Geeks 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
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.
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, 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.
Be sure to also read the following articles:-
- 8 Movies Every Geek Should Watch (And Love)
- 5 Non-Fiction Books Every Technology Geek Must Read
- 5 Essential Technology Podcasts That Geeks Should Listen To
- 10 Websites Geeks Of All Stripes Should Bookmark
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
Explore more about: Television.