Original content makes YouTube Red worth cost

May 23, 2018 — by Jackson Green and Patrick Li

In October 2015, YouTube launched YouTube Red, a subscription-based service allowing people to watch exclusive series.

YouTube Red costs $10 a month, which is $2 more than Hulu and the basic plan for Netflix. YouTube Red also includes access to Youtube Music, which rivals competitors like Spotify and Pandora. Users currently have access to 36 original series on YouTube Red; to compare, Netflix has upwards of 190 and Hulu has 35.

Another major selling point of YouTube Red is that it removes ads from regular YouTube videos.

Some of the content of YouTube Red’s original series is made by popular YouTube channels, such as CollegeHumor, Good Mythical Morning, Vsauce and Game Theorists.

These series are typically departures from the YouTubers’ normal fare, and YouTube Red’s series are clear attempts to compete with Netflix, so we decided to look at a few YouTube Red series to see if they make the service worth paying for.

The first series we watched was “Rhett and Link’s Buddy System,” a Good Mythical Morning series.

The series is a scripted comedy series in which Good Mythical Morning hosts, Rhett and Link, play fictionalized versions of themselves. This is different from their usual fare, as “Good Mythical Morning” is a primarily unscripted comedy show involving various challenges and skits. Their usual videos are usually on trying new trends, covering certain news topics, or simply performing some goofy gimmicks.

The series focuses on the two trying to find Link’s lost phone, which is being used to hack the duo’s YouTube channel for the purpose of uploading infomercials.

“Rhett and Link’s Buddy System” is ultimately very entertaining and humorous. It matches their free videos in raw humor, but is a lot more structured.

The banter between Rhett and Link feels very natural, despite being scripted, and is a highlight of the show.

Each episode also features an original song, with its lyrics matching the slightly strange sense of humor that the show carries throughout.

For these reasons, we highly recommend “Buddy System” for anyone looking for some laughs. If you’re a fan of Good Mythical Morning or Rhett and Link’s other content, it is definitely worth paying for.

The second series we watched was “Escape the Night,” a series featuring Youtuber Joey Graceffa, who has 8.7 million followers.

The show follows a group of YouTubers invited to a dinner party at a mansion in the 1920s that Graceffa supposedly inherited. When they get there via time-traveling car, they discover that someone or something in the mansion is attempting to kill them all, and that they must find a way to escape back to the present before it's too late.

We felt that “Escape the Night’s” premise just didn’t make sense. The mansion that Graceffa inherits apparently only exists in the 1920s, and then everyone has to escape back to the present while something kills them off one by one.

Another issue is roles. Each YouTuber at the mansion is assigned a role to play, such as “Jazz Singer” or “Gambler,” in an effort to make them fit into the 1920’s theme. However, this only led to the series feeling forced and inauthentic.

In the end, we do not recommend “Escape the Night,” due to it inauthentic and confusing storyline.

The last series we saw was “MatPat’s Game Lab,” The Game Theorists’ series.

In the series, the host and a few other famous YouTube gamers attempt to learn about some of the skills in popular video games and then play through a real life reenactment of the game.

Some of the games used in “Game Lab” include Rocket League, Mirror’s Edge, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Watch_Dogs.

The series is entertaining, with the tasks given to them, such as racing ostriches or playing soccer using cars, being very fun to watch.

However, the show can feel rigid and structured at times, and the episodes require a level of understanding of the games they are based on.

Game Lab is a good series, and watching the games translate to real life is an entertaining experience.

All in all, we think YouTube Red beats Netflix on the premise of seemingly unscripted comedy. While Netflix has more structured TV shows, YouTube Red offers laid-back videos of your favorite Youtubers doing funny stunts, challenges, and games.

It all comes down to personal preference: If you watch a lot of YouTube and want to see original content from YouTubers or you just want ad-free YouTube, YouTube Red is for you.