By Emyli Gudmundson, originally posted on Spylight
With geek culture slowly worming its way into the mainstream, you’re bound to come across TV shows with a strong “geek” element landing in your repertoire.
If you find yourself loving shows with a strong fantasy or sci-fi element (is anyone else counting down until “Game of Thrones” this weekend?), you may just be a geek in the making! And on behalf of the geek community, I would humbly like to say
Now if you’re just testing the waters of the geek community, there’s a lot of amazing (and some not so amazing) TV out there and it can be pretty overwhelming to know where to start.
Maybe you love Harry Potter and want to find more stories about wizards, maybe you saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” and (rightfully) realized it’s the best ever and want to see more of what Marvel can do, or maybe you love “Game of Thrones” and want to disappear into another magical world—whatever you’re looking for, there is definitely a geeky show for you.
Quick disclaimer: This list of TV shows every geek should watch will include shows that will all be more modern shows of the science-fiction/fantasy persuasion. If you are more interested in shows with intellectual aspect, nerd-shows, if you will, check out awesome shows like “The IT Crowd” and “The Big Bang Theory” or if you’re more interested in classic sci-fi, check out this list which include shows such as “Quantum Leap,” “The X-Files,” and “The Twilight Zone.”
1. Firefly (1 Season, available to stream on Netflix)
What it’s about: 500 years in the future, in a world combining futuristic space travel and boarder planets that exist with the most basic of technology, “Firefly” is lovingly referred to as “space-western.” A renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them.
Why it’s awesome: Captain Mal and his crew may be thieves, but they’ll fight to death to do what’s right. With a combination of wit and drama that only Joss Whedon can create, this show will make you laugh, think, cry, and stand up and cheer.
**full disclosure** This is my favorite show. Ever.
Who you might recognize: Created by Joss Whedon, the mind behind the first and second “Avengers film” and starring Nathan Fillion, who is currently starring in “Castle“ and somehow manages to reference “Firefly” in everything that he does. Cameos from literally everyone, including a baby Zac Efron and Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”).
Never move on, Nathan.
BONUS SHOW: Need more Joss in your life? Check out his other tragically short lived show “Dollhouse” (available on Netflix).
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel (7 seasons of Buffy, 5 seasons of Angel, both available to stream on Netflix)
What it’s about: A young girl, destined to slay vampires, demons and other infernal creatures, deals with her life fighting evil, with the help of her friends.
Why it’s awesome: 16 year old Buffy not only deals with things normal 16-year-olds deal with, she also spends her night kicking vampire butt. With a wealth of powerful female characters, Buffy taught generations of young women you don’t need men to rescue you, you can go right ahead and rescue yourself and you can stay true to yourself while doing it. Also created by Joss Whedon.
Angel is a spin-off series of “Buffy,” following fan-favorite character Angel as he opens his own para-normal detective agency in LA with other fan-favorite characters Cordelia Chase and Wesley Wyndom-Price.
3. Game of Thrones (4 Seasons, available on HBO Go.)
What it’s about: Based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire“ book series by George R. R. Martin, several noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. With white walkers, dragons, and vicious warring families, when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.
Why it’s awesome: With diverse characters, kick-ass battle sequences, dragons, white walkers, sex, incredibly well-developed worlds, and intricate plot sequences this show has something for everyone.
Who you might recognize: Literally everyone because you haven’t been living under a rock for the past four years.
4. The Walking Dead (4 Seasons, available to stream on Netflix)
What it’s about: Based and the series of graphic novels, Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes leads a group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies.
Why it’s awesome: Daryl Dixon. Yes, I know, he’s not in the comics, but he is definitely a welcome addition, even though some die-hard comic fans may disagree with me. Also, zombies. Zombies are cool.
Bonus Fun Fact: Remember this? He’s hunting zombies now.
5. Arrow (2 Seasons, available to stream Netflix, Season 3 currently airing and available on Hulu)
What it’s about: Based on the comic book series, spoiled billionaire playboy Oliver Queen is missing and presumed dead when his yacht is lost at sea. He returns five years later a changed man, determined to clean up the city as a hooded vigilante armed with a bow.
Why it’s awesome: The DC Universe shows currently airing on the CW are definitely the standout of DC-on-screen universe (we’re all cool pretending “Man of Steel” didn’t happen? Yes? Good.) This show combines interesting new characters with fantastic fan-favorites and they all have amazing chemistry. There’s also complex story lines and amazing practical effects over CGI, this show is overall pretty awesome.
6. Flash (1 Season, currently airing and available on Hulu)
What it’s about: Set in the same universe as “Arrow” and also based on a comic book series, Barry Allen wakes up nine months after being struck by lightning and discovers the bolt gave him the power of super speed. With his new team and powers, Barry becomes “The Flash” and fights crime in Central City.
Why it’s awesome: Every single thing about this new world is exciting. While “Arrow” is about a man rediscovering his humanity, “The Flash” is about a young man choosing a heroic path. Oliver was right, The Flash will be inspiration.
7. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1 season, available on Netflix. Season 2 currently airing and available on Hulu)
What it’s about: Based on Marvel Comics and set in the same cinematic universe of all of your favorite comic book movies of the last eight years, this show follows the missions of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Why it’s awesome: IT’S LIKE A MINI MARVEL MOVIE EVERY SINGLE WEEK. IT’S AMAZING. Sorry I yelled. But in addition to that, this show not only seamlessly integrates in the world of the films, but it also completely stands on its own with strong and diverse characters and crazy plot lines.
BONUS: Love Marvel TV? “Daredevil” the Complete First Season is available to stream on Netflix!
8. Doctor Who (26 seasons and TV movie of classic “Doctor Who,” 8 seasons of modern “Doctor Who,” available to stream on Netflix)
What it’s about: A 900 year old Time Lord travels through space and time in his Tardis with a companion exploring new worlds and defending Earth from those who would challenge him.
Why it’s awesome: Is there anything more science fiction than time travel? Answer: no. Not only does this show, which recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary, test the boundaries of science fiction, it also isn’t afraid to embrace a range of emotions from the heartfelt to the silly to the inspirational. I truly believe this show can speak to everyone and leave us all longing for a Time Lord to whisk us away.
Bonus Show: In 2006, “Doctor Who” got its first spinoff with “Torchwood,” starring fan-favorite character, Captain Jack Harkness. We’ve long heard stories of the goings-on of the Torchwood institute which was founded by Queen Victoria after an unfortunate run-in with the Doctor. Now Torchwood functions outside the government, beyond the police. Fighting for the future on behalf of the human race. The 21st century is when everything changes—and Torchwood is ready.
9. Sherlock (3 seasons, available to stream on Netflix)
What it’s about: Based on the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London.
Why it’s awesome: This show is so amazing it’s going to break my aforementioned “all shows will be of the science-fiction/fantasy persuasion” rule. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, this show doesn’t pull any punches and definitely doesn’t talk down to its audience. “Sherlock” is smart, sassy, intricate, and wildly entertaining.
10. Supernatural (9 seasons, available to stream on Netflix. Season 10 currently airing and available on Hulu)
What it’s about: Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as “hunters” fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.
Why it’s awesome: With witty banter between brothers, an incredibly sassy angel named Cas (A.K.A. the love of my life), and evil demons that draw from influences of cultures around the world, this show is a masterpiece of modern fantasy.
11. The 100 (1 season, available to stream on Netflix. Season 2 currently airing and available on Hulu)
What it’s about: Based on the book by Cass Morgan, “The 100” is set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.
Why it’s awesome: 100 juveniles delinquents are dropped in a space ship to an Earth that was abandoned years ago. They have absolutely no idea what to expect and what they find on Earth certainly didn’t expect them. The kids go from embracing a “no rules, no problems” attitude to fighting for life and building their own civilization.
Warning: I would not recommend binge watching this show. I did and the emotion roller coaster I was sent on was almost overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s phenomenal. But there’s a lot of feels, so brace yourself.
12. iZombie (1 season, currently airing and available on Hulu)
What it’s about: A medical resident finds being a zombie has its perks, which she uses to assist the police.
Why it’s awesome: The quirky police procedural formula combines good writing, well-placed humor, and of course, zombie creepiness in a way that makes the unconventional show entertainingly lively. This show also offers ample opportunities for zombie puns, which is something I support 100%.
13. Battlestar Galactica (1 season of original series available on Netflix, 4 seasons of reboot series available on SyFy)
What it’s about: When an old enemy, the Cylons, resurfaces and obliterates the 12 colonies, the crew of the aged Galactica protects a small civilian fleet—the last of humanity—as they journey toward the fabled 13th colony of Earth.
What it’s about: An exciting and well-written reinvention of the 70s sci-fi cheesefest that examines the issues facing a race at the brink of extinction. It certainly doesn’t pull any punches, dealing with cancer, child murder and plenty of choices of dubious morality, taken in the name of survival. It has an amazing cast, including Katee Sackhoff playing Starbuck (originally a male character) with a nice feminist spin on the old Top Gun cliche as the insubordinate smart aleck hot shot.
14. Twelve Monkeys (1 season, currently airing and available on Syfy)
What it’s about: This show follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future, who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will nearly destroy the human race.
Why it’s awesome: Reining in the lunatic poetry of Terry Gilliam’s original film (starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis), this show spends a lot more time creating a perfectly paced and smartly adapted show that’s studded with moments of philosophy and emotion.
15. Star Trek (3 seasons original series, 7 seasons “The Next Generation,” and numerous movies. All available to stream on Netflix)
What it’s about: Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise explore the galaxy and defend the United Federation of Planets.
Why it’s awesome: I literally do not even know where to begin. This show embodies science-fiction for so many people. Personally, one of my first forays into sci-fi was watching “The Next Generation” with my mom. This show changed the way we looked at science fiction forever. There was Captain James T. Kirk and crew on the Starship Enterprise exploring new worlds and new life while traveling through time and space. Gene Roddenberry was a genius when he created this show. Star Trek fans live long and prosper.
Live long and prosper, fellow geeks. Which show will you be starting your geeky journey with? Let us know in the comments!
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