The Best YouTube Originals to Watch on YouTube Premium
In 2018, Google split YouTube Red into two standalone offerings: YouTube Music and YouTube Premium. YouTube Premium offers ad-free videos, offline viewing, background playback, and access to YouTube Originals.
As YouTube Premium matures, the number of YouTube Originals grows. So, in this article, we list the best YouTube Originals to watch on YouTube Premium.
What Are YouTube Originals?
Much like Netflix and Amazon, YouTube is now creating its own exclusive content. All of this content is available under the YouTube Originals moniker.
The shows and movies straddle a wide range of genres and feature a mix of well-known actors and famous YouTubers. All of the shows are available in any market in which YouTube Premium is available, and they are viewable on all of your devices.
To help you get started, here are the best YouTube Originals that you can watch right now.
Note: Some YouTube Originals are now available to watch for free without a YouTube Premium subscription.
Wayne is an action-comedy that first aired in January 2019. The show has been well-received by critics, boasting an 89 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The story follows the life of the titular character and his crush, Del, as they aim to retrieve a stolen car that belonged to Wayne’s father. Mark McKenna and Ciara Bravo play the lead roles.
Despite its popularity, Wayne was canceled after one season.
Science fiction drama Impulse is based on a book of the same name by Steven Gould. The first season premiered in June 2018 with a second season going live in October 2019. At the time of writing, there is still no word on a possible third season.
The central character is a 16-year-old girl called Henrietta. Without giving away too many spoilers, Henrietta has the power to teleport whenever she feels emotional discomfort.
3. Best Shot
Best Shot is a basketball documentary series. It follows the fortunes of Newark Central High School through both the results on the court and the off-field lives of the players during the 2017-18 season.
Only one season is available. It first aired in mid-2018. There are eight episodes for you to dig into. Each episode lasts between 20 and 50 minutes.
The series is produced by legendary players, LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Andrew Fried, and the content was made in partnership with the NBA.
After the popularity of Impulse in mid-2018, YouTube followed up with a second science fiction drama in the winter.
Origin tells the story of a bunch of strangers who find themselves stuck on an alien spaceship heading out into the universe. It quickly transpires that one of the party is not the same as the rest.
Despite what sounds like an appealing plot for sci-fi plans, the show was not as popular as Impulse, and was canceled after one season.
Another YouTube Original worth checking out is Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television. Ryan Hansen plays an exaggerated version of himself in the show.
He is part of a dysfunctional LAPD. The series stands as a comedic mirror to the way the police conducts itself, with the notion of celebrity, police procedures, and endless stereotypes put under the microscope.
The series was popular. It ran for two seasons and 16 episodes before YouTube and Hansen decided to cancel it in mid-2019.
6. Weird City
Science fiction drama Weird City premiered in February 2019. With an 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 25 critics’ ratings), it’s definitely one of the best YouTube Originals to watch.
The city, called Weird, is physically divided into two halves: the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Each episode follows a different resident of the metropolis as they go about their daily lives. It’s satirically brilliant.
Sherwood is an animated show for both kids and adults. It retells the story of Robin Hood, albeit with a hefty dose of creative license.
Robin is now played by a teenage girl, while Sherwood has become a dystopia in a world that’s predominantly underwater following the climate crisis.
So far, there has only been one season consisting of 10 episodes. Each episode runs for 20 minutes.
Some of the best original YouTube shows are documentaries. Many of them focus on particular celebrities, artists, or musicians.
One of the most recent releases (airing in late-2019) is The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash. It follows the singer’s rise from a tiny town in Arkansas to become of the best-selling music artists of all-time. It is estimated that Cash sold more than 90 million records before his death in 2003.
9. Cobra Kai
Cobra Kai is perhaps the best-known YouTube Original. The storyline uses the four Karate Kid movies as inspiration.
Taking place 34 years after the first film, the series follows the reopening of the Cobra Kai karate dojo and the rekindling of the rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence.
Actors Ralph Macchio (LaRusso) and William Zabka (Lawrence) both return to reprise their original roles.
The first season aired in 2018 and a second followed in 2019. YouTube has confirmed that a third is in the works.
Step Up: High Water is another YouTube Original that draws heavily on a movie franchise.
For those who aren’t aware, there were five Step Up films released between 2006 and 2014. They fall into the dance drama genre.
The YouTube show tells the story of twins Tal (Petrice Jones) and Janelle (Lauryn McClain) as they are forced to relocate to Atlanta due to a family crisis. Once they arrive in their new home, they join a free performing arts school run by Sage Odom (Ne-Yo). It’s described as the most cutthroat school in the city.
You can expect lots of music, lots of comedy, and lots of dark moments across the episodes. The franchise’s breakout star, Channing Tatum, serves as an executive producer on the YouTube show.
The show was canceled after two seasons.
What do you get if you place a group of documentary makers in a city with millions of stray cats? The answer is Kedi. It’s the first movie on our list.
Kedi tracks the lives of seven strays in Istanbul. With a healthy dose of melancholic music and a voiceover that’s sure to pull on your heartstrings, it’s a must-watch for cat lovers.
Still wondering what to watch on YouTube Premium? Try Rhett and Link’s Buddy System. Created by comedy duo Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, this absurdist comedy hit was arguably the first YouTube Original that became popular with a mainstream audience.
When it launched in early 2017, demand was for the show was higher than demand for several big-hitting series from other streaming providers, including Orange is the New Black, Santa Clarita Diet, The Grand Tour, and The Man In the High Castle.
The story follows the lives of Rhett and Link (playing themselves) as they seek to regain control of their morning chat show from a mutual ex-girlfriend.
There are two seasons and 16 episodes.
13. Scare PewDiePie
If you like Felix Kjellberg’s style of content, you’ll enjoy Scare PewDiePie. The series sees the YouTube star put himself into reality-based horror setups.
There’s only one season of 10 episodes. The second season was canceled before its release in 2017 after YouTube decided Kjellberg was too divisive a figure to promote on its platform.
Youth and Consequences ticks all of the usual boxes for a teenage high school drama.
There’s the school queen struggling to hold on to her status, the ensemble of bullies making crude remarks about everything from sexuality to social class, the ongoing web of love interests, the cliques, and every other high school stereotype you can think of.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but after its release in March 2018 it quickly shot up to the top of YouTube’s most popular shows.
No second season is planned.
The Keys of Christmas is the second YouTube Original movie on the list. It offers a modern take on the classic Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol.
The film enjoys an all-star cast, with Mariah Carey, DJ Khaled, Ciara, Fifth Harmony, Rudy Mancuso, Melanie Iglesias, and Mike Tyson all playing significant roles.
DJ Khaled and Mariah Carey are the do-gooders; they transport YouTube star Mancuso into a winter wonderland in an attempt to teach him about the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s certainly not a classic film, but it’s a fun Christmas movie. For more festive fun, check out our list of Christmas movies worth watching on Netflix .
Lifeline takes us into the world of science fiction (as do the best modern sci-fi movies on Netflix ). The two main protagonists, Conner (Zach Gilford) and Haley (Amanda Crew) work for an insurance firm that has the ability to time travel.
Using their powers, Conner and Haley try to predict their clients’ death by traveling 33 days into the future. They then return to the present day and try to prevent the deaths from occurring.
In some respects, the show feels like Black Mirror. Some of the sub-plots, such as the duo’s slower aging process due to their time travel, are explored in more detail in later episodes.
The series runs for eight episodes. Unfortunately, YouTube has confirmed that there will not be a season two.
17. Mind Field
Fans of Michael Stevens’ Vsauce channel will be instantly familiar with the premise of Mind Field. The episodes use a documentary-style format, with Stevens discussing various aspects of human behavior.
Each episode contains an experiment that links to the theme of the video. Sometimes Stevens performs the experiment on himself. On other occasions, he uses guests or test subjects.
Experiments have included three days of solitary confinement to test the effect on the brain, making people angry and giving them things to smash up, and asking a group of people to incorrectly answer a question in front of one unwitting participant to test the power of conformity.
18. Single by 30
Single by 30 is a romantic comedy series. Set in Los Angeles, the show starts with two high school students who make a pact to go to the senior dance together if they cannot find a date.
In the aftermath of the dance, they make another pact: They will marry each other if they are both still single by the time they hit 30.
Predictably, they lose touch with each other. But as they approach their 30th birthdays, they reunite after the breakdown of their long-term relationships. They choose to reinstate the old pact, with the series focusing on their feelings for each other as they re-enter the dating world.
Is YouTube Premium Worth the Money?
Some of these shows are only available to YouTube Premium subscribers. However, despite this, some of you might not see the value in subscribing to yet another streaming service.
To help you decide whether YouTube Premium is for you, you should read our article on Is YouTube Premium worth the money?