While some people criticize YouTube’s recommendation algorithm (and they are definitely justified in some ways as many of their recommendations are garbage), Down the Rabbit Hole is a series I never would have found without it. I was recommended the first episode (“Digital Homicide Studios”) and was hooked from the beginning. A few days later, I had already watched the entire back catalogue of episodes and I am now looking forward to each future episode. The series is very well-researched, extremely high quality, and definitely worthy of being the first web series I spotlight in this new post series.
Down the Rabbit Hole is a very fitting name for this non-fiction web series since it takes a deep-dive into the stranger parts of the internet, subcultures, and even history. Topics covered so far include Neopets, the SCP Foundation collaborative writing project, content creators like Spoony and DarksydePhil, the Final Fantasy house, and historical oddities like plague doctors and the mouse utopia experiments. As I am a big history buff (especially anything odd or offbeat) and love learning about the weirder parts of the internet, Down the Rabbit Hole is pretty much the perfect web series for me. Of the topics covered by this series, I was least interested in the historical ones but even those wound up being very interesting episodes to watch. Fredrik Knudsen (Down the Rabbit Hole‘s channel runner) clearly spends a lot of time researching these topics as they are very well-researched and episodes only come out every one to two months. Most of these subjects are also incredibly obscure (some have even been partially scrubbed from the internet), which I’m sure makes the research even more difficult to undertake. This isn’t one of those low-effort YouTube channels that just restates content already on the internet; tons of research from multiple sources is utilized to create a very informed video essay about each subject. While Knudsen rarely makes mistakes, he periodically releases “mistake videos” where he fixes the few (usually very minor) errors that he makes.
One thing that I love about Down the Rabbit Hole is that it shines a light on topics I’ve usually never even heard of. Since I’ve been using the internet since the very early days, I like to think that I know more about the internet and its history than most people. However, I only knew a lot about two of the topics Down the Rabbit Hole has covered so far (Neopets and Digital Homicide). I had heard of things like the SCP Foundation and the plague doctors but only knew a little bit about each. I am guessing that most viewers will be like me, only knowledgeable about a handful of the topics covered (and even those episodes will likely teach you a few new things you hadn’t heard before). I also love that Down the Rabbit Hole has already sparked my interest in two things covered. It got me to finally check out the SCP Foundation and I love it. I am also very interested in checking out vaporwave music, a genre I never would have heard of if it weren’t for this series.
While Down the Rabbit Hole episodes are mostly meant to be informative, they can still be pretty entertaining at times as well. Knudsen can be quite funny at times, especially when he reads off the absurd things some of these people have said in forums, comments, and emails. He’s just reading off what was actually said but for some reason it is quite funny to hear him say things like “…calling it useless shit and other vulgar pejoratives.” I wouldn’t say most episodes are hilarious but some (“Finger Family Videos”) can be very funny. Knudsen’s voice is also very soothing and absolutely perfect for this kind of content.
Down the Rabbit Hole features many topics that are a bit creepy, if not even disturbing. I don’t think I would consider any of them to be nightmare fuel, but if you like hearing creepy tales this series is definitely for you. The only problem I have with Down the Rabbit Hole (which isn’t really even its fault), is that certain episodes can be a bit uncomfortable to watch due to the cringe-worthy subjects featured. These people are all completely clueless but I can’t help but feel bad for some of them. The second episode “Sonichu” is the perfect example of this. While the “Sonichu” creator is far from a perfect person, I do feel bad for how much he was bullied and trolled (some of his trolls are every bit as horrible as he is). No other episode is as uncomfortable to watch as this one, but I do prefer the less cringe-worthy topics (and I especially love the more positive stories the series covers like the “SCP Foundation” episode).
Down the Rabbit Hole is a strong non-fiction web series from the very beginning, with every episode so far at least being worth a watch (and most of them are must-watches in my opinion). Unlike many YouTube series, this one starts off strong and keeps getting better. If you have any interest in offbeat history, the odder side of the internet, or subcultures like furries or otaku, you should definitely check this series out. It deserves far more than the 300,000 subscribers it had at this post’s time of publication.
Must-Watch Episodes: “Digital Homicide Studios,” “The SCP Foundation,” “Finger Family Videos,” and “The Mouse Utopia Experiments”
Watch Down the Rabbit Hole: YouTube
More Posts in This Series: Web Series You Should Watch: The Full List -> #002: Best of the Worst