03 June, 2011

Top 10 Geek Shows You Should Watch


So you call yourselves geeks or fans of shows that are fantasy based?  You buy your tickets to SDCC every year and spend thousands to stand in line all day to see the new X-MEN trailer?  But when I ask you if you watched this show or that you look at me like I just kissed your sister (ignore this one if I just kissed your sister)!

First, let me define the difference between a GEEK and a NERD since this is bound to turn into "that's not a geek show" or "you don't know what you are talking about, nerd!"  Only my opinion matters in this regard since it is my list.  If you don't agree, then you have only yourself to blame.

THE NERD
Loves linear knowledge. Has a shrine to Star Trek and learned to speak Klingon because Shakespeare is better in the original mother tongue.  Spent five years trying to find the meaning behind the numbers on LOST and has 500 JPEGs of the images that are shown at each FRINGE commercial break, looking for patterns in what has to be code.  Consumed by the logic of things and uses terms like "derivative" and "pedantic" when their entertainment pays homage, because the nerd doesn't require anyone to validate their love for things.  As a scientist or engineer, is likely to be more on the development side of things because making things work is more interesting than the concept.  Give one a manual and watch them devour it.


THE GEEK
Loves collecting stuff!  Has watched Star Wars at least once a week since 1977 because of light sabers and droids and the Force and Han shooting first and Jawas and space battles and the JEDI!  Didn't learn to speak any particular fantasy language (except maybe a few choice words or terms) but can do a mean Yoda or Jabba impression and can twirl a lightsaber like one of those prequel Jedi.  Loves to quote lines from their favorite shows.  Consumed by the potential of things and "geeks out" when a show pays homage, because the geek is at the core a social bug.  As a scientist or engineer, enjoys the research side more because coming up with concepts for technology is far more interesting than making sure it works.  Give one a manual and watch the perplexed look on their face.


Here are the top 10 Geek shows... that you should watch:

10. SOUTH PARK (1997-Present) - It is animated, edgy, pop cultury, hilarious and even after over fourteen seasons, still relevant (unlike that show on FOX with the spiky haired brat).  The fact that they can make these episodes in less than a week and have them ready for airing also means it is the only show that can take an immediate current event and lampoon it before the ink is dry on your Sunday paper (people still read those, right?).

9. THE IT CROWD (2006-Present) - A show from the UK that is full of pop culture and geek centric themes.  Only a true geek would love it.  While it plays around with the world of information technology, it only does so on the surface, focusing more on the comedy of outcasts.

8. SPACED (1999-2001) - Another UK show.  Made by geeks, for geeks, about geeks.  Though made way back in the day (over 10 years ago), it still feels current as the generational themes haven't shifted all that much in geek world.  It also has the most amazing "gun fight" ever put to film.

7. ARCHER (2009-Present) - Geeks love toys.  Archer has tons of them.  Plus witty writing and crude humor make for win.  The show is wish fulfillment for geeks as Archer can do anyone and anything without suffering too many consequences.  It is also brutal, reference heavy and very quotable.

6. FIREFLY (2002) - Never even made it through a whole season but is worshipped by geeks everywhere for its great characters, fun stories, quick dialogue and geektastic casting.  Though this show aims more for realism than fantasy, it avoids nerdisms by not getting caught up in technicalities.

5. COMMUNITY (2009-Present) - One of those shows that could end up much higher on the list down the line.  It is an orgie of all things geek and more often than not executed masterfully.  It is like every show and yet no show can be compared to it.  Arguably the most geek show ever made.  It is important to note that if you watch just the first few episodes of season 1, then you won't experience what this show has become as the writers went along.  Watch them all or don't bother, the payoff is pretty incredible.

4. CHUCK (2007-2012) - Terrible name for an intoxicatingly lovable show.  This is the ultimate geek fantasy.  Brilliant guy in a dead-end job gets abilities through tech and is suddenly thrust into the spy world.  Assigned a beautiful CIA handler, he falls for her.  And the rest is history.  This show delivers more character progress in 78 episodes (91 will be its final tally) than most shows do in 178.  Plus, how can you not be watching a show where characters hum the Imperial March from Star Wars to gain confidence for a mission?  Or demonstrate proficiency with an Italian accent inspired by Nintendo's Mario?  All in the same episode!  Not to mention one of the most likable casts on television.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you should.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

3. QUANTUM LEAP (1989-1993) - Scott Bakula at his best (though, he is pretty great on CHUCK as well).  A never-ending possibility of story lines and shifting characters in every episode, this has to be one of the most challenging acting gigs ever.  Never given its proper respect due to being too sci-fi, it lasted just long enough to give us almost everything we ever wanted, with an ending that left us wanting more.

2. LOST (2004-2010) - Not just one of the best geek shows of all time (nerds dig this one too) but one of the best television shows of all time.  Full of sci-fi, fantasy, drama, and humor, along with brilliant writing, it will go down in geek-history as one of the most controversial series finales ever.  Whether you were satisfied at the end or not, that shouldn't change the greatness of the journey.

1. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004-2009) - When it was announced that this 70s series would be re-imagined and that it would change major characters and plot elements around, many raged against it and slammed the miniseries.  But the show went to season, thanks to the UK, and Americans started hearing positive things from their cousins across the pond and suddenly BSG became the most illegally downloaded thing on planet Earth!  And then we saw what those Brits were talking about and the lovefest began.  With its deep social, political, and religious themes, as well as some of the most amazing space battle sequences you will ever see, and major story shifts along the way, this is the best geek show of all time!  That... you should watch.

Your favorite show didn't make the list?  Well, I can be persuaded to add more or even change the list.  Argue for your choices in the comments section.  If I haven't watched your favorite show, I will consider it if you make it sound sexy.  But if your only argument is "YOU SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED FUTURAMA! YOU ARE NOT A GEEK!" then I will just add that show to the "dumbest fans of" list next week.

NOTE TO BABYLON 5 fans: Your show was 10th and SOUTH PARK was 11th on my list but I switched the spots because I haven't watched all of B5 and didn't get as involved in it. I may some day change the rankings once I catch up on shows (like FRINGE). But I didn't feel it was an honest list if I included a show I hadn't finished watching.


63 comments:

  1. You don't have to add it to the list, but Babylon 5 was transformative for me. I'll give you a few reasons:

    1. It was on air around the same time the internet was just becoming mainstream. When I tried AOL for the first time (mid-90's)and looked to see what TV shows were featured, I found Babylon 5.
    2. Shortly, afterwards, I found out the showrunner J. Michael Strazcinski had a Usenet group where fans could interact with him. Pre-Facebook. Pre-Twitter.
    3. JMS wrote almost every episode of this 5-season series. Almost all of them. How geeky is that. Try that, Fedak. One of the few episodes not written by JMS, was written by Neil Gaiman.
    4. He promised a 5-season story with a beginning, middle, and an end. There were a few glitches along the way. He accelorated the story in the 4th season, think that's all he'd get and then a 5th season miraculously appeared. It was weak, but it did have a cool ending.

    I haven't watched the show in a while. It can look a little stilted and dated. But, it was very geeky.

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  2. I actually took B5 off the list. It was on it when I first wrote this but I was never a fan of the stories so I took it off. Still, know that it is lingering at 11.

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  3. Geek God of FuryJune 3, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Doctor Who. 2005 from the 5th season onwards.

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  4. I still need to watch Doctor Who. I caught a few episodes a couple of years ago but never got too involved. I watch Craig Ferguson every night and he keeps talking about it so I know I need to check that out.

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  5. Good list- personally I would have to include X-Files though; despite its death spiral in later years it fundamentally changed my perceptions about television viewing.

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  6. X-FILES and FRINGE were both left off the top 10 list for the same reason. I will actually write an article about those shows once I finish FRINGE season 3 sometime this summer. :)

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  7. What does it say about me that I agree with every single one of your choices?

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  8. I need to check out Spaced, IT Crowd and Quantum. The rest I watch or watched. I would have swapped a few. Chuck deserves to be #2 and Lost #1.

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  9. I aint checked out chuck or community cuz their always goin to be canceled. I suppose if chuck is in its final season i can check it out. is it really that gewd?

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  10. You should definitely check out CHUCK.

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  11. Personally, while I enjoy Archer, I would have put The Venture Bros. in its spot. It has similar humor, and setup. Also, only a geek could catch all cultural references made within each episode/season.

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  12. Great definiting of terms. :)

    Im getting that this a personal list. still..cant believe Buffy isnt on the list. BUFFY!

    Personnally im not a fan of most of those shows above. But am glad you didnt list Big Bang Theory. Which is a horribly scripted sitcom with all sort of forced references and geekities.

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  13. aris, consider yourself lucky I am not the dictator of planet Earth or you would be shot for bringing up BUFFY!!!

    As for BBT... it isn't a geek show. It is a nerd show with geek elements. It doesn't deserve to be on the list.

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  14. buffy? come on. it was fun but top 10? is it even a geek show? vampires and ghouls and shit are girly things right? that is why supernatural is on the girly channel. mediasavant is right you should have included babylon 5. total geek show. check it out again and you will agree im sure.

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    1. And where exactly is it written that girly things can't also be geek things? Buffy is fantasy (geek) written by joss whedon (geek, firefly, dr horrible) with scifi, superhero etc references (geek)... not to mention she's fucking bad ass!

      Anyways, take a peak at www.themarysue.com

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    2. I don't deny that Buffy is geek... but I don't like the show so... that's why it didn't make the list.

      No show with vampires or demons will ever make my list.

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  15. Vader's My Little Pony PillowJune 3, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    My only gripe is that you should have made this a top 20 list. We can argue about placement on the list but I agree with every choice. I also love your definition of a nerd and a geek. Never thought about it like that.

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  16. thanx for giving me something to do over the summer magnus :) i was getting really bored

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  17. I am your hero, wesley.

    I am currently watching FRINGE and will then move onto BREAKING BAD. After that.... hmmm. Perhaps I will check out the last few Doctor Who's. Hey, it is a long time until September/October.

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  18. If this says anything about Chuck, two of the shows on the list have direct ties to it: Firefly (Adam Baldwin) and Quantum Leap (Scot Bakula, as mentioned in the list).

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  19. I love the definitions of Nerd and geek. Yet oddly find I have elements of both and don't fit neatly

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  20. @Anonymous

    Perhaps this Venn diagram will provide you some comfort. ;)

    http://yfrog.com/h291g9j

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  21. I agree with 80% of the list. I haven't seen The IT Crowd and never watched Quantum Leap (I guess I should hand in my Geek card now). I will get around to them at some point.

    I was planning on catching up on the new Doctor Who this summer.
    With regards to that, people should check out Sherlock from BBC. It is a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes from one of the producers of the new Who. Amazing stuff.

    More importantly, Craig Ferguson is the unsung late night god. Tremendously underrated and insanely funny. His monologues and musical opening bits border on genius at times.

    Oh, and Wavy says "Whatta Do Everybody!"

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  22. I think if you have elements of both that you are then a hybrid and WE MUST END YOU BEFORE YOU DESTROY THE PLANET!!!!!!!!!!

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  23. Who would've thought that social ineptitude could lead to the destruction of the planet?

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  24. For the guy complaining about Buffy, you do know that there are girl geeks out there. *shock* Sorry to invade your precious sandbox.

    My top geek shows are Fringe and X-Files, anyway.

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  25. There are certainly female geeks... but the majority of geeks are men. Plus, Buffy sucks.

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  26. Where is B5? It was ahead of its time ... You should really check it out!

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  27. I am going to update this post to reflect where B5 is.

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  28. http://youtu.be/02bueOnZtNo

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  29. Great list but you left off Futurama??

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  30. I agree with others that this is a very good list, but really needs to include Doctor Who. It's absolutely iconic, the new series is self referential in an awesome way, and it's very good, if cheesy. Hopefully you'll be persuaded once you see more!

    (I also agree with the person above who would chose Venture Bros over Archer. I also prefer Archer's predecessor Frisky Dingo, though that is arguably better for geek-stoners, whereas Archer has broader appeal).

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  31. Ms. NBC UniverseJune 4, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Cannot disagree with any choice on the list but you should definitely do a top 20 or ask fans what they love the most. Tally the votes and post it.

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  32. Chuck's #1!!!!!

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  33. List says Chuck is #4.

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  34. No Star Trek on the list? C'mon... TNG was brilliant.
    With that said, Chuck is my #1, Doctor Who #2, and Firefly #3. Plus, I'm a girl.

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  35. *grins* you do know there is an actual code in those symbols on those breaks in Fringe? You can find the key online.

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  36. I love Chuck!~~
    Glad it's number 4!~~

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  37. Josh Schwartz's twitter sent me here! Chuck all the way!

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  38. I'm so glad you included Spaced and IT Crowd on here. Those are my two most recommended shows. Especially the gunfight in Spaced, A MAZE ING.

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  39. I can watch that gun fight at any point in the day and feel happy.

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  40. I LOVE Chuck, but I think X-Files and Farscape should have made the list.

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  41. I explain why X-FILES and FRINGE didn't make the list in the review of three seasons of FRINGE that I did. To sum up, I just don't like the sci-fi horror/gore genre all that much. Though, there are things about both those shows I love, but not enough to put them on that list.

    FUTURAMA on the other hand, is simply a show I never got totally into. I have watched it and enjoyed it but it didn't impress me like the other 10 (or 11) that I put on the list.

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  42. Zaphoid BeetlebroxJuly 4, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    I am an engineer but have both qualities. Your site makes me smile. See you at "The restaurant at the end of the universe..."

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  43. Glad you are enjoying it, Zaphoid!

    And one can certainly be both.

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  44. Ah Chuck. It's my favorite show on TV right now. Thinking about it's cancellation brings me between tears and fury. I don't know if I can really ever let go of Chuck. I relate to Chuck, the hero, in a lot of ways. A bit out there, not really fitting in, and, to have a show that had the oddball out as the hero was a nice thing to have out there.

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  45. Wonderful...
    a) had been trying to figure out the nuances of the differences between geek and nerd...i think i tend to use the term nerd more but identify as the geek you described.
    b) Yes, there are girl geeks, hello
    c) incidentally, i think it probably WAS x-files that got me started on the path to loving geek shows (don't think i noticed that until now...of course, LOTR came out a year or two before i discovered x-files)
    d) i used to use a shared love of Donnie Darko, X-files, or Howl's Moving Castle as a friendship litmus test...now i tend to use Firefly
    e) Chuck ROCKS
    f) i was kind of surprised not to see "Big Bang Theory" only because that show is supposed to be all nerdy and about nerds
    g) I shall have to watch Community (again). I started and got bored with the first few episodes of the first season. But this past season finale was epic, and if that's how the second season was, it's well worth it.
    h) um, i used lettered bullets for my comment, maybe i am a nerd...

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  46. My biggest problem with BBT is that it is mostly a nerd show... so I couldn't justify tossing it on the list. I do enjoy it, though.

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  47. Doctor Who and Torchwood are both worthy of being on this list. I loved both shows but Doctor Who just hasn't been the same since David Tennet and Russell T. Davies left. Captain Jack Harkness has to be one of the best characters ever created! Torchwood was a spinoff of Doctor Who and for those of you who haven't seen it, it is worth checking out.

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  48. What about Game of Thrones?

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    1. This was written around the time season 1 was ending. It hadn't achieved the kind of awesomeness in my mind that I thought earned it a place on the list. Were I to put out another list (which I will), then you can bet it will be on there.

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  49. So, I guess Numb3rs (the first seasons for all) are more a Nerd thing?

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  50. What do you think of Rubicon? It's a pitty it was only one season...

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    1. I never checked it out because the ratings were pretty bad and I figured it wouldn't get renewed. I guess I should check it out now.

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  51. This list is strongly lacking Babylon 5, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.

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    1. While I watched all of those, I wouldn't put any of them on my top 10. Probably not even top 30. Especially Buffy & Angel since they are about vampires and demons etc, something I rarely connect with on any meaningful level.

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  52. Doctor Who! All of it, Classic and new. (since I'm a girl so I'm a romantic geek, season 1 and 2 of the new series because rose/doctor) (I'm a psychologist so River/Doctor is just painful)

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