Haters Back Off: A Netflix Original Series Review:
If you still doubt the legitimacy of YouTube and the talent they curate, then the all new Netflix Original Series “Haters Back Off” should change
your mind. The series, which follows the character of Miranda Sings, a parody character of YouTube cover singers created by actress and singer
Colleen Ballinger, showcases smart humor and surprising heart and emotion that will captivate loyal “Mirfandas” (fans of Miranda Sings), and
new audiences alike. Developed by both Ballinger and her brother Chris Ballinger and developed by a fantastic team at Netflix, (including show-runners
Perry Rein and Gigi McCreery, whose credits include Friends and Wizards of Waverly Place), the show is a fantastic study of fame, how it changes
people, and how we all crave acceptance and recognition. Here is the synopsis for the show.
This comedy series, exclusive to Netflix, follows the oddball family life of a fictional YouTube star named Miranda Sings, a character created
and portrayed by Colleen Ballinger, who also serves as an executive producer. Miranda is an incredibly confident, self-absorbed teenage
singer/dancer/actor/model who is on the rise – despite a complete and utter lack of talent. Miranda continues to luck into failing upward,
fueled by her belief that she was born to be famous, even if no one else knows it yet.
Now this show was definitely funny. The jokes ranged from the perfectly timed dry humor of a film like Napoleon Dynamite that focuses on oddball,
outsider like characters, and the more adult themed humor that reminded me of a film like Step Brothers. The show features some incredible
performers, from Colleen Ballinger as Miranda herself to Angela Kinsey, who plays Miranda’s eager to please mother who believes she suffers from
a multitude of diseases, to her Uncle Jim, played by actor Steve Little, who plays the over-eager uncle who feeds Miranda’s belief that she is
destined for greatness in all things and fuels the drama in this family unit. There is a surprise character that definitely will bring the
heart and emotion into the show, acting as the voice of reason and a surrogate for the audience in a way, which I will not spoil their identity
in this review. However a character that does steal the show is the boy next door who is smitten with Miranda herself, Patrick, played by actor
Erik Stocklin. Her best friend and love-sick neighbor who will do anything for her, the lengths this boy goes to in order to help this often
clueless and fame obsessed girl achieve her dreams is a great showcase for any of us in the audience who has ever fallen in love and walked
through the friend zone, hoping that they will come out on the other side with their love by their side.
While the humor is just as great as fans would expect from a show about the untalented YouTube sensation that has stolen so many hearts, what was
pleasantly surprising was the amount of emotion that was in this show. What really sold this show for me was the perfect blend of comedy and
heart, with Miranda herself showcasing moments of real human feeling when interacting with cast members on the show, (before stumbling back into
her self-obsessed self). By the end of the series, audiences will be able to see the many layers of themes and storytelling devices that are going
to be alluded to, from the hardships of fame and the price people have to pay to achieve it, to the lengths family will go to for one another. I
think this show is also a great way to showcase the people behind the camera that we all sometimes take for granted when exploring the world of
YouTube. The four to eight minute videos that capture so many people’s attention and hearts don’t define a person’s entire life, and this show
does a marvelous job of showcasing the struggles, the flaws, and the ups and downs that creators go through off camera.
Overall, this was an amazing show. In eight episodes, Colleen Ballinger has proved that real talent can be found on the internet, and her incredible
creation of Miranda Sings is the unsung hero of the current generation, much like Napoleon Dynamite was the hero of the 2000’s or Anthony
Michael Hall’s The Geek from Sixteen Candles was the underdog hero of the 80’s. The awkward, uncomfortable humor that has skyrocketed the Miranda
Sings brand to stardom is expertly explored in this series, and with a cliffhanger that will hopefully lead to a second season, Netflix has found
a character driven comedy that will merge the younger audiences from the YouTube world with the more adult audiences of the Netflix world in a
phenomenal way. We here at On Request Magazine are incredibly impressed with this amazing show, and sincerely hope to see a second season in the
future. Congratulations to Colleen Ballinger for becoming one of the first heroes and stars to emerge onto the world stage in the digital age!
Rating: 10/10 stars
The Netflix Theory: How Streaming and Premium Shows Have Changed How We View Television
Someone once said, “The times, they are a-changing…”, or something like that. I think this applies greatly to the world of entertainment, in
particular to how television is viewed. When cable television reigned supreme, we took on shows and appreciated them for what they were, even
if that meant poor writing, cheesy one-liners, and poor special effects. However, with the invention of premium and streaming services, shows
such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Daredevil and Jessica Jones have provided a new standard for groundbreaking television. With these shows,
have we as a society entered a new realm of entertainment?
I pondered this recently as I watched the premiere of a show on the newly dubbed ABC Freeform, called Shadowhunters. Based on the acclaimed book
series by author Cassandra Claire, after watching the show I found myself kind of taken aback. As a fan of both the book series and the film,
I had high hopes for the change to a television format, and yet I found the dialogue, the special effects and the many changes to the story too
difficult to enjoy the show. The changes to the story, several of the characters and the uneven pace of the story itself just made it
uncomfortable to watch. Then I began to think about the shows that are succeeding and have succeeded in recent years, and I asked myself, are
the high standards of these shows making it difficult to enjoy others?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming the actors on the problems with the show. I can give you an example of what I’m talking about. Everyone
knows Shailene Woodley from her incredible work in films such as The Descendants, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars. However, she had a
massive role on the ABC Family original series, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, and that show was another example of cheesy lines,
unbelievable plot developments and more. Everyone has seen what an amazing actress she is, but because of poor writing, the show and the actors
on the show suffered.
Writing defines great television, as does most entertainment projects. The expertly crafted works of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Daredevil and
Jessica Jones have brought some amazing performances from the actors on these shows because of deep and invigorating writing teams that have
perfected the art of television. Not only that, but maybe what has made these shows breakout is the fact that they are less restricted in their
What I’ve noticed as a consumer of these shows is that when a show restricts itself in some way, whether it be time constraints, dialogue choices
or just how realistic and gritty the visuals are, (i.e. sexual scenes, blood, violence, etc.), the show tends to suffer in production and
character growth. One cable network that is leading the charge to compete with the streaming and premium channels is The CW, which has their shows
push the limits with smart writing, strong visuals and not as heavy restrictions, allowing their shows to prosper and grow, and lessening the
amount of cancellations the network suffers.
So the question remains: Has the rise of premium and streaming television changed how we consume and enjoy shows? It certainly has for this
writer, and I think it’s changed for the better. After years of seeing great television shows get the ax from big networks because of an old,
outdated way of viewing numbers, its great to see higher forms of art taking shape on streaming and premium networks. 2016 looks to expand
these amazing types of shows, and it’s no wonder big screen actors are now flocking to television shows for their next big roles. This is my
Best of 2015:
Hello there citizens! It’s the end of 2015, and that means that as the year closes, we are all reflecting on what this year brought us. For
me, there were a lot of great things in the world of entertainment, my career and personally that made 2015 a great year, so I am going to share
with you all now some of my favorite things from 2015!
Jurassic World: 2015 was the year big blockbusters returned from their long slumbers in limbo and gave audiences the world over a new, fresh
adventure into the massive worlds they created. The first one was this past summer’s Jurassic World, an incredible thrill ride in which we found
out what would happen if the park were to actually be opened to the public. Years after the Jurassic Park incident, the island has become a
tourist destination that mirrors a lot of similarities to the real world antics of places such as Sea World. With shareholders seeking a rise in
sales, the park’s scientists have created a genetically altered, gene spliced Dino that has a desire to kill anything and everything. When it get’s
loose, it’s up to a few survivors to get off the island and prevent the creature from escaping.
Star Wars The Force Awakens: The long awaited seventh episode of the most popular space saga in cinema history arrived at the close of 2015.
The film beautifully captured the magic of the first film, while bringing about some incredible new characters, great special effects, and
brought the original cast into the new story in a logical and fun way. In all honesty, I thought this film deserves to be included as a nominee
in some awards this year, and not just for special effects and costume stuff, but for musical score, supporting actor, best actress and best
film. It is the best film I saw in all of 2015!
Marvel and Netflix=Awesomeness: 2015 was the year television got even better, and eclipsed the movie theater industry overall. Netflix was a
pioneer for television, having introduced some great shows that defied the standards set by network television. Yet two series stood out this
year, and those were Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Both shows introduced the dark, gritty side of the Marvel Cinematic
Universe, and gave us two richly complex, badass heroes. With these new heroes came some great supporting characters the gave depth and
heart to the universe, and two villains that redefined what evil can look like. Bloody, action-packed and an emotional roller-coaster, not since
Breaking Bad have I been so obsessed and captivated by a television show. If you haven’t yet, watch these shows and be prepared to be amazed!
A Breathtaking Year in Horror: Horror took a predominant step in shows like The Walking Dead, it’s companion series Fear The Walking Dead, and
the final chapter of NBC’s Hannibal. The performances of the actors in these shows was emotional, chilling and rich to devour, marking a breakout
year for horror television. As an author/writer who loves the horror genre, this year inspired me and my writing with the groundbreaking
character development and plots introduced in the horror genre.
PMJ Brings Retro Back: One of the great things about music for me this year was the way the group Postmodern Jukebox brought a sense of retro
style music back to the modern age. Singers such as Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, Maiya Sykes and more brought some flare to current hits with
20’s, 30’s, 40’s and more amazing retro styles. Personally, I (and everyone else who loves PMJ) loved Haley Reinhart’s “Creep” and “Seven Nation
Army” covers. These songs were eloquent, theatrical and powerful, and brought some of the style and iconic music of past generations back into
Ten Second Songs: Another great artist from YouTube, rocker and singer Anthony Vincent brought his incredible range and style to an original
idea for a channel called Ten Second Songs, in which he takes a popular song, and sings in 10-20 different styles of singers, from Frank Sinatra
to Skrillex. The creative force of each performance really inspired me to take risks and go for my own creative niche, and I’m excited to see
where he takes the channel in 2016!
Fallout 4: Welcome to Post Apocalyptia today! That’s right, I along with the rest of the world found myself back into the fabled world of Fallout,
with the epic release of Fallout 4. Taking us into the shoes of another Vault dweller who must go on a journey into the wasteland, there were
some great improvements to the new engine and system. I love the customization factor, whether it’s the facial features, the fact that people
address you by your custom name in the game, that your character talks finally, and that you can create settlements and strongholds in the game.
There are multiple radio stations, and the seamless integration of systems like VATS and dialogue choices is easy to use. It’s a strong game
I cannot wait to play more of.
Star Wars Battlefront: After nearly a decade, it was time to travel to a galaxy far, far away…
That’s right guys. Star Wars gained even more attention with the highly anticipate release of Star Wars Battlefront. The fun of taking part in
famous Star Wars battles was felt as it was in the original two games, yet the graphics and FPS aspect of the game made for welcome improvements,
and of course who could pass up an opportunity to fight Darth Vader as Luke in a game? That spells fun right there. Actually, it doesn’t, but
Assassins Creed Syndicate: I’m a history buff, so I’ve always enjoyed the historical aspect of the Assassin’s Creed series, even though a lot of
historical figures and events were altered for the games story. I love the setting and being able to see the ways people lived throughout human
history. So when AC Syndicate was released, I fell in love with the industrial, Victorian era London that was brought to life before my eyes.
Getting to see the start of technological advancements, as well as getting a sense of wonder and excitement that surely helped inspire a lot of
steam-punk style projects over the years. It’s such a fun game that I cannot wait to delve into more in 2016.
Batman Arkham Knight: The most fun I’ve had playing the Batman games so far, Batman Arkham Knight was super dark, creepy and realistic. The
gameplay was enhanced by the addition of the Batmobile, plus the incredible voice cast of legends Kevin Conroy, John Noble, Jonathan Banks and
more made this one of the best experiences I’ve had stepping into the shoes of Batman. After the story that was told and the finality of the
game, it makes me excited to see what kind of games the studios develop with the Batman brand in the future. I hope to see some more interaction
with the broader DC universe since most of Batman’s story has been explored and told in these last few games. It’d be interesting to see Batman
take on Justice League level issues in an open world environment. This is a must play game from 2015 for sure!
Saint Odd: The final chapter of the incredible Odd Thomas series came this year. Everyone’s favorite fry cook and heroic medium returns to the
town he left behind, Pico Mundo. The evil cultists he helped stopped time and time again are ready to unleash a catastrophe that’ll eclipse the
one that claimed someone he loves years earlier, and after all his adventures, Odd is ready to face one final challenge, hoping to stop the
unspeakable evil at any cost, even his own life. I’m half way through this book right now, and the fast paced action of the story is rich and
compelling, and I cannot wait to see how this final story unfolds for one of my favorite Dean Koontz characters of all time. Let’s hope 2016 brings
some new info from Mr. Koontz on the third book in the Moonlight Bay/Christopher Snow books!
YouTube Memoirs: So many great memoirs came out from our favorite YouTube stars this year. I read quite a few, from Joey Graceffa’s “In Real Life”
to Shane Dawson’s I Hate Myselfie, (as well as Justine Ezarik’s I, Justine: An Analog Memoir, Joe Sugg’s Username: Evie and more). These were
amazing reads and not only great to get to see the personal journey of each of these stars, but I thought it was great to see these stars use
their connection with their young fans to encourage more reading and introduce them to the power of literature. I hope to read the hilarious
books Selp-Helf from Miranda Sings and Binge from Tyler Oakley in 2016, and look forward to more YouTuber books in the future!
The Year of Coming Out: It was a great year for the rights of LGBT members everywhere. As a supporter of equality for all, I was happy to see
things like marriage for everyone legalized, and it also warmed my heart to see stars taking a brave step forward to come out to their fans
and use their platform not only to take a personal step forward in their life, but to help encourage and inspire others to be themselves. Stars
like Joey Graceffa, Shane Dawson, Ingrid Nilsen and many more took that pivotal step, and I am so glad to see people able to be themselves in
what I hope is an evolving, caring and loving world.
Savvy Sexy Social: One of my favorite YouTube channels I began watching in 2015 was Amy Schmittauer’s Savvy Sexy Social. This channel has given
me hope and inspiration in 2015 to help me go for my dreams and helped me gain some ideas and insight into what goes into marketing in the
social media age. I’ve watched several videos of hers this year, learning about so many different aspects of marketing that I hope to put into
practice in 2016, and her podcast was also a huge help this year as well. If you are serious about not just YouTube, but any business or image
you want to convey and you want to know how to best market yourself or your business, go watch her channel and look for some great advice from
Her Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/savvysexysocial
Vloggers Take Over: I have to say, I noticed a huge rise in popularity with vlogs. For a long time I enjoyed more scripted or structured videos
such as sketches or music videos, but this year I saw the official take over of the vlogger. Family vloggers, travel vloggers, young disabled
authors in their second year of daily vlogging (shameless self promotion, youtube.com/GunslingerPimp or Avina Vlogs!), 2015 was a great year for
viewers to connect with people who shared their lives, making for a more personal, intimate viewing experience.
The 500 Sub Club: Thanks to you guys, I passed 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel, Avina Vlogs. I finally got a set schedule with my videos,
got my official podcast started and got more interactive with you guys, and now we’ve gotten to about 530 subscribers at the end of 2015. I hope
to continue with my progress and get to 1000 subs soon, and more by the end of 2016. You guys are great and have made me feel like I’m doing
something great with this channel, so thank you for all your support this year.
Local News: I put myself out there finally for my writing, and did a phone interview with my local paper, and was featured on the front page
of the paper itself. The article was written about my biggest release in 2015, VOID, my drama/contemporary romance novella available in paperback
and eBook formats now, (shameless self promotion #2). Not only that, but the news caught onto the local Spanish Newspaper as well, and I was on
the front page of that one as well. It was a great confidence boost that is inspiring me to go for my dreams more in 2016!
Reviews A Plenty: I had a lot of positive reviews come out this year, both for my short stories and my novella VOID. The positivity in my reviews
is showing me that my writing is improving and getting better as the years go on, and is giving me the confidence I need to go forward with my
work in 2016!
Thank you guys for reading this post. It was a breakout year for me in 2015, but I think it was but a stepping stone for 2016. So many great
projects inspired my own personal stuff, but I think we are on the precipice of a truly stellar year of creativity, personal growth and amazing
projects that will launch us into a whole new platform. What were your favorite things about 2015? Leave your comments below and also tell me
what you hope to see happen in the coming year.