Last year was one of the most robust we've ever seen in terms of the production and release of independent genre webseries.
Our 2015 list of top webseries contained a sampling of projects diverse in tone, theme, perspective, and scope.
However, 2016 has proven to have been a challenging one for many webseries creators.
Raising production funding, creating public awareness, determining appropriate distribution, and figuring out sustainable monetization models has been a daunting challenge.
As a result, this year saw a more subdued production and release schedule.
The medium is still in its adolescence, and experiencing growing pains. Despite these hurdles, art always finds a way.
In 2016, we covered some truly remarkable - and in some cases - groundbreaking sci-fi and fantasy webseries.
This list presents projects we feel are among the best SF&F webseries of 2016:
(Click on each image or title to view the selection and read our original review)
This six-part post-apocalyptic webseries is set a year after a mysterious catastrophe has decimated the world's population.
During the height of winter, while trekking through a frozen wilderness, an unnamed man must battle disease, the elements, and hostile fellow survivors while seeking a final sanctuary.
NORTHBOUND was filmed during the winter on location in the scenic Upper Peninsula region of Michigan. In fact, the breathtaking landscape is a major character in the story.
Against this backdrop, this modern retelling of the classic "man vs man, man vs nature" narrative holds unexpected power and resonance.
Billed by creator Tucky Williams as a "girl Lord Of The Rings meets The Highlander," this webseries breaks new ground as a feminist, sword-and-sorcery fantasy featuring lesbian protagonists.
DAGGER KISS tells the story of Arden, a powerful sorceress from an alternate dimension, who travels to earth to exact revenge on the dark wizard who murdered her lover.
After arriving on earth, Arden's life is saved by the mysterious Katia. The two women form an alliance in order to track down the wizard both are hunting.
DAGGER KISS is a refreshing change from the overwhelmingly heteronormative, cis male centered narratives that comprise the bulk of the fantasy genre.
NAMAKA tells the story of Angélique, a member of the French resistance during World War II, who awakens in a hospital bed with amnesia.
She is informed she was discovered unconscious inside a mysterious machine, and that the year is 2016.
She also receives the unbelievable news that she is from an alternate reality.
In her reality, the Allies and Nazis were forced to work together to repel an alien invasion.
Scientists believe she traveled inside the machine via a wormhole to our reality. Unfortunately, the aliens are now aware of our world due to discovering this wormhole.
Stunned, Angélique must now grapple with her unusual circumstances, as well as determine what role she will play in stopping the alien invasion.
NAMAKA is a completely absorbing and fascinating take on alternate history fiction.
Set on the medieval-like world of Alathia, the titular Ren is a self-possessed young woman who is curious about the world outside her tiny village.
After a fateful encounter in the woods near her home, Ren discovers she has been marked by a powerful spirit..
Ostracized by her community, she sets out to discover her true destiny.
REN is among a growing number of dynamic genre projects centering charismatic women as compelling, complex and nuanced protagonists.
Witness a cosmic battle between the eternal forces of good and evil, set against the backdrop of a highly realized steampunk-inspired world.
THE RECORD KEEPER tells the story of Raina, a high-ranking angel who has been tasked with recording and collecting detailed accounts of the war from combatants on both sides.
After eons of unwavering devotion to her duties, Raina falls into despair over the toll the conflict is taking on her brothers and sisters.
She must ultimately confront betrayal, fear, doubt and loss in order to restore her faith.
THE RECORD KEEPER is extraordinary in terms of its ambition, narrative, aesthetic, scope, and production.
NINA UNLOCKED is the inaugural web series produced by new sci-fi digital video platform RECURSOR.TV.
Nina (portrayed by YouTube star Lana McKissack) is a sophisticated android assassin with one big problem - she has lost her memories.
In order to uncover her identity and true purpose, Nina embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
She interviews top experts from multiple disciplines, including: robotics, science, medicine, education, film, law, etc., to gain insight not only into her nature, but humanity's as well.
NINA UNLOCKED is a sci-fi comedy that follows in the tradition of similarly themed projects such as WestWorld, Humans, and Ex Machina.
Set in a world where supernatural beings such as zombies, werewolves, and vampires not only exist, but the general public is aware of them.
Enter Doctor Michelle Kessler (Tori Higginson, Stargate Atlantis), an accomplished therapist who specializes in treating members of the paranormal community.
Dr. Kessler becomes consumed with helping three of her most troubled patients:
- Tamar, an emotionally fragile young woman who possesses incomprehensible power
- Linc, a jaded werewolf who is fighting against the systemic oppression of his people
- Clara, a depressed woman who is coping with her inexorable transformation into a zombie
While the project's production is exemplary on every level, it's the writing and acting that places this webseries in a category all by itself.
Written by RJ Lackie, INHUMAN CONDITION is a brilliantly written, astute exploration into the complexity and beauty of the human experience.
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