As you've likely heard, YouTube has been tossing around hundreds of millions of dollars on new original programming. It's equally likely that you haven't seen any of these shows, as their tastes run toward the extreme niches. The typical format is to pair a famous personality with a concept, which yields such gems as Shaq's comedy channel, Rainn Wilson's philosophy channel, Jaime Oliver's food channel, and Pharrell Williams' [something, something] channel.
It's difficult to describe — much less, recommend — these shows, because the format feels like something that's being invented in real time. It's like if William Gibson described Downton Abbey to the King George V — it's futuristic and backwards at the same time.
Jerry Seinfeld's show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee might be the quintessential example of the genre. After episodes with room-filling personalities like Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, and Larry David, it fittingly wrapped up its final episode with Michael Richards.
Let's pretend Kramer just burst into your apartment and get to the crux of the matter: At the 14-minute mark, Michael Richards begins to discuss his racially-charged onstage breakdown from seven years ago. "I busted up after that event," he explains. "It broke me down." Even if you're unwilling to grant him clemency, it feels like an honest moment.
But the more gripping part comes right after that. He looks at Seinfeld and says "Thanks for sticking by me. It meant a lot to me." It's a slightly awkward moment, but also a touchingly rare one — a slice of friendship you don't see on television.
Maybe these new YouTube shows will work after all.