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Television Media

The Fall Geek TV Lineup 318

Posted by Zonk
from the hollywood-nerds-don't-reallly-match-up-with-the-real-thing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired has an article looking at this Fall's bumper crop of geek TV. McG, who directed the pilot for the show Chuck, opines that the appearance of nerd culture on network television is a long-overdue reflection of real life. From the article: 'Hollywood, he said, is playing catch-up with IT culture. "The classic shape of the computer geek is over when Bill Gates became the (richest), most aspirational, coolest guy in the world," he said. "He is the original thick-glasses, pocket-protector guy. Now who doesn't want to be like Bill Gates?"' They have reviews of the lengthy list of shows, for clues as to what to watch and what to miss."
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The Fall Geek TV Lineup

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  • by Ossifer (703813) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:09AM (#20726753)
    I just want his money.
    • by the_womble (580291) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:33AM (#20726885) Homepage Journal
      I agree.

      Most people (apart from the saintly) want money! However, most people have other aspirations as well.

      The problem with the article is that is assumes that Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, therefore he represents other aspirations. Other aspirations do not count.

      How pathetic to ONLY aspire to money. Why not aspire to be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa or ....
      • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:05AM (#20727113)

        Most people (apart from the saintly) want money!

        Yeah, but I think for those people who have thought about it carefully, they only want money in moderation.

        It's nice to be able to afford only doing work you find meaningful, and not having to worry about affording food, health care, etc. But I've also heard that most lottery winners end up unhappy (and often broke).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Scaba (183684)

          You've probably mostly heard that from lottery losers. Though...I'd imagine someone who counts on the extremely unlikely combination of some bouncing plastic balls as their key to financial freedom already is unhappy because they have no goals or purpose in life, and is also rather bad at handling finances.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by jahudabudy (714731)
            I recently read an article about a self-made millionaire, who had earned somewhere around $15 million with his concrete business, that cleared around $100 million winning the lottery. He said in the article that with that kind of money and publicity, he went from a wealthy private individual to a public figure. The spotlight on his personal life destroyed his marriage, an ugly kidnapping attempt drove his daughter away from him, and some other bad things happened that were tangentially related to the lott
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by kestasjk (933987)
              And the biggest problem is that it's a situation that you just can't escape from. The guy is happier with $15 million than with $100 million, but how are you supposed to lose that $85 million? It's not like there are billions of people willing to share his terrible burden.
        • by AvitarX (172628) <me@@@brandywinehundred...org> on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:08AM (#20727647) Journal
          But I've also heard that most lottery winners end up unhappy (and often broke).

          You probably heard that most lottery winners end up feeling the same as they did before hand. After a major life-altering event for the good or the bad people will generally settle to the same level of happiness within 6 months to a year. Those that are generally happy with there life will generally maintain that happiness even if getting paralyzed in a car accident, and those who are miserable will maintain misery even after winning the lotto.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SIIHP (1128921)
          "Yeah, but I think for those people who have thought about it carefully, they only want money in moderation."

          Yeah, but I think this is what people with no money tell themselves to feel better about it.

        • Lottery winners receive money beyond their means. The richest they are going to get (in most cases), is directly after the win, since their original income won't match their wealth and won't be able to sustain it. The problem isn't in the lack of moderation, it's just that they can't expect that immoderate supply of money to be sustainable.
      • by will_die (586523)
        Ok,
        I aspire to beable to give away 100 million a year; all the money I make off the interest in my checkbook savings account.
      • by marcello_dl (667940) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:10AM (#20727147) Homepage Journal
        > Most people (apart from the saintly) want money!

        Nope, people want what they are told money can buy. It's the system at power that makes sure that the only way you can achieve your dreams is through money, and it did it in two ways. Hollywood on one side, communism on the other (and we fall for the non sequitur that the only alternative to the system at power is a system with no property at all)

        In the process they stripped money of its core value: being something that makes wealth easily kept and converted. Inflation makes sure you have to trot all your life to accumulate paper. Or, you choose to be the kapo of the system, and accumulate more wealth subjugating your peers. The lucky ones who are good and smart enough to accumulate wealth in a honest way are shrinking.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by imgod2u (812837)
          Actually, according to many economists, accumulation of wealth is a bad thing for any economy. From a standpoint of utility, it makes sense. Economics is not a zero-sum game and the flow of wealth is what entices people to work. The fact that money, as a symbolic means to property, has been stripped of such value actually serves a purpose. It's so people won't horde it for its own sake. Even the richest man will not keep all his money under a mattress and this is a *good* thing. Those rich people will
      • by Otter (3800)
        I'm not sure why you think Gates has ever been motivated primarily by money. Dropping out of Harvard to sell software to a market of maybe 75 people isn't something you do to make money. Gates loves software, as much if not more than any rabid Lunix fanboy does.

        Incidentally, how many of you people have ever seen a "pocket protector" or even know why they used to be used? Can't this ludicrously anachronistic trope be dropped at some point?

        • by brother_b (16716)
          The only person I've ever seen wear a pocket protector is my dad, and he's a retired auto mechanic. It made sense for him since he kept small tools in his shirt pocket, and they often were greasy.

          He's very non-geek as far as electronics go. He doesn't even know how to operate the microwave. I guess you could consider him a mechanical /engine geek though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        How pathetic to ONLY aspire to money. Why not aspire to be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa or ....
        Yeah, but money can buy you those other things you want, like a penis big enough to be mistaken for a third leg. Never mind that there are few women who could accommodate such an appendage, that's not the point. The important thing is you're the one who has it.
        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          a penis big enough to be mistaken for a third leg

          Ah, 'tis the dream of every man. "One day," I tell myself, "One day."

      • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:12AM (#20727701) Journal
        How pathetic to ONLY aspire to money. Why not aspire to be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa or ....

        Probably because it's not a good thing to aspire to:

        -Oppose condom usage in AIDS-stricken areas
        -Take money from despotic regimes and spend only a small portion on its intended purpose
        -Run a completely non-transparent operation
        -Make your clinic painful to teach people the value of suffering
        -Convince people that they should fake miracles in your name
      • Whoa, there, fella. To say "I only want his money" is to eschew his viciousness, his immorality, his absurd competitiveness, and his complete lack of doing anything not in his best interests. To ONLY want his money is to keep on the side of Mother Theresa.

        I, definitely, would only want his money.

        (Don't bother pointing to the Gates foundation. With as much money as he now has, it hasn't really cost him anything to do what he did, and he waited this long to do it, so that it's not a sacrifice to him at all

      • Most people (apart from the saintly) want money! However, most people have other aspirations as well.

        Or do they want the things money represents or can aquire in the developed/capitalist western society.

        I think most people are driven by more basic instincts and imperatives; freedom, security & reproduction.

        Money is most readily available way to achieve those.

      • I doubt that anyone really JUST wants money--it's about as close as you can get to a pure means, as opposed to an end. What people really want are security, power, fancy toys, celebrity--all things that go along with sufficient cash. Even to your point: with Bill Gates' bank account, you could do a lot of good.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joe Tie. (567096)
        Why not aspire to be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa or ....

        When your main problems come from lack of money, is it that strange that people put that up as their ideal? Money means a lot of things to different people. To one person it might mean a giant bathtub of money, but to a lot of folks it means being able to actually do something for charities that are struggling to survive, to get their family out of bad neighborhoods, to get their kids medical care they can't currently afford. Wanting money and al
  • Related stories (Score:4, Insightful)

    by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:14AM (#20726777)
    I'm really having a hard time seeing how Bill Gates being nominated for president is a relevant story to nerd tv shows... unless its going to be the premise of a new bad comedy?
    • by Chrisje (471362)
      WTF? I'm afraid that if the choice was between Dubya, Cheney or Gates, I'd go with Gates for president in a heart beat.

      You don't realize it, but you're already living in a bad comedy. It's kinda like Southpark, but without the humor.
  • The IT Crowd (Score:4, Informative)

    by Burb (620144) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:30AM (#20726863)
    For those of us in the UK, there's always the IT Crowd. It's a bit hit and miss, but the second season seems to be hitting the spot more often compared to the first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Scutter (18425)
      The second season is doing better because it has nothing to do with IT the way the first season did, so it's got broader appeal. Oh, and what's up with their office looking like an apartment this season? It's like the producers have never seen the inside of an IT department.
    • by Fepple (744591)
      Wired say: "it is a cheeky and wholly enjoyable romp through the lives of office workers whose first question is always, "Are you sure it's plugged in?"".

      However, its "Have you tried turning it off and on?". If they get this running joke wrong makes me question the other reviews
    • by CrazyTalk (662055)
      I live in the US and got hooked on that show watching it in clips on the internet. I hear that a US version is in the works, like with "The Office".
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:31AM (#20726867)
    He may be a skinny Dilbert but Gates is also Narcessisstic and dull. There has to be a better geek poster child? Yes everyone wants the money but the point is who wants to be Bill Gates without the money? Hes a pain in the ass and people put up with him because he has money. Take away the money and all you are left with is the pain in the ass.
  • What distinguishes the five best shows -- ... U.K. Channel 4's The IT Crowd...

    If the lineup is bad enough the the IT Crowd shows up in the top 5, I wouldn't exactly call this a bumper line up. Sitcoms are meant to be funny.
    • The IT Crowd is hilarious. Perhaps you don't appreciate British humor? Not everyone is into it, and this show is full of it. I know many people who love the US version of The Office, but hate the original British version.
      • by Zelos (1050172)
        I'm English, my favourite sitcom is probably Fawlty Towers, but I just didn't find the IT crowd funny. I watched about half the first series before I stopped, from the first episode of the new series I saw the other day it hasn't got any better.

        It was just too laboured and slow, jokes that should be quick throwaway jokes are stretched out far too thin.
  • Gates didn't change the face of the geek. He reaffirmed it. The only thing Gates did was make people more conscious and envious of geek achievement.
  • I am sure that these shows, will be crap. Just like all the pandering that networks do when someone INVENTS a new audience. If it is too good, "Firefly" or "Farscape", they will immediately run out and cancel it because the audience is too small and they cannot sell advertising on Sci-Fi.

    • Farscape lasted for five years on the Sci-Fi. I wouldn't call that immediate.
      • The Sci-fi channel has a very specific audience. It means that the only competition for advertising revenue is from other people who would advertise to that audience.

        You run into a problem when trying to place a show on a large network. While the show may be very well done, the amount the network can actually charge for advertising is less because the demographic is a smaller slice of the pie. Lets say 100k people watch 'Sci-fi show' the network can only charge so much for that 100k audience. However
        • by mikael (484)
          I guess that explains why there is so much more of what is more supernatural (vampires/ghosts/hauntings/reality TV) on the channel now, rather than pure Space Science Fiction (Star Trek, Voyager, Babylon 5, Farscape, Lexx).
          • It seems a lot of 'fantasy' gets mislabeled as sci-fi as well. I've seen many people here on Slashdot complain that what is labeled sci-fi, isn't. So some of the networks may view those supernatural type shows as sci-fi and may even try to suggest that it may pull in the 'geek' demographic.

            In the network's defense, Sci-fi and fantasy can be very segmented. While an outside observer (Network executive) may view sci-fi as one catch-all, it is quite possible to have someone love one aspect of Sci-fi, but
    • Battlestar Galactica's still on, and even though it's entering into its last season, I imagine that it wasn't ever meant to last much longer. The great thing about BSG is that it's enjoyable from the perspective of Nerds, SciFi geeks, and normal people alike. The writing's good, and the acting is well above-par as far as primetime TV is concerned. It's accessible in the sort of way that the original 1970s Star Wars films were.

      Heroes also has huge nerd appeal, and is currently NBC's top-ranked show -- a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DeadChobi (740395)
        I think Heroes has a lot of appeal because it takes two things we're familiar with as a culture, superheroes and real life, and mixes them together. The biggest niche shows always seem to be the ones that combine unfamiliar things into one even more unfamiliar thing, if that makes any sense.

        It really helps that in Heroes the characters all appear to be living, breathing people who are reacting to the same situations any of us would find ourselves in if we woke up in the mundane world to find ourselves with
  • by nathan.fulton (1160807) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:43AM (#20726957) Journal
    This is geek culture? And goes it appeal to geeks? I suppose it could be that I don't understand the difference between IT culture and geek culture, but that would be a crime that all of network TV is guilty of, too. I'd much prefer if those slots were filled with good Science Fiction or good educational TV, as I'm sure is true with most others in the geek community. A show about a guy with a pocket protector doesn't qualify automatically as about, or appealing to, geeks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      Assuming they are done right, a geek as the main character IS a geek show. If it's not done right, there will be so many glaring problems that it'll be nobody's show.

      The IT Crowd is hilarious, if you've ever worked tech support for any company, anywhere. Second season has drifted away from the geek jokes, but I have faith they'll come back. Oh, and their first question is -never- 'Are you sure it's plugged in?' That's the second one. The first is always 'Have you tried turning it off and back on again?
      • by Kris_J (10111) *
        Reaper is crap, Sarah Conner Chronicles is seriously questionable. Meanwhile, Pushing Daisies absolutely rocks.
      • by Tipa (881911) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:28AM (#20727881) Homepage
        Chuck and Big Bang Theory had free previews on Yahoo! So what the heck, I watched them.

        I work in the IT department of a major insurance company, so I think I qualify as a geek.... plus I read Slashdot, and if THAT doesn't seal the deal, what can?

        Chuck -- okay, if you're going to make a show about a geek/nerd/whatever, would it kill you to run the script past one? The premise: a guy is running from people with guns! And they're firing at him! If only... he... can... finish writing a quick email to his friend he hasn't seen since college. Hey guys, could you quit it with the guns? I'm writing an email here.

        Cut to Chuck, who staffs a kiosk called "The Nerd Herd" in some anonymous warehouse store. If they were meaning to riff off Best Buy's "Geek Squad", then instead of Chuck showing his fellow employees about a porn star virus which effects a certain kind of laptop that can't possibly be important later in the show, he would be showing them how to pack it up to send it to the third-party repair folks who really fix the laptops for Best Buy.

        Chuck's sister plans a disastrous birthday party meant to introduce him to real girls, but of course it goes wrong, so Chuck silently escapes, turns his TV on and look, there's an email... on his TV... and it has a password based on Zork. Supposedly. Now, every single oldschool game-loving geek would cheer if they read "You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a mailbox here." with Chuck. And they would scream, "OPEN THE MAILBOX!". But no. Calm down. It's not that.

        So anyway he types in the answer, "use nasty knife on troll" (huh), and then that quick email turns out to be a montage of NBC's fall lineup in black and white.

        But no! It's ALL NSA's and CIA's secrets! And since CHUCK has them, the NSA and the CIA no longer have any record of them whatsoever! In fact, the CIA (or the NSA, whatever) forgot that some general who was to address a conference in a hotel minutes from Chuck's place, was to be blown up by a terrorist.

        See, they researched this out, spied everywhere, found out what, where, who, and when, and then this guy emailed the details to Chuck and then they ALL FORGOT.

        So anyway, Chuck, Jayne^WAlec Baldwin, and the girl who was sleeping with his best friend from college whom he hadn't heard from since until he destructively emailed Chuck all the nation's secrets from his smartphone and then died^KChuck's future love interest saves the day by finding the bomb, getting to the DOS prompt (well, he says he does, but he doesn't actually), and setting off that porn star virus which stops the bomb... WITH OMG JUST ONE SECOND TO GO! PHEW!

        So anyway. All the nation's secrets are now in Chuck's head, and the nation doesn't have them anymore. Somehow. Won't these secrets kinda get stale? Sure, he knew the date & location of this one general's assassination, but new secrets are going to be happening from this point on that he will know nothing about, right?

        Anyway, the show is for idiots, about idiots.

        Big Bang Theory -- a pair of repellant, smelly losers and their idiot friends, and the porn star next door who undresses in their apartment. Nothing to see here.

        The IT Crowd (American) -- Moss (Richard Ayoade) will join Joel McHale (The Soup) on the American adaptation of the British series in February. I thought the first season of the British series was brilliant (or should I say, Brie-illiant), and the second season, without the IT focus, a little less funny... Dunno how the American one will go. I expect disaster.
        • by Joe Tie. (567096)
          plus I read Slashdot, and if THAT doesn't seal the deal, what can?

          That's one of the things I've loved about the IT crowd, slashdot or fark often showing up on the monitors there during work hours.
      • by Joe Tie. (567096)
        The IT Crowd is hilarious, if you've ever worked tech support for any company, anywhere. Second season has drifted away from the geek jokes, but I have faith they'll come back.

        They might go all out on the next episode, but that's apparently all that's left of the season. So unless they get picked up again. Season 2's been a solid show, but much closer to tv geek culture than the real geek culture of the first. As long as it's still more amusing than most other shows. I can't complain too much though. And
  • If McG claims that "Chuck" is a reflection of real life, then you can bet it's about as far from real life as one can possibly get.
  • by cloudwilliam (517411) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:49AM (#20726993)
    I'll bet all these shows will just ooze cool sophistication. I mean, why didn't we start getting shows geared toward us fifteen years ago when everyone saw how awesome Unix was when they watched Jurassic Park?

    Seriously, I hate to be cynical, but as much as Battlestar Galactica is the coolest show I've seen in years, most of Hollywood's understanding of biological science seems to be some variation on Frankenstein, their physical science based on Looney Tunes, and their concept of computer science is best left unmentioned. I'll bet they're making the same mistakes they've always made: thinking good shows can be about some World's Fair technology show and the World of Tomorrow when they should be about the story and the people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by imgod2u (812837)
      If you make a show about Geek people, you'll have an hour of some guy sitting in a dark room staring at a computer screen reading /.
  • Not me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gweihir (88907) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:52AM (#20727017)
    BG has a keen sense of business, no sense of fair play and as an engineer, he is third-rated at best. There is evidence that he does not know he is a bad engineer, which makes him even worse. Furthermore he has wasted so many hours of lifetime of others by the failing in the engineering department, that he is a serious mass-murderer by accumulation.

    Redeeming features: None that I can see. Money is not a redeeming feature, since making a lot of it typically means taking it form others without giving back fair value back.

    And he is not even cool. I have zero aspirations in his direction. In fact, I think he is the prototypical high-profile failed geek, that has not managed to use his skills for good.
  • I project two, maybe three, I could possibly watch regularly.
  • Uneven Shows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brazilian Geek (25299) on Monday September 24, 2007 @07:59AM (#20727075) Journal
    I watched a few of the leaked shows that they reviewed (don't you love the Internets?) so I'll comment on them.

    Chuck: Fun like Burn Notice and Psych but not very nerdy. It's got the nerd culture in it, the socially inept folks and close friendships get good grades from me. However, some parts are very poorly executed: magical images that contain steganography that the brain decodes, an HD explodes from a 4' drop inside the case and a few others that fell flat to me. Oh, it's got Jayne so that's a plus.

    Big Bang Theory: Imagine, as someone one EZTV said, Revenge of the Nerds written by mindless jocks. It's crap, crap, crap, so much crap that I was insulted by it.

    Journeyman: I thought it was an interesting story, maybe we've seen it before (Quantum Leap) but we haven't as he's not leaping into other people nor is he shifting into the distant past so I think it'll have mainstream appeal (for a few episodes at least). Disclaimer though, I like Kevin McKidd, for a guy in his early 30's he had a lot of heart in his Vorenus character.

    The IT Crowd (UK): I watch the show and I have a lot of laughs with it but I'm a sucker for UK comedies. As for geek culture, I have to say it's not perfect but it comes close. In case you've never watched it, the references are the stickers in the office, Roy's t-shirts and Moss' and Roy's personalities (they're socially challenged). I guess that it does come close as, being a practicing nerd, I'm not always talking about gadgets and geeky sites nor am I obsessed with computers and science so I guess it's more organic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlnation (858981)
      I watched the leaked copies too. My opinion for what it's worth.
      • Chuck -- looks great, the pilot had me interested in seeing how the characters develop.
      • Big Bang Theory -- if this makes it beyond 6 episodes I'll be astonished. It's the same old tired 4 camera sitcom format, with a slight geek twist. The the format is very wrong. Do it single camera and maybe...
      • Journeyman -- I'll not be watching that again. My guess is it makes it to either a mid season or one full season before getting axed. It has a
  • when Bill Gates became the (richest), most aspirational, coolest guy in the world

    Well, at least 1/3 correctness is better than nothing.

    Seriously... I doubt many non-geeks thing Gates is cool, and a large fraction of bona fide geeks loathe him.


  • Real nerds don't watch TV... These people are just poseurs trying to get in on the anti-fashion bandwagon.

  • But hey, I don't watch live TV anymore, so, what fall lineup?

    Seriously, one downside of Tivo'ing (or Myth'ing for the zealots) everything is that you FF through the ads and just never see the promotions for silly new shows. You also miss the movie promotions. So what then?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560)

      Seriously, one downside of Tivo'ing (or Myth'ing for the zealots) everything is that you FF through the ads and just never see the promotions for silly new shows. You also miss the movie promotions. So what then?
      True. If only a nerd-focused website I visited often would point me to reviews of.... heyyyyy!
    • That's why I listen to Slice of Sci Fi to get news about shows I'd like to watch.

  • ...yeah, real cool guy...

    http://www.blinkenlights.com/classiccmp/gateswhine.html [blinkenlights.com]

  • Sam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_arrow (171557) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:22AM (#20727217) Homepage
    I'll take Samantha Carter over every other geek!
  • I much prefer that geek culture not become popularized, because then all of our sekrits become known and spread widely.
    It's kinda like when mom shines her unwelcome bright flashlight down into the basement.
    • by hey! (33014) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:11AM (#20727693) Homepage Journal

      I much prefer that geek culture not become popularized,


      OK, then don't worry. Popular and geek are mutually exclusive. Even if something is popular, the geek approach to it will be ... different. Take the Simpsons. It is popular in the general public to watch, but it is geeks treat the show as a codex in which are written the secrets of life.

      Now we must distinguish between shows for geeks, and shows about geeks. Any show with an elaborate fantasy component can be a show for a geek. Shows about geeks are necessarily comedies. Because geeks are supposed to be losers, it is natural to laugh at them.

      This doesn't mean the show has to be stupid or offensive, it just means that a show with little ambition or talent can go for cheap laughs.

      Frasier, was hands down the most artistically and economically successful show about geeks ever. The Crane brothers are not tech geeks, but they are undeniably geeks: they seek to boost their status and importance by their command of intellectual arcana. What's more, because they are geeks they are losers. Everything we see them attempt ends in frustration. However they are more than caricatures. There isn't a word I can think of for what they are: they are neither admirable nor really contemptible; they are neither unlikable nor truly likable. Somehow, you want them to win but you enjoy watching them lose.

      I think the secret of that show is that while the writers give us very broad caricatures, they then proceed to write against the stereotype. The Crane brothers are arrogant and self important, but they also demonstrate an underlying sweetness and goodness in every episode. Although this always serves only to deepen their humiliation, they somehow manage to exceed expectations while they lose. They're the plucky team of losers that doesn't pull an offset against overwhelming odds (which we know in our hearts that movies that tell that story are lies), but surprises everyone by scoring at all.

      What makes a show an enduring success are interesting characters, written about in a compelling way. Geeks, with their enthusiasms that often border on mania, their propensity to march to a different drummer, their tendency to be the proverbial square pegs in a round hole, are usually the most interesting people in any group. The trick is writing about them in a way that gets underneath the surface to something anybody can identify with.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:28AM (#20727261)
    At least by Hollywood standards. A "nerd" can be anything from a top scientist or engineer, to somebody who owns a lot of shares in a software company, to a guy who works at bestbuy.
  • So what are the best nerd shows out there right now? What are you looking forward to? Where do you turn to to find shows you would like?

    The best place I have found to get real numbers on what nerds are watching is by checking out Couchville Buzz [couchville.com]. This is a readout of what people are recording with their beyond TV setup (in bulk, not by individual). Beyond TV is like windows media center in that it requires a little level of technical know how to get it going correctly (large drive capacity, auto defr
  • by Cuban B (1161131) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:44AM (#20727417)
    Personally, I find the fall line-up to be particularly insulting - especially the new show, "Chuck." The guy is obviously extremely socially awkward, portrayed as being exceptionally smart, yet they say, "saving the world at $11/hr." in the advertisements. I'm failing to see the up side of Chuck's life. He's not athletic, he's only funny in the sense that you can laugh at him, his career is non-existant, but hey! He has smarts that you don't! Let's point and laugh at his situation because that thing I'm jealous of isn't as great as I secretly think it is!

    I think that show in particular is quite anti-nerd, anti-IT, anti-intellectual, etc. I've certainly met people like Chuck - not very good at what they do, but they're damn sure extremely awkward, but the majority of IT folks I've met are insanely happy, always joking, and do stuff like ride their motorcycles or go mountain climbing on the weekends, they don't sit in their mother's basement playing DnD and fixing people's computers for almost no money.

    I think it was already mentioned above, but if you want a truly great show for geeks/nerds/whatever you should check out House. The main character is a Doctor that is insanely intelligent and in a position of power. He's not socially awkward at all and quite funny even to a general audience. The only sense that he's "awkward" is just that he doesn't like dealing with morons and shows it every 10 seconds with hilarious insults by anyone's standards.

    So who would you side with? The not-socially-awkward Doctor in a position of power or the "let's all point and laugh at the Nerd Herd!" show?

    But speaking of house, the new season is on tomorrow night - check it out if you haven't already.
    • by Phaid (938) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:39AM (#20728765) Homepage
      You are absolutely right about House being for geeks/nerds/whatever. The "Fall Geek TV Lineup" article confuses the type of TV that IT types actually like with TV that makes fun of IT types. Chuck is the former, House is clearly the latter.

      The difference is that House isn't about "geeks", it's simply about competent smart people. Shows about "geeks" are never about competent smart people, they're gimmicks built around a stupid stereotype. The few TV shows in which computer types are portrayed positively tend not to have them as central characters, and then they are usually hot chicks (I'm thinking here of "Las Vegas" and "Standoff", both of which feature very attractive female hacker types in secondary / support character roles). I'm all for hot chick computer types, but can't we ever have male hackers who are not either socially incompetent, evil, or both?
      • by Phaid (938)
        Er, Phaid post malreported ungood rectify: "House is the former, Chuck is clearly the latter".
    • by aztektum (170569)
      I like House. The characters are great. I just wish there were a few more instances where patiences aren't miraculously saved. Or the puzzle is solved a minute too late. House would still be right and the puzzle solved. (Slight disclaimer however, I've only seen seasons 1 & 3. Season 2 I have yet to catch up on.)
  • Next... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:48AM (#20727459)
    Geek Action TOYS! Only instead of kung-fu grips they'll have carpal tunnel syndromes.
  • "... when Bill Gates became the (richest), most aspirational, coolest guy in the world."

    Even if you really like Bill Gates, that's a pretty bold statement. I certainly don't mean to disparage the guy, but I don't think he's the coolest guy in the world. There is no objective metric for such a position, and if you look at it relatively it still makes no sense. Cooler than James Dean? Cooler than Martin Luther King? Laurence Fishburne? Ridley Scott? Name a few thousand more well-known personalities a

  • by DrLudicrous (607375) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:23AM (#20727825) Homepage
    Please do not watch this show. It is utter crap. I'm a grad student in physics, and am offended by the stereotypes it portrays. Sure, I'm a geek, as evidenced by me posting here. But I also like to have fun, know how to socialize, have had many many relationships with the opposite sex that for the most part have been positive, and basically am known for my personality rather than my career choice, JUST LIKE MOST NORMAL PEOPLE. Oh, and I really hate most Star Trek related things. I did enjoy (but am not a psychotic fan of) the original series (more for its campiness and originality), as well as the 2nd-4th movies. And I like Star Wars, just like any other red-blooded American male who was a little kid in the early 1980's. But that's it. Also, I love sports. Especially baseball, which for some reason seems to be common among physicists (maybe it's all those statistics). Put me in a bar on a fall Saturday or Sunday with football on the TV and I'm happy. Why can't physicists be portrayed for what we really are, which is normal people who happen to do physics? Look at Einstein! Witty, charismatic, and womanizer! Now that's a physicist!
  • Current shows too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BiloxiGeek (872377) *
    Can't understand how that article fails to mention current shows. SciFi Channel's Eureka is good geek TV fare and damned funny.

    And there's always Doctor Who, reruns of old shows and the new shows are great.
  • by Phaid (938) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:12AM (#20728381) Homepage
    If "the classic shape of the computer geek is over" then this quote

    The influence of geek guru Judd Apatow extends well into the current season. He was director of box-office-smash outsider comedies The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, producer of the blockbuster Superbad, and creator of the nerd-TV gold-standard series Freaks and Geeks, which ran for two years on NBC before attaining cult status. Many of Apatow's past projects are now being cloned for the small screen.
    would not be in the article.

    These shows are going to continue portraying "geeks" as Dwayne Dibley types, because the mainstream view of a "geek" is still a dork in an ill-fitting short-sleeved buttondown with acne, buck teeth, and his glasses taped together. If you think the picture of "geek chic" in mainstream media is going to transcend that stereotype, you're in for a disappointment.
    • If you think the picture of "geek chic" in mainstream media is going to transcend that stereotype, you're in for a disappointment.

      In particular because one has to really work hard to get a solid grasp of any science, and most people just aren't into the subject enough to do so. Especially at an age where the knowledge would really sink in and be most applicable to their everyday life. The result is a culture where almost everyone is surrounded by sciences and technologies they don't understand, feel a con
  • by antdude (79039) on Monday September 24, 2007 @11:22AM (#20729431) Homepage Journal
    How about the reality show, Beauty and the Geek [cwtv.com]? I am enjoying it.
  • Dennou Coil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe Tie. (567096) on Monday September 24, 2007 @11:50AM (#20729819)
    If you don't mind anime, dennou coil is also a really well done look at some geeky subjects. In particular, it's one of the most fun looks at augmented reality that I've ever seen. All the characters wear glasses that superimpose information into the environment around them, and the plausibility of a lot of it makes the show really entertaining. Sure, there's a lot of fantasy mixed in from the start, and it increases by quite a bit later into the series. But even with that it's the most enjoyment I've ever had from fictional looks into augmented reality. Well, aside from Rainbow's End, it's the only one that wasn't a quick one shot.

    And I did like Rainbow's End, but it didn't hook me on the concept of AR like Dennou Coil has. Rainbow's End showed why the concept would be useful, Dennou Coil showed how it could turn the world into a giant game. I mean cubes of water floating in the sky? I would love to be walking along, look up, and see a digital fish flying around.
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Monday September 24, 2007 @12:18PM (#20730235)

    the appearance of nerd culture on network television is a long-overdue reflection of real life.
    I have to deal with incompetent nerds at work all day long; why would I want to come home and watch a tv show about them too?
  • Pfft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday September 24, 2007 @12:27PM (#20730339) Homepage
    BRING ON THE NEW SEASON OF DEXTER!

    Seriously. One of the greatest shows on TV.
  • Placing my bets... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday September 24, 2007 @02:56PM (#20732769)
    This season I'm placing my bets early on what shows will not only get canceled but also never make it to DVD. These will be the shows I'll be capturing to my computer using an HD cable box and Firewire. Anything that's made it past its first season and/or had that season published on DVD (or and especially HD-DVD or BluRay like Heroes) I won't bother to record.

    I'm betting that "The Big Bang Theory" will either be canceled quickly or otherwise never make it past one season. The biggest strain to credibility in this sitcom is the studio audience knowing enough quantum physics to get the jokes and laugh that loudly at them. I've seen the pilot.

    Also, like the TV series Ferris Bueller, I expect The Sarah Connor Chronicles to fall... but not as hard. Maybe more like the series Starman, or Tracker [imdb.com]. I understand the characterizations already break with continuity. Coming in mid-season is an established "Lack of Confidence"-labeled nail in its coffin.

    I think Reaper may have a chance, or at least make for an entertaining one-season run. Tyler Labine continues to amaze me in finding good and steady work after portraying the delusional Croker in Evil Alien Overlords [imdb.com], but so far it was the only bad thing I've seen him in. Still, it seemed he was having fun doing it.

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