Young directors doing wonders for Turkish TV on YouTube
Just as shows like Dallas and The Fugitive have their place in TV history, so do Netflix adaptations like House of Cards, because productions like these have paved the way for Internet for new, original work, which is quickly gaining momentum and reaching a wider audience.
I have previously written about the importance of online series like Behzat Ç, Turkey's wildly popular crime investigation show, with a focus on Ankara. As in many countries, online TV stations have begun to pop up in Turkey too, reaching more and more people.
Aside from the professional work appearing online, there are also young people working on every aspect of various YouTube series. It’s possible that you may not be interested in YouTube productions, or that you just haven’t even heard of them, but in fact, these shows are far better than most programs that are on TV.
When we say “YouTube series,” in Turkey, the first one that comes to mind is Zero One: Once upon a Time in Adana (S1F1R B1R: Bir Zamanlar Adana’da), which has now moved the online BluTV station. The show’s screenwriters and producers could not have possibly known how many avid fans they would attract from the first two seasons, which ran on YouTube. The series, despite being an amateur production, was wildly successful.
In a lot of ways, Bir Zamanlar Adana’da resembles Fernando Meirelles’ and Katia Lund’s co-directed film, City of God. There are very few series out there like Bir Zamanlar Adana’da—the writer seems to know the world of the TV series quite well, and a great deal of the show’s success is because it comes from Turkey and has not been influenced by other shows.
It is obvious that Bir Zamanlar Adana’da has been the inspiration for many other YouTube series. In particular, the production contains a lot of exaggerated scenes with stories about young people who come from the streets and grew up in a world where gunfights were the norm.
Another series called Barut (Gunpowder) does a great job in creating a spoof of this. With a big dose of comedy in the first season finale, Barut has an awareness of the material it has in hand and makes good use of it. Barut’s hero regularly addresses the audience, and one of its most important features of this show is the option of English subtitles. Fans are anxiously counting down for the next installation of Barut.
It is worth mentioning that although many Turkish YouTube series have drawn a lot of interest in Turkey, their lack of subtitles has prevented them from attracting many fans from abroad. If we consider the fact that the only source of revenue for these series is advertisements, the lack of English subtitles is a serious problem.
Turkish series on YouTube are generally mafia or science fiction stories, and it’s obvious that a lot of the mafia stories follow in the footsteps of Bir Zamanlar Adana’da. However, one problem with this is that these copy-paste shows aren’t able to last more than a few episodes. As such, it’s important not to get annoyed when you check out one of these channels and discover how many episodes of unfinished series are still sitting there.
To watch season finales, or more importantly, series finales, the most trusted YouTube channel is Filmler ve Filimler (Movies and Mooviiiiez). The owners of this channel are Taha “Fox” Ulukaya and Andaç Ulukaya. Right now, this channel is showing the first season finale of a science fiction/spy piece called Hile (The Cheat). At times, this show is reminiscent of the Matrix and the 2009 production Gamer, but at its heart, it most resembles the 1994 movie Brainscan. At the moment, Hile is one of the most professional productions on YouTube, so if you’re looking for a taste of something different, Hile is worth your time.
Yara Bandı (Band-Aid), which follows the heartaches of three young men, is another show that might make it to a season finale. Featuring hip-hop artist Zeus Kabadayı, mostly known for his short videos, Yara Bandı may seems amateurish at times, but it finds its bearings after the first three episodes, redeeming itself to become a genuinely intriguing show.
One problem that comes up with a lot of YouTube series is that there are very few female characters. This is particularly the case in mafia movies, there are almost no main female characters. If you’re looking for a sitcom, the series Olacak İş Diil (No Deal) has a plot that is driven by women, and it’s not easy to come across such impressive acting on YouTube. Olacak İş Diil went on hiatus after four episodes, and it’s not yet clear whether or not it will be back.
For fans of The Twilight Zone, the series Kronos has only five episodes, but it’s a show that would never appear on TV. Instead, it appears on the channel Cans Film. Kronos’ screenwriter is Candan Selman and Can Selman is the director. After sharing the story of a telephone called C-Form, which has a battery that lasts 20 years, the duo started a new YouTube series called Yeni Dalga (New Wave).
Turkish science fiction series on YouTube are generally heavily influenced by Matrix. Compared to these, Kronos and Yeni Dalga have the potential to be quite different, and of course, it’s obvious that both of these series contain elements of a thriller, as well.
Among those who have taken note of the incredible potential in YouTube series is the famous director Onur Ünlü. His series Görünen Adam (The Visible Man), sponsored by Denizbank, takes place in Istanbul, however, the hero of the stories is invisible. The 10-episode series has particularly good special effects, and it’s possible to binge watch the show - it’s that compelling.
Another single-season series that can be watched in one sitting is the film Bir Kış Masalı (A Winter Tale). This show brings to life the love story of two siblings who grew up without meeting each other; it is one of the few drama series on YouTube.
These are just a few of the shows that can be found on YouTube. Newly made series are getting uploaded onto YouTube every day alongside older ones like 1 Kezban 1 Mehmet and Otisabi. Even though there are just a few of these series that are made by professionals that don’t come to an abrupt halt, they are perfect for those who are bored of television shows but who still want to see the cinematic adventures of young lovers.