Top Seven YouTube Channels That Make My Day Brighter

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish.

So. A little backstory: I was really inspired by last week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt – “Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t Book-Related” – but because of prior commitments and circumstances beyond my control I was unable to finish my post in time to share it. That said, I still found myself thinking of my own interpretation of this topic days later (“Top Ten YouTube Channels That Make My Day Brighter”) and decided to post it this week, instead! Chaos, thy name is Jen.

As a general rule, as a book blogger I don’t read reviews for books I intend to read in the future for fear that said review will, however indirectly, influence my expectations or feelings on the book in question. That said, I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of art and audience and how people engage with what they’re consuming, whether it be film, television, books, video games, or other works of art and media. YouTube, and these eight channels in particular, allow me to explore just that.

As always, these choices are listed in no particular order.


Game Grumps is a “Let’s Play” web series in which hosts, Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan, play video games, often until completion, while providing running commentary about the game, its content, and their own personal lives.

I’ll be the first to admit that Game Grumps is largely immature, ridiculous, escapist fun. Both Arin and Dan have a background in stand-up comedy and improvisation and this can often result in a lot of entertaining off the cuff sketches and jokes. In addition to this, however, there have also been moments of quiet introspection and philosophical discussion throughout the series. Dan, in particular, has been very open and honest about his struggles with OCD, depression and anxiety, and I appreciate the transparency they share with their audience, allowing for a genuine sense of connection and sincerity.

Though there are a number of long-running Game Grumps playthrough I’ve enjoyed in the past including Sonic Boom, Pokemon Fire Red and Super Mario 3D World, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what is possibly one of the most famous moments in Game Grumps’ history – Arin’s many (many, many, many) attempts to master the pachinko-themed level in Super Mario Sunshine and his slow descent into madness. The result is equal parts hilarious and horrifying.

YouTubeTwitter (Wisecrack) ● Twitter (Thug Notes) ● Twitter (Earthling Cinema)

Wisecrack is a web series created and operated by a collection of comedians, academics, filmmakers, and artists who offer entertaining and educational approaches to various media including film, television, books and video games.

It’s often said that variety is the spice of life and this is certainly no less true for YouTube, or for this channel in particular. From “Earthling Cinema” and “Thug Notes” to “8-Bit Philosophy”, Wisecrack approaches its analysis of art and popular culture from a range of different perspectives with varying levels of satire and sincerity.

While there are a ton of fun videos to explore on this channel, Thug Notes is by far my favourite series on Wisecrack. Hosted by “Sparky Sweets, Ph.D.” who is played by actor and comedian, Greg Edwards, Thug Notes offers succinct, discerning and often hysterical summary and analysis of popular works of fiction ranging from everything from Animal Farm and Lord Of The Flies to Gone Girl and The Goldfinch. As Edwards explains, “…The gift of literature is universal in meaning and should be made accessible to everyone on every plane. So, ‘Thug Notes’ is my way of trivializing academia’s attempt at making literature exclusionary by showing that even high-brow academic concepts can be communicated in a clear and open fashion”


The Nerdwriter is a web series in which host, Evan Puschak, offers exhaustive, in-depth analysis of various works of art including film, television and the visual arts, as well as exploring other issues of interest including politics and moral imperatives.

On a purely superficial level, Puschak’s voice is incredibly soothing. In a world filled with videos of YouTubers shrieking in shrill tones at the viewer, The Nerdwriter’s videos are an oasis of calm, elegant poetry, as pleasing to the ear as they are to the mind. Perhaps more significantly, the range of topics and the lengths to which Puschak is able to eloquently speak about them is endlessly fascinating and admirable. Whether he’s examining the role of depression in Melancholia, providing an interpretation of The Treachery of Images by René Magritte or exposing the secret of sexism, The Nerdwriter is a thoughtful, educational, utterly engrossing channel that has improved my life and expanded my mind in innumerable ways.

Though I have never watched Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, The Nerdwriter’s examination of the role of depression within this film acted as my introduction to this channel. I was immediately struck by Puschak’s sensitive meditation on the subject, as well as his emphasis on the role and importance of art in examining such subject matter. Despite having spent a great deal of time since watching a host of videos from the channel’s back catalogue, it is this video that remains most vidid in my mind.


Brows Held High is a web series in which host, Kyle Kallgren, reviews and analyses various genres and classifications of film, including foreign, “art house” and independent cinema.

Kyle Kallgren is one of the most astute, intelligent, insightful reviewers and critics I’ve ever had the pleasure of discovering on YouTube and is responsible for introducing me to a number of films and documentaries that I now count among my favourites, such as Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present. Even if I’m unfamiliar with the work Brows Held High is discussing, I’m always fascinated by Kallgren’s fastidious attention to detail and his scrupulous dissection of the medium, its themes, and its messages.

You can begin anywhere, really! Nearly all of the videos on Brows Held High are standalone features that can be watched independently of the rest. It all depends on what you find most interesting. Shakespeare? Check! Documentary? Check! Mumblecore? Check! Though the entirety of Kyle’s prior filmography has not yet been uploaded to his present YouTube channel, there is certainly a great deal to explore, and I would urge you to do so.


Movie Nights is a web series in which host, Allison Pregler, reviews so-bad-they’re-good movies and cult classics.

There are two series of Allison’s that I particularly love. The first is Baywatching, in which Allison has undertaken the unenviable task of watching and reviewing every single episode of the Baywatch franchise, a show that ran for eleven seasons with a total of 286 episodes. Now that’s commitment! I had never watched a single episode of Baywatch prior to Allison’s series and I’m sure she has made the show appear far more interesting and enjoyable than it really is or ever deserves to be. It’s a testament to Allison’s skill as a comedian and reviewer that I’m as invested in this ongoing series as I am. Each new instalment is funnier than the last and definitely worth a watch, whether you have any prior history with Baywatch or not.

The second is a comprehensive review Allison completed of the television series, Charmed. While her retrospective of the first few seasons started out simply enough, with a mere one or two videos to encapsulate seasons one-three, the project quickly developed into nothing short of an epic, with season eight garnering a total of nine individual videos alone. Throughout her in-depth examination of all eight seasons of this genre show, Allison touched upon a number of the issues that plagued Charmed and prevented it from ever truly reaching its full potential. While only Allison’s reviews of seasons one-three are currently available on YouTube, the complete series can be watched here (Be sure to start at the bottom and work your way up).


Oh Yeah Disney is a web series in which hosts, Scott and Emily, document their many adventures in Walt Disney World.

Speaking as someone unabashedly obsessed with all things Disney but who doesn’t have the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland nearly as often as she would like, it’s nice to be able to live vicariously through Scott and Emily and visit the parks in spirit, if not in person. Their videos and photos are also always beautifully edited and an absolute pleasure to behold.

While each of their videos are fun and special in their own right, nothing demonstrates Scott and Emily’s love and appreciation of Walt Disney World quite like their Ode To Disney compilation, which perfectly captures the essence of the parks and their various seasons and celebrations. I dare you to watch this and not want to visit Walt Disney World immediately.


Gillian At Home is a web series in which the host, Gillian, documents her various trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and her everyday life in and around Toronto, Ontario.

As is the case with Oh Yeah Disney, it’s really nice to be able to live vicariously through Gillian’s trips to various Disney parks when I’m not able to visit in person. No matter the setting, however, Gillian infuses each video with a bubbly, eager enthusiasm for everything she does that never fails to brighten my day. As a fellow Canadian, it’s also really nice to be able to follow along on Gillian’s adventures throughout Toronto and recognize so many familiar and beloved landmarks.

Gillian’s Walt Disney World videos are by far my absolute favourites, and there was no series I enjoyed more than her January 2016 trip with her friend, Kim. Gillian and Kim have a wonderful on-screen presence and chemistry with one another and their energy is infectious. See for yourself!

Now it’s your turn! What are some of YOUR favourite YouTube channels and creators? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

3 responses to “Top Seven YouTube Channels That Make My Day Brighter”

  1. Ooh, Wisecrack is one of my favorites! Great picks. 🙂

    Check out my TTT.

  2. Julia E. says:

    That Thug Notes: Pride and Prejudice nearly killed me.

    Great suggestions and post.

  3. Rana W. G. says:

    thanks, they all seem interesting!!
    I my favorites: Anna akana, bananajmana, soulpancake, i-d, joshsundquist, ted, ticktwichteen, tommyedisonxp.

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