lifelong besties. The series heats up by the end of the first season with depression, HIV/AIDS, murder, and even death coming into the picture, but it keeps its air of reality and intrigue. The second season should be coming sooner than later, and you'll want to catch up on this one ASAP if you're into laughing and learning about all the things that haunt us otherwise.
5. . Nicole Amarteifio's An African City
An African City has rightfully been dubbed the Sex and the City of African-centered productions. Its creator, Nicole Amarteifio, who wrote, directed, and executivel produced the series, is to thank for all of its gloriousness (just look at that photo!) This series follows five women who return to Ghana after being raised in the USA. As the women undergo culture shock while adjusting to their new lives, experiences, dating disasters, and career setbacks, you realize that this story being told is very different from what we usually see about Africa. It's much more humanized and culturally aware of telling truths and dispelling myths. It's all about overcoming fears and admitting to some harsh realities, too. If you're ready to enrich your life with new experiences, immerse yourself in new cultures, all the while watching beautiful women seek for love and happiness just like you-- curl up with your ice cream for this one. Season two arrived in January and this treat is next up on my night stand. Hold the book.