There have been countless geeky television shows produced over the years, from comedies to dramas, from reality TV to science fiction. But which are the absolute best every self-respecting geek should have watched by now?
We decided to find out the answer to this question, and with the help of the MakeUseOf readership, were able to create a list of 18 of the best television shows for geeks. This is geek TV in all its geeky glory.
What follows is a list of 18 gloriously geeky television shows.
If you have seen all of the following shows then congratulations, you can consider yourself a true geek. However, we would like to know the secret to having so much time to waste watching television.
And if you haven’t seen all of the following shows then this is the perfect opportunity to add some must-see TV shows to your future viewing plans. Most of these shows would be absolutely ideal for binge-watching.
The IT Crowd is a British sitcom starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson. It’s focused on the information technology (IT) department at Reynholm Industries, and is the origin of the classic line, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
Person of Interest is an American crime drama with a science fiction twist, as an omnipresent surveillance system predicts crimes before they have been committed. The system evolves into a sentient artificial intelligence, which brings to mind the equally geeky The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Quantum Leap is an American science fiction show following the adventures Dr. Sam Beckett and his assistant Al. Beckett (played by Scott Bakula) is a physicist who assumes the identity of a different person each week thanks to a time travel experiment gone wrong. Thankfully, he always changes their lives for the better.
Silicon Valley is an American sitcom co-created by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-head, Office Space). It follows a group of friends founding a startup in the titular Silicon Valley. With lots of jokes that will go over the heads of anyone not interested in technology, Silicon Valley is a show literally made for geeks.
Mystery Science Theater 3000, also known as MST3K, is a comedy series which ran between 1988 and 1997. The show centers on Joel Robinson, a janitor launched into space and forced to watch terrible B-movies. Robinson is ably assisted by two sentient robots, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, and the trio spend each episode making wisecracks about the movies.
Chuck is a comedy spy drama starring Zachary Levi as the main protagonist and titular character of the show. Chuck is a computer expert working in a dead-end job until a friend at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) subliminally embeds a database in his brain. Thus he becomes a spy working for the United States government.
Doctor Who is a British science fiction show everybody should at least be aware of by now. The show, which has been running on and off since 1963, depicts the adventures of a time-travelling alien known simply as the Doctor. There have been multiple Doctors and companions over the years, which is what led us to create a guide to the best Doctor Who episodes of all time.
Firefly is an American science fiction drama written and directed by Joss Whedon. The show focuses on the crew of the “Firefly-class” spaceship Serenity. Firefly only lasted for one season of 14 episodes, but enough fans retained interest in the show for there to be a film sequel called Serenity.
Star Trek is arguably the biggest science fiction drama ever made, with multiple different versions appearing on TV since Star Trek: The Original Series first aired in 1966. Set in a future where humanity has traveled beyond the confines of our own galaxy, Star Trek has endured thanks to films, books, toys, and video games.
Babylon 5 is an American space opera which follows the action on board the titular space station Babylon 5. This exists as a center for trade and diplomacy, with all of the various races seen in the series interacting on board. With countless story arcs to follow and multiple allegorical themes, Babylon 5 is geek TV for grown-ups.
Battlestar Galactica is a science fiction franchise which began in 1978 before being rebooted in 2003. The show, in all its various guises, tells the story of the eponymous spaceship Battlestar Galactica and its crew, who appear to be the only survivors of a war between a human civilization and a race of cybernetic aliens called the Cylons.
Warehouse 13 is a sci-fi show which follows two Secret Service agents put in charge of the eponymous Warehouse 13. This is the building — as designed by Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and M. C. Escher — where supernatural artifacts are stored. Thus we get The X-Files meets Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Red Dwarf is a British science fiction comedy created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. It’s essentially a pastiche of some of the more serious shows on this list, most notably Star Trek. Red Dwarf shows what happens to the crew of the eponymous spaceship, which includes the last human being in the universe, a humanoid feline, an android called Kryten, and a hologram named Rimmer.
The Prisoner is a British television series which somewhat defies simple categorization. The plot centers on a spy (played by Patrick McGoohan), who, after resigning from his job as a spy, finds himself imprisoned in a strange village where nothing is quite as it seems.
Misfits is a British sci-fi comedy drama showing what happens when a group of youngsters obtain supernatural powers after getting caught in a freak electrical storm. Misfits is peculiarly British, and shows a wider range of the issues faced by people with unnatural powers than the standard Marvel fare.
Heroes is a science fiction drama which shows what happens when ordinary people discover they’ve gained superhuman powers overnight. The series features lots of different characters and individual storylines, all of which contribute to the overarching plot.
The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom starring Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco. The basic premise is watching how Leonard Hofstadter (Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Parsons), two physicists at Caltech, deal with life in the real world, with Penny (Cuoco), a waitress living across from them, acting as a foil.
The television version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first aired in 1981, having made the transition from the radio series. Douglas Adams was a master at changing stories across mediums, and this version of the original novel is still highly watchable to this day.
Continue the Conversation
In order to compile this list of the best TV shows for geeks, we asked for help from the MakeUseOf community. Those who responded to the request answered the question, What’s Your Favorite Geeky TV Show Of All Time?. Noteworthy comments include those from Peter, Xoandre, and PezLee.
This list features just a selection of the best TV shows for geeks we extracted from the discussion, but there are many more out there. Which is where you come in. Please continue the conversation in the comments section below. While some of you took part in the original discussion, there is always room for more opinions.
Image Credits: Erinn Simon via Flickr