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tv shows for geeksGeeks are fairly well represented on television. Sure, some shows – even those listed below – are aimed at the mainstream and therefore represent geeks as being spotty, scruffy ne’er-do-wells that live in their parents’ basements, but in general geeks are shown as role models or important people who give something positive to society. Which, as geeks ourselves, we all know we do.

The following are eight television shows, some from the past, some from the present, that all geeks should have watched. Not necessarily in their entirety, but for one episode at least. Several show geeks in all their glory, while others are based on geeky concepts which necessitate geeky speak and technology.

Doctor Who – 1963-Present

Doctor Who is the oldest geeky TV show to make it onto this list, with the first episode airing in 1963. That means it will be 50 years old in 2013, but then time is rather meaningless to the good doctor, a Time Lord who travels the universe in his TARDIS. Unfortunately Doctor Who hasn’t been an ever-present in that time, taking a break from television screens between 1989 and 2005.

Is there a geekier subject in the world than time travel? I don’t think so, even though we don’t yet know if it will ever be possible. The video above is also about as geeky as it gets, with two guys discussing Doctor Who through the years.

Star Trek – 1966-2005

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This had to make the list. Second only to Doctor Who in terms of age, Star Trek is one of my favorite television shows of all time. There have been five full Star Trek shows, starting with The Original Series starring William Shatner and his cohorts, and ending with Enterprise, a prequel that essentially killed the franchise off for the time being. Thankfully the movies continue under J.J. Abrams’ guidance.

OK, so Star Trek has had its cheesy moments, particularly in those early years. However, this is a series that predicted a future where humanity had come together to conquer the stars. The video above is the ‘How It Should Have Ended‘ for the Star Trek movie.

The X-Files – 1993-2002

The X-Files may be almost 20 years old but it remains highly watchable. We follow Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they investigate weird and wonderful cases the rest of the FBI won’t touch. The main story arc dealt with a government-level conspiracy theory and lots and lots of extraterrestrials. Also worth watching is the spin-off show The Lone Gunmen, even though it only ran for 13 episodes.

Conspiracy theories are an ever-present part of popular culture, with every big event accompanied by evidence that not everything is as it first appears. The video above shows some of the main players of The X-Files discussing the series.

CSI – 2000-Present

There are currently three different versions of this show: the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY, all of which deal with forensic crime scene investigators. Forensic science has always intrigued people, but CSI has made the very geeky scientific processes it involves look positively sexy. Hence the increase in people wanting to study the subject.

CSI is built on older shows that also featured forensic sciences, including the eminently cheesy Quincy M.E. and the eminently awesome Sherlock Holmes. The video above is titled CSI: Legoland and just about sums the show up perfectly.

The IT Crowd – 2006-Present

The IT Crowd is British comedy at its best, and it’s a truly geeky show that anyone involved in I.T. will love. The show follows the two uber-geeks who work as I.T. support at a fictional company and their department head who is as ignorant about technology as it is possible to be. If you’re a geek and haven’t yet watched The IT Crowd then stop reading this right now and go find it online immediately.

The video above is a compilation of all the times Roy, Moss, and Jen ask someone if they’ve “tried turning it off and on again,” which, as we know, is the solution to 99 percent of all computer-related problems. Or thereabouts.

Chuck – 2007-2012

Chuck is geeky in two ways. Firstly the main character works as tech support at a retail chain, which qualifies him as a geek right from the off. But then he manages to have the U.S. government’s secrets downloaded to his brain, turning him from humble genius into a spy. Unfortunately Chuck ended in 2012, but the five seasons that were made are well worth seeking out.

The above video is the launch trailer for the show, so you get a brief overview of the plot and a little of what to expect from the titular character. Which is wise-cracks and a lot of geeky goodness.

The Big Bang Theory – 2007-Present

This may be a controversial choice for some to swallow. The Big Bang Theory is geeky but it’s also derided by some for the way it portrays geeks as socially inept and lacking in common sense. However, this show, which mainly follows two Caltech physicists, has seen several famous scientists make cameo appearances, including Stephen Hawking. That more than qualifies it in my book.

The Big Bang Theory is very American, but don’t let that put you off. The video above is the theme song from The Big Bang Theory, which is History Of Everything by Barenaked Ladies.

Fringe – 2008-Present

Anyone who misses The X-Files should now be watching Fringe, as the latter has clearly been influenced by the former. However, this show takes the geekiness and ramps it up to 11 (extra points for those who get that reference). Fringe science is exactly what its name suggests, so we see parallel universes and singularities investigated by an eclectic set of characters.

The video above acts as a rundown of reasons to watch Fringe, which are many and varied. Don’t take my word for it, just watch it for yourself.

Conclusions

As a geek it’s your duty to have seen at least one episode of all those shows. The geek gods demand it. Thankfully they’re all available somewhere online through BBC iPlayer How To Watch TV On The Web With BBC iPlayer [Mainly UK Only] How To Watch TV On The Web With BBC iPlayer [Mainly UK Only] The Internet is becoming an increasingly important source for content of all media. There are legal and not-so-legal ways of listening to music, watching television and movies, playing games, and obtaining software. All via a... Read More , Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes. Or there is the good ol’ fashioned DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, physical media is still alive and well, for the time being at least.

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As is customary here on MakeUseOf we now open the floor to you, our loyal readers. What do you think of the list? Are any of these shows ones you haven’t yet watched but will now do so? What other television shows do you think all geeks should have seen? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credit: John Atherton

  1. Ajay
    December 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Where is "Silicon Valley".?

  2. ZookMan
    January 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Chuck and Big Bang both address the fantasy side of all geek males -- the geek gets the hot girl! Big Bang has some of the greatest comedic writing around right now -- the dialog is priceless. Chuck also had the other geek fantasy, which is to be a bigger-than-life kick-ass hero that gets the bad guys. What's wrong with that?
    Can't agree with CSI though -- the science is not even plausible most of the time and the writing is boring. Definitely would include Battlestar Galactica, and the prequel, Caprica.

  3. B
    December 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    No Firefly? No Galactica? And even the comments don't mention Buffy! WTF? Seriously?

  4. Aryan Vaid
    December 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I will watch as many as possible. I only know about big bang theory & I like it.

  5. Rose
    November 30, 2012 at 12:11 am

    "Monk" should be on your geeky t.v. list. It's less Hollywood-like than CSI.

  6. Larry Aldrich
    November 8, 2012 at 3:38 am

    The US Max Headroom series. Thank gawd it's available on DVD.

  7. mrm528581
    August 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I must be a geek all the shows are my favorites

  8. Kaashif Haja
    August 19, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I saw Big Bang Theory! It's good.
    I need to start watching CSI.

  9. Jeff
    August 6, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I dont really see Chuck or CSI's place on this list when leaving off a show as good as Quantum Leap.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 6, 2012 at 12:32 am

      There is no right or wrong answers here. Quantum Leap was an option but I left it off. I'm happy that you have now mentioned it though :)

  10. Paige
    August 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Nix Big Bang and replace with Firefly

  11. Eric Lundgren
    August 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Big Bang Theory!

  12. Naveen Nandakumar
    August 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I'd agree with most of this list except for xfiles and CSI. I watched every episode of xfiles and both movies, and have regretted it. But, why not Mythbusters? Stupid, geeky fun.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      I should have said fictional television shows, but you have given me an idea for another similar article, so thanks :)

  13. Bumferry
    August 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Have never watched Chuck, and CSI is something the Missus watches more than I do. As for the rest? I'm all over that! TBBT is one of the funniest shows for geeks like me!

  14. Victor Cesto
    August 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    CSI is the best one.

    • Amanda
      August 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      can't tell if trolling or just . . . .

  15. Bila Box
    August 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    haha, it seems like I'm only foreign person right here. I'm only know Star Trek and The X-Files.

    • Amanda
      August 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      don't feel too bad. us north americans waste our whole lives watching tv.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I'm British, so I guess I'm foreign in a way. All of these shows have made it to the UK though.

  16. Hojo_Wisconsin
    August 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Seems like a list for mainly network TV. I would say Futurama should be included on the list.

  17. Muhammad Ahmad
    August 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Nice collection.

  18. Fred Murphy
    August 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I suppose 6 out of 8 will do.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I suppose your comment will do ;)

  19. betoblas
    August 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    The IT Crowd and Startrek are great!

  20. Ira Brandstein
    August 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Battlestar Gallacta, Grimm, and how do we forget Lost in Space!!

  21. Nikopik
    August 1, 2012 at 7:46 am

    What about Red Dwarf ? ;-)

  22. Ales Mole
    August 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Fringe and Doctor Who definitely my favourite

  23. Earl Potter
    August 1, 2012 at 4:42 am

    I must have missed something. How is Firefly not in this list?

    • Dave Parrack
      August 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Because to include every single geeky TV show (just look at the number of suggestions there are) would have been impossible.

  24. Todd Swan
    August 1, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Dump CSI and add Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.

    • Amanda
      August 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      I concur. Also dump Big Bang Theory. Sitcoms are barfola.

      Firefly and Battlestar Galactica are BAWS.

      There's also Breaking Bad to consider. . .

      • Dave Parrack
        August 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        I love that this subject has caused so much debate :)

  25. Doc
    August 1, 2012 at 1:18 am

    "The Big Bang Theory ... mainly follows two Caltech physicists"

    There are now *seven* main characters; Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, Bernadette, Rajesh ("Raj"), Amy and Penny.

  26. Millaray Burns
    August 1, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Top 2 are timeless.

  27. John
    August 1, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I would not have included CSI, Fringe and The Big Bang Theory. Otherwise an ok list - a C at best.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 1, 2012 at 1:04 am

      So generous ;) Suggest some you would have included. I'd say Fringe is about as geeky as it gets!

    • Stephanie w
      August 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

      I wouldn't have suggested CSI or Big Bang Theory. CSI is god awful.

      • Cory Gordinier
        August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        What, you don't want to track a killer's IP address in real time using a GUI you made in Visual Basic?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkDD03yeLnU

        As a programmer, this made me very, very angry.

        And Big Bang Theory pales in *real* geekiness to, say, IT Crowd. It's just a collection of (bad) jokes about what people THINK geeks are like, or stereotypically categorize geeks into. To me, it's like saying Archer or the Bond movies are a great example of what the CIA and FBI deal with daily. Completely out of touch with reality, and formed off of running, blown-out-of-proportion gags. Cue laugh track.

        • Dave Parrack
          August 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

          In which case it's worth geeks watching to see how they're stereotyped by mainstream television producers.

    • Stephanie w
      August 1, 2012 at 1:17 am

      I would not have put Chuck, either.

      • Dave Parrack
        August 1, 2012 at 1:20 am

        Suggest some you would have included then. There's nothing saying this is a one-sided conversation.

        • Stephanie w
          August 1, 2012 at 1:42 am

          I'm not sure. I certainly agree with Dr Who, IT crowd, Star Trek, and the X Files. Maybe Buffy, Farscape, Stargate (SG1 and Atlantis, not Universe), Babylon 5, Arrested Development, Dead Like Me, or Community. But it depends on what your definition of "geek tv" is. Is it mostly sci-fi cult classics? Shows about people who don't fit in or are a little weird? Anything cool but not quite mainstream?

        • dmutchler
          August 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

          ah, Babylon 5...imo, the equivalent to Blade Runner, albeit a series and thus, different kind of beast. Just simply well done, though. A bit campy (Star Trek anyone?) but well done.

          No Eureka? Too soon?

        • Dave Parrack
          August 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

          I went with shows I felt would appeal to the sort of geeks who read MUO. Nothing more, nothing less.

  28. Phúc Ng?c
    August 1, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I should give them a try ^_^

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