"Aaron's Animals" has under 1 million subscribers, but manages to hilariously blend two of the internet's favorite elements: cats and animation. (Image via YouTube)
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"Aaron's Animals" has under 1 million subscribers, but manages to hilariously blend two of the internet's favorite elements: cats and animation. (Image via YouTube)

The cat’s out of the bag now, though.

Admit it, you spend more time on YouTube than you would like, with it somehow becoming infinitely more attractive right before you have a paper due. So, since you are going to spend most of your time on the site anyway, why not own it and check out some new channels?

Whether you like cats, films, unknown stories or breath-taking scenery, my list has got your back. These channels are all hidden gems that have less than a million subscribers, but each YouTuber possess a certain quality that merits them much more than their meager subscription numbers.

1. Sam O’Nella Academy – 805K subscribers

Do you know what the Waffle House Index is? (It has nothing to do with waffles.) Did you know the United States once had an “emperor”? Or that the bananas you eat carry a dark history of dictatorship?

Sam O’Nella Academy” is a channel designed to teach you about facts that tend to fall under the radar. Although you’d probably be just fine without Sam O’Nella — the YouTuber and sole professor of the academy — telling you what hidden deformities you might have, or why you don’t want to be a pirate, his channel might make you question your entire life.

O’Nella delivers deadpan humor with the tone of a sophisticated lecturer. When talking about the metabolism of a sloth, he compares it to the metabolism of the average college kid: “sleeping 16 hours a day and only crapping like once a week.”

When broaching the subject of slaughtering a cow, he says, “This is where things get messy, so try to forget that we gave this random animal a name a minute ago.” When talking about dog breeding, he quips at the absurdity of making dogs cuter by giving them “disgusting genetic deformities.”

With O’Nella’s unique mixture of knowledge and wit, it’s only a matter of time before his channel blows up.

2. intomore – 24K subscribers

intomore” is a young YouTube channel (created on April 30) that creates short videos to highlight LGBTQ issues. With an inquisitive spirit, “intomore” provides social experiments that discuss ageism, racism and body-shaming in the gay community with videos such as “A Younger and Older Guy Switch Grindr Profiles,” “A White and Asian User Switch Grindr Profiles” and “Two Guys with Different Body Types Swap Grindr Accounts.”

The channel also has heart-wrenching and inspiring videos such as “Trans Musician Ryan Cassata Sings About Coming Out” and “I’m a Trans Male Bodybuilder.” However, don’t worry, they also have hilarious videos that are bound to break the tension, such as “Translating the Gay Gasp” or “Trans Men Audition for Scarlett Johansson Roles.”

The channel’s videos are mostly around the four-minute mark, so they’ll have no trouble fitting into your next study or work break.

3. Lessons from the Screen Play – 811K subscribers

For anyone who loves stories and storytelling, this channel is a must. YouTuber Michael describes his channel as “part educational series and part love letter to awesome films.” “Lessons from the Screen Play” dissects classic films and examine their intricate designs. The channel is especially helpful for writers who want to tell stories with more skills and impact.

His most recent upload examines how “Jurassic Parkuses theme to craft characters. Some of the channel’s most popular and insightful uploads are “The Dark Knight — Creating the Ultimate Antagonist” and “Whiplash vs. Black Swan —The anatomy of the Obsessed Artist.”

Michael takes suggestions from viewers on which film to discuss next. If you don’t see your favorite film on the channel, maybe he’ll create one for you.

4. Now You See It – 595K subscribers

Now You See It” is similar to “Lessons from the Screen Play,” but instead of focusing only on the writing, “Now You See It” focuses on a variety of elements in film. YouTuber Jack Nugent describes his channel as “a college film analysis class minus the lecture halls, essay assignments and student loan debts.” Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it?

Like its title, “Now You See It” points out how little things in great movies shape and build the movies’ greatness. In one of his most interesting uploads, he discusses the significance of milk in a host of movies, such as “A Clock Work Orange” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

In another note-worthy upload, he discusses how phallic symbolism in “Alien” challenges the horror film trope, which eroticizes violence towards women.

After you’ve watched the channel, maybe you’ll even notice new things in your favorite films that you haven’t seen before.

5. Abroad in Japan – 892K subscribers

The channel’s name sounds straightforward and boring until I connected the dots and realized that the YouTuber is named Chris Broad, then it sort of seemed funny in a dad-joke kind of way.

Broad, a British man who has been living in Japan for six years, managed to distinguish himself among the other Japanese YouTubers with the kind of quirky humor that the channel’s name captures so well.

He also takes his viewers to places that other YouTubers based in Japan don’t, such as a village in northern Japan where locals believe Jesus Christ died, and a temple in Fukushima to meet Japan’s most well-preserved mummy.

6. PolyMatter – 368K Subscribers

PolyMatter” is an educational channel that not only provides mini-lectures, such as “How Cruise Ships Work” (trust me, this is way more interesting than the title suggests), it also makes hot takes such as “Why Bing isn’t a Failure,” “Not Everyone Should Code” and “Why Monopoly Doesn’t Suck.” The YouTuber also discusses interesting topics such as the inevitability of war with China and the “Grand Theory of Amazon.”

“PolyMatter” covers everything from politics to economics, from technology to popular entertainment. The YouTuber provides both bite-sized information packages and his own original arguments. So definitely check him out if you want to learn something or hear some of his nuanced theories.

7. Aaron’s Animals – 648K subscribers

It is hard to believe that “Aaron’s Animals” only has 648k subscribers. It’s already has the internet’s favorite thing, cats, but with an upgrade — animated cats. The animation is of real cats, however, not of drawings. One of the recurring cats in the videos is Prince Michael, whose cute majesty you can check out on Aaron’s website.

“Aaron’s Animals” supposedly documents Aaron’s life with his animals through video, but the channel is much more than that, with fun and wildly imaginative videos. In one episode, Aaron’s cats, Prince Michael and Phil, performed mind-control on Aaron and made him buy a whole aisle of cat food and chase away dogs in the park. In another video, the cats tried out for the World Cup.

If you like cats, or just funny animations, you will love “Aaron’s Animals.”

8. Rare Earth – 552K subscribers

Rare Earth” is a channel where you go to both relax and get blown away. Using a drone camera, the channel takes you to places that lift your body — which is most likely vegging out on the couch right now — and drops you right in the middle of earth’s greatest paradises.

Along with the beautiful scenery, the channel also introduces audiences to the story and culture behind the places it visits.  If you’re inclined, you can visit the River with a Thousand Penis statues in Cambodia, or meet the rats in Tanzania that sweep for landmines.

9. Blank on Blank – 307K subscribers

Blank on Blank” is a channel that gathers lost interviews of famous names and brings it to back to the public in video form with amazing animation. One of the most memorable videos includes “Kurt Cobain on Identity,” where he talks about his confusion over his sexuality and the stomach problem he had as a result of his anger issues.

Another video to check out is “Jim Morrison on Why Fat is Beautiful,” where he talks about his experience with his college cafeteria (which seems great, unlike the experience of most college students I know). In “Robin Williams on Masks,” Williams talks about how comedy functions as a way to peel off people’s masks.

Other celebrities whose lost interviews are “found” and animated include Tupac Shakur, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Carl Sagan and Stephen King.

Writer Profile

Vanessa Chen

Franklin and Marshall College
Creative Writing

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