Great news! Even though we have to wait two more weeks for Community’s triumphant return to television on March 15, we’re not going to be completely without Troy, Annie, and the rest of the study group for that long, because this week NBC is launching a three-part series of animated shorts entitled “Abed’s Master Key,” which will follow the character in his new role as Dean Pelton’s assistant and will be released on Hulu and NBC.com over three consecutive days, starting tomorrow. We know we’re excited – not just because we’re Community fans, but because we love seeing more content from the TV shows we love, and the Internet is the perfect place to find it! Check out the best web series spin-offs of all your favorite programs after the jump.
The Office has been doing webisodes for years, but the ones about Kelly and Erin’s girl group, Subtle Sexuality, are definitely our favorites. Here’s their latest music video, “Girl Next Door” – keep your eyes peeled for hilarious little details like Erin holding a cigarette the wrong way. You can check out many more of The Office’s shorts on the NBC website.
The Walking Dead
Want to feel even more conflicted about the brutal violence in AMC’s The Walking Dead? Well, here’s another friendly reminder that all those flesh-eating corpses used to be alive! This web series is about Hannah Palmer, who you might recognize (thought probably not) as that one half-a-woman zombie Rick Grimes puts down in the very first episode of Season 1. Now you get to watch her tragic transformation over the course of six mini-episodes on the AMC site. Hooray for more zombies!
Back when it was still on the air, Ronald Moore’s Battlestar Galactica was particularly good at using webisodes to fill in the gaps between seasons. “Razor” (above) was just one of several series, and it followed a young William Adama (played in the actual show by Edward James Olmos) in the first Cylon War. You can find the rest of the online spin-off on the Syfy website, and there are more BSG web productions on Hulu, too.
The producers of 30 Rock don’t have an in-universe reason for the show to be animated in the same way that Community has one, in Abed’s genre-savvy psychosis. But that didn’t stop them from releasing “Jack Donaghy, Executive Superhero” about Jack’s secret superpowers, which he uses to mess with Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Sadly, this makes us miss Maulik Pancholy as Jack’s assistant Jonathan more than anything else. Still, superpowers!
Just in case you didn’t think Dexter Morgan’s elaborate serial killer ritual was disturbing enough, Showtime put together a small series of web shorts devoted to the character’s earlier kills. The slow, picture book-like animation style is chilling considering the subject matter, and it’s pretty refreshing to have a basic Dexter-stalking story without Battista and Laguerta’s marital nonsense mucking it up. The rest of the series is on the “Dexter: Early Cuts” YouTube channel.
Parks and Recreation
Remember that time Andy and April decided to spontaneously go on a road trip so that they could see the Grand Canyon together? This short series of videos follows their adventure, starting with Episode 1, in which Andy tries to help April overcome her fear of spiders (“Arachno-cornocopia,” as he puts it). The whole series is available on the NBC website.
Wouldn’t you love to go back to a simpler time between Season 2 and Season 3 of True Blood, before there were fairies and were-panthers and weird amnesia plots? Well, if you didn’t see these six mini-episodes that were made to promote the third season, then now you can — with a little digging on YouTube, of course. In the one above, Eric and Pam audition new exotic dancers for Fangtasia (so be warned, it’s a little NSFW) and we continue to wonder why this entire show isn’t about Pam and her awesomeness.
The upcoming animated shorts aren’t this show’s first foray into webisodes, either. There have also been a couple of other short series about the goings on at Greendale Community College, including one starring Oscar winner Jim Rash (it still feels so strange to write that) as the dean. This episode is entitled “Hair Piece.” Guess what it’s about? Check out the rest of them at NBC.com to fill the Community shaped-void that this hiatus has created.