10 years on: The best YouTube channels you can watch today

Watching video on the Internet used to be terrible (remember RealPlayer?). But then YouTube came along in 2005 and was quickly gobbled up by Google in 2006. As of now, ten years on, YouTube has become part of a sort of backbone of the Internet. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for cat videos.

Some of YouTube’s early existence was plagued with controversy over its use as the place to go for random uploads of Other People’s Content. But the site is obviously focused on being a publishing platform for anyone. Today we want to honor some of the most interesting, hard working video producers out there.

Only when you start to look at alternatives to YouTube, you realize how difficult and expensive streaming video really is. YouTube users and publishers benefit from piggybacking on Google’s massive pipes that even allows content creators a share of pre-roll ad revenue. Factors like these explain why traditional media outlets and single person upstarts alike use Youtube to make their voices heard. To celebrate this creative revolution, here are our best YouTube channels showcasing original content.

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

Kurzgesagt is German for “in a nutshell”. The Youtube channel carrying this name goes to amazing lengths to explain huge questions and phenomena in our universe and minds in incredibly eloquent and concise videos. This, ladies, gentlemen and others is nothing short of pure infographics porn. It’s like Neil DeGrasse-Tyson’s “Cosmos” but for busy people. The project is a stunningly artful business card for a Munich based design studio named… you guessed it: Kurzgesagt. They’re probably wonderful people you should hire immediately.

Healthcare Triage

Is someone you know insisting that vaccines cause autism? Send them this. Have you noticed that someone in your life doesn’t wash their hands properly or at all after bathroom related matters? Eew. Serve them this. This wealth of information is brought to you by Healthcare Triage, a show where an actual medical doctor explains medical issues aided by nice, well produced infographics. In part of the videos, Dr. Aaron Carroll hosts a call-in type show or focuses on science and regulation news.

Cinema Sins

Will CinemaSins make you hate movies you thought you loved or just the human psyche? Or will their work just help you accept movies and your mind as a perfect match that produces hours and hours of sweet, blissful ignorance after a hard day at work? I guess that depends on your attitude towards life but it’s definitely worth finding out for yourself. The CinemaSins guys walk in and are able to steal your suspension of disbelief for silly action movies and drama classics alike. I’m not complaining. Criticism like this helps me appreciate how the magic of moving pictures in itself is a reminder of my flawed human ability for critical thinking.

Bonus: Honest Trailers has a similar witty critical tone. Movieclips has high-quality, licensed clips from tons of movies, presumably for finding all those silly quotes. Also, Monty Python.

GritTV / The Laura Flanders Show

English-American journalist Laura Flanders stars her own show of hard hitting, progressive leaning discussions with thinkers and occasional special reports. Flanders’ is a professional broadcast journalist and her videos tightly produced but her show offer in depth glances into the view of voices that may not usually be particularly well represented even in media like NPR in the US. One particularly gripping episode offers some insight into how a new breed of anti-trafficing laws remain a badly disguised method of allowing for moralistic kicking on the weak, much like old anti-prostitution laws that go after women who end up selling sex, often for reasons related to sheer poverty.

The Great War

Follow the events World War I as it shifts from European pre-War nationalist frenzy to the soul crushing horror of industrial-era, mechanized warfare. This channel follows the events that unfolded a hundred years ago in a weekly basis in detailed reporting and will do so until the anniversary of the end of the war in 2018. The project is published in parallel in German. Don’t miss this chance to catch up on how this epic tragedy has shaped our world.

The Onion

You know The Onion. “America’s Finest News Source” has been making us laugh since the dead tree age. And they’ve been fooling gullible people on the internet since before trolling became part of the mainstream media’s concept of how the world works. Most if not all of The Onion’s prolific video catalog is available, with stuff being added with some delay, but unencumbered by the paywall of theonion.com. The Onion’s video catalog goes back years and features everything parody newscasts, current affairs punditry, movie reviews and series like 2012’s Sex House, a vicious take on reality TV.

Food Wishes

Ever wanted food recipes and cooking tips in a tight package accompanied by dry dad jokes? You can have it all thanks to Food Wishes.


These guys take on math, or specifically, mostly numbers in information packed videos. It’s certainly brave to try and explain infinities of different sizes and their paradoxes in minutes while drawing on a piece of paper. If you’re like me and you get a little upset and nervous about math, this channel can do wonders to fulfill your curiosity of a (pun intended) number of issues. In ways that usually are exponentially more creative than what most of us ever received in school.

Bonus: These guys do a number of similar Youtube channels, like Computerphile and Bibledex that explore topics by asking real experts.

Bonus Protip:  We all know the traditional experience of browsing Youtube on an overheating laptop on a couch or at the office when you should be working. But Youtube is becoming stronger than ever in places that actually make sense for watching longer form video. In addition to smartphones, you can find Youtube on game consoles, set top boxes and smart tv:s. On these devices you can now mostly log in with an easy access code. This is super nice because it means you don’t have to fumble with your Google password on a silly remote to access your subscriptions, playlists and favorites on your Youtube account.

If you find some interesting channels that addresses your personal obsessions, why not let Youtube occupy some of your daily couch chilling time instead of watching the depressing evening news?

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