The Daily Stream: Weird (And/or) Wonderful World Is A Delightfully Kooky Throwback Travel Show

The series: Watcher's "Weird (and/or) Wonderful World"

Where to watch it: YouTube

The pitch: In this so far brief-but-beloved comedic travelogue series, host Shane Madej takes ornery sidekick Ryan Bergara around Southern California, exploring the nooks and crannies of the city of angels with all the delighted intrigue and quirky charm of the best public TV educators of the '90s. The duo, who are best known for their work on "Buzzfeed Unsolved" but who left the media giant to start their own company with "Worth It" star Steven Lim in 2019, play up their natural chemistry, curiosity, and knack for chaos in a show that sees them tour a town full of windmills and ostriches, try their hand at competitive high speed Go-Karting, and sabotage a custom soda-making challenge.

The series, which was shot before COVID-19 and hasn't aired new episodes since, is ostensibly meant to eventually expand further beyond the borders of the greater Los Angeles area, but it still finds plenty of weirdness and wonder on the hosts' home turf. It highlights small businesses and includes one-on-one interviews (and sometimes interactive adventures) with their proprietors, letting the unbridled enthusiasm of its hosts lead the way for half-hour spotlights that are always goofy, informative, and endlessly funny.

Why it's essential viewing

I'm not what you'd call "a YouTube person," but then again, the shows at Bergara, Lim, and Madej's company Watcher often feel more creative than much of what the digital platform has to offer. "Weird (and/or) Wonderful World" couches its humor and exploration in the aesthetic of the sort of retro series that a certain generation stumbled upon as kids: funky, magical shows that could only be found either way past our bedtimes or earlier than we meant to get up. With a VHS-tape-style intro, a uniform that includes khaki jackets and inexplicable mustaches, and expert deployment of energetic sound effects, "Weird (and/or) Wonderful World" radiates a zany energy that's incredibly contagious.

For scaredy-cats like me, the show also serves as a palette cleanser for the duo's much-hyped new ghost hunting series "Ghost Files." While that series and "Buzzfeed Unsolved" capture the dynamic duo's excellent repertoire in high-stress scenarios, "Weird (and/or) Wonderful World" is about as comparatively low stakes as you can get. In fact, it's an excellent comfort watch in general, as it's so jam-packed with details and great bits that you'll find something new each time you travel along to The Mystic Museum, The Pie Hole, or The LA Breakfast Club.

Plus, like any great travel show, it opens up the world for viewers, introducing us to new perspectives and, in the best episodes, maybe even giving us the travel bug. I've traversed to a few places spotlighted by "Weird (and/or) Wonderful World," and felt an acute appreciation for their uniqueness – and for the people whose care keeps them in business – each time. It's unclear at this point if or when "Weird (and/or) Wonderful World" will return, but regardless of what its future holds, its first nine episodes are an endlessly entertaining source of comedic anthropological discovery.