So you’ve seen all of Doctor Who, binged Orphan Black, watched the hell out of Game of Thrones, and occasionally dropped in for The Walking Dead. What’s next? What’s left on the list of great geek TV? Well, some shows fall through the cracks of cultural knowledge, so why not try one of these five unappreciated greats?
Outlander, based off the popular book series, is what Game of Thrones would be if the dick-to-boobs ratio were more even. Following the story of a woman who falls through time into 18th century Scotland, the show contains everything people love about Thrones, but with a little more grounded realism and romance thrown in. Despite its plethora of great actors, intriguing setting, and a plot willing to go as dark as possible (serious content warnings for the second half of season one, people), the show is routinely labeled “the lady version of Game of Thrones” and ignored. Do yourself a favor — get over pop culture’s fear of cooties and take a trip to the Scottish highlands.
If you haven’t heard of Manhattan, based on the fictional lives of those involved with making the atom bomb, you’re probably not alone. Airing on WGN America, the show’s a case where the broadcaster’s lack of public presence is to blame for it not reaching critical mass. Simply put, this is Mad Men, set in the 40s, with science instead of advertising, and perhaps a faster plot. The first few episodes drag a little, but the rewards, especially when a seriously creepy Richard Schiff (Toby from The West Wing) shows up, are worth it.
Mr. Robot is Fight Club for the computer literate, simultaneously railing against society while also knocking down the very argument. The plot is well thought out, the characters are strongly developed, and any twists are done for the sake of the story, not to shock the audience. And it’s made for anyone who grew up a geek. Through an uncanny self-awareness, the show deconstructs some of the less savory thoughts recent nerd culture has cultivated, simultaneously explaining where they can come from and why it’s a bad idea to go down those paths. Poignant for what it says about both society and ourselves, Mr. Robot is too good to miss.
Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat is the television version of Laser Time, fully focused on dick jokes and early 90s nostalgia. Loosely based on the memoirs of Chef Eddie Huang, the show tells the story of a Korean family moving to Florida. But instead of flooding us with wacky hijinks, it’s actually a touching comedy that reflects most of our childhoods — the show’s hero Eddie even geeks out over a rumor someone’s cousin heard about a secret character in a fighting game. Fresh Off the Boat is an examination of how 90s pop culture influenced both us and our parents, and it’s extremely refreshing, even if it occasionally knocks the rose tint out of our glasses.
Person of Interest
The marketing for CBS’s Person of Interest focuses on the groundbreaking plot of two mismatched guys solving crimes in an American metropolis. Said marketing team needs to be fired. Forget Gotham, because this is the closest live action television has ever come to a proper Batman series. Written by Jonathan Nolan, a main man behind The Dark Knight trilogy, the show follows a team of people stopping crimes before they happen, thanks to tip-offs from an omnipotent A.I. Add in gang wars, a comic-worthy rogues gallery, secret identities, questions regarding humanity, and flashy action scenes, and the result is Batman tweaked enough to avoid copyright infringement.
Article by contributor Byron Letourneau-Duynstee. Hit him up on Twitter for more geek recommendations.