The one thing about making a Top 100 list is, in short, only 100 entrants can make the cut. When setting out for the first time ever to put this list together, it’s inevitable that people who deserve to be there are going to be left off for various reasons — adjusting metrics, debates going a certain way, or we Just Plain Missed It. Many favorites — some of our own, included! — didn’t make it to the NMR Top 100. So we’ve each made our own lists of YouTubers we would have added to the lineup.
Here they are:
Our list of the top 100 Channels of all time was pretty comprehensive, but I have to admit I was disappointed not to see Liam Kyle Sullivan make the list. When included a lot of old school and first generation YouTubers, but Sullivan’s channel dates back to the halcyon days of 2006 before Google took over and long before anyone had even coined the term “YouTuber” let alone figured out what it meant. He was one of the first to really jump into the medium feet first and as such he’s responsible for some of the most iconic viral videos of early YouTube.
I first encountered his video “Shoes” when I was freshman in college. The term viral video wasn’t really a part of the vernacular yet. Facebook was still only available at some 30 colleges and it would still be a few years before you could post a YouTube video on someone’s wall, but somehow Liam’s videos were still everywhere you went. Some would pull you aside at a party and say “hey, you need to see this,” and there would be Sullivan’s Kelly character in mid shoe rant. Soon Sullivan’s videos were everywhere. My boss showed me “Text Message Breakup” and my mom emailed me “Muffins”. Sullivan’s channel has been dormant for about two years, but it was pretty revolutionary and definitely worthy of a spot in the Top 100.
I’d also like to give a very honorable mention to four channels that I think have produced excellent and noteworthy content. They may not have made the cut for the 100 best of all time, but each has contributed something important and unique to the YouTube ecosystem.
Leaving John and Hank Green’s vlogbrothers channel off our Top 100 list was one of those tricky, much-debated decisions — and yes, we have been yelled at by indignant Nerdfighters for it. (Sorry we forgot to be awesome, guys.) In terms of channels that have changed the face of YouTube, we ultimately decided it was more important to feature other John-and-Hank-related projects like Brain Scoop, Mental Floss and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and channels that were the original inspiration for the vlogbrothers format e.g. Lonelygirl15.
In terms of YouTube personalities, however, there’s no denying that John and Hank are two of the biggest players in the game. Starting in 2006, their weekly video conversations about their daily lives built a thriving, passionate fanbase and gave rise to all kinds of discussions, events and volunteer projects. With the support of their loyal Nerdfighters, John and Hank have founded VidCon, headed up charity efforts like the Project for Awesome and promoted John’s bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars, which was recently adapted into a hit movie. Today the vlogbrothers channel has nearly 2.5 million subscribers and their online following is still going strong.
Other channels that get my personal shoutout:
There’s a real “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mentality to YouTube. It’s such a business of “who do I think can help my career?” that oftentimes we at NMR end up befriending lots and lots of awesome creators. That being said, some of them go above and beyond in terms of awesomeness and friendship with the site and do us solids on multiple levels. And so that makes this list of people I feel we shamefully left off the Top 100 list particularly egregious. Here’s the deal though: I don’t necessarily believe anyone on the 100 should get booted off, I just think that somehow the number 100 needs five additional components to it.
And at the top of my list of what we’re calling Honorable Mentions: Jack Vale. How the hell is this prankmaster not on our list? Jack has done us solid after solid and written some very nice letters to us. We’ve kicked it with him on more than one occasion and are on a hugging basis with his equally awesome and talented family. I’m pretty sure if we pressed the issue, they’d have us over for Thanksgiving. Of course, it would probably be some sort of Pranksgiving with a fake turkey full of nightmares and fart machines, but so what? The bottom line is that Jack Vale and these other channels BELONG on the Top 100:
VerveGirlTV is a Canadian channel (spun off from the teen magazine VerveGirl) that puts out a variety of content from scripted series to interviews to fashion advice. For a channel that’s only been around for a year and a half, they have a lot of interesting content already, but to be honest, I’m putting VerveGirlTV on this list for one reason and one reason only: Carmilla.
“Carmilla” is one of the literary adaptation vlog-series that has sprung up in the wake of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” retelling the lesbian vampire tale of, well, Carmilla. Though the first season only concluded in December, the episodes already have hundreds of thousands of views, and the fandom is rampant. Carmilla created content for an audience that is desperate for more queer representation than mainstream television and even most web shows often provide, and they did it well. High production values, talented actors and writer, entertaining transmedia, and a supernatural twist that didn’t look or come across too cheesy all contributed to making this show a surprise hit. With a second season in the works, and lots of behind the scenes content still coming out in the meantime, it’s likely that this show will continue to be one of the most popular shows on YouTube and hopefully go on to inspire more creators to tell stories that matter to them. If things like Lonelygirl15 and “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” are considered stepping stones, then VerveGirlTV’s “Carmilla” is easily on the roster of web shows taking things to the next level.
Other honorable mentions:
James Rolfe was one of the first major voices on YouTube when it came to video games. Seriously, Cinemassacre has been around for an impressive eight years, with the pioneer series “The Angry Video Game Nerd” itself having been started over 10 years ago on Rolfe’s personal site. “AVGN” paved the way for old school gaming content on YouTube as a viable way to engage the audience. The show focused on Rolfe playing retro games while becoming increasingly frustrated by their difficult mechanics before destroying the cartridge in a flurry of obscenities and fire.
If you’ve ever watch “Game Grumps,” you’re most certainly looking at some of the influence Rolfe had on the YouTube gaming community. His influence can be felt in the furthest reaches of each Let’s Play, so much so that in 2014, “Angry Video Game Nerd” became “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.” At 133 episodes, and after nearly 10 years, “AVGN” shows no sign of stopping. As a matter of fact, Cinemassacre’s empire as only expanded and we can only hope it continues to do so.
Other honorable mentions:
Dan Howell, otherwise known as Danisnotonfire, is one of the first YouTubers I started watching religiously, and that I continue to watch religiously. Howell has attracted more than 4 million subscribers in his five year (and counting!) YouTube career. His relatable vlogs are quite entertaining. However, they appeal to such a large audience not only because they are entertaining, but because Howell says what’s on everyone’s mind. He talks about his addiction to his iPhone, his struggles with human interaction, his opinions on opinions, and, of course, his most awkward moments.
Dan Howell happens to have quite a bit of embarrassing stories, and thankfully, he shares them with us. His storytelling ability helps us relate to him, feel bad for him, and also, makes us laugh. Dan Howell’s relatable and funny vlogs definitely makes him deserving of a spot on the Top 100.
Who would you have added to our Top 100 list? Let us know in the comments!