While Netflix has lost a lot of its “good” mainstream content over the years, one reason why I stay subscribed is Netflix’s willingness to produce and distribute niche content.
Other streaming services are starting to catch on, but Netflix is still a champion for many kinds of TV series you won’t find on mainstream channels and networks—even if Netflix’s attempts do flop at times.
As a geek, that’s something I really appreciate about Netflix. Whether we’re talking about anime series, K-dramas, MCU spin-offs, shows with unique sci-fi or fantasy premises, it has lots of geeky content.
Here are some of the best geeky TV shows on Netflix that you’ll like if you consider yourself a nerd. And even if you don’t, these shows are still great and stand on their own.
15. The IT Crowd
The IT Crowd is like a nerdier and more British version of The Office. (Yes, I know The Office started off in the UK!) This show centers on two workers in the IT department of a large corporation, as well as their department manager with whom they have friction.
The show pushes the limits of sitcom absurdity, yet somehow stays grounded throughout. And it gets even better in the second season with the introduction of another character!
If you’re a die-hard Marvel fan, you’re probably already watching this show. But if you’re a casual fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and you want to dive into that a bit more, this is the show for you.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a TV series that takes place in the MCU and acknowledges all of the canon and continuity that occurs in the MCU movies. It’s a fun way to see what Phil Coulson and his team of special agents do in the background of the films.
13. Dark Matter
Six people aboard the Raza starship wake up from stasis, but no one can remember anything. Who are they? What are their names? Why are they here? They set out to uncover their identities, but run into unforeseen complications as their pasts catch up to them.
If you’re itching for an outer space sci-fi TV series with mystery embedded throughout, then you should really give Dark Matter a shot. This show, based on a comic book of the same name, may be lacking in production quality, but makes up for it in story.
12. The 100
The 100 is a young adult TV series that takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humans are returning to settle on Earth after having spent the last 97 years living in space.
Keep in mind that this is a show that’s produced by The CW, so don’t expect stellar acting or production quality on par with a show like Game of Thrones. But the story is interesting, especially starting in the second season when things really ramp up.
Memories of the Alhambra is a sci-fi/fantasy blend that involves the advent of a next-gen augmented reality technology that can turn the world into a role-playing game. But there’s a critical bug that results in real-life death if you die in the game.
While the show has a slow start, it really ramps up by episode 3—and takes you on a ride full of twists and turns. It’s not without its flaws, but Memories of the Alhambra is an interesting take on augmented reality, a topic that hasn’t been done as much as it deserves.
I burned out on zombie TV shows after suffering through seven seasons of The Walking Dead—but Kingdom revived my interest in zombies, all because it puts such a refreshing spin on the idea.
In my review of Kingdom’s first season, I praised the show for bringing life back to the undead. It takes place in medieval Korea, and the show is more about political intrigue than outright survival. The zombies are a catalyst that sparks conflict on a wide scale.
And while the overall narrative is an interesting one, the zombies themselves still play a crucial role in bringing thrills and mystery. And they’re terrifying.
Based on a 2002 novel of the same name, Altered Carbon is a futuristic detective mystery story girded in soft sci-fi concepts and incredible visuals. If you’re itching for a spectacularly produced cyberpunk mystery, this is the show for you.
It’s seriously one of the coolest looking sci-fi TV series I’ve ever seen. And even though it does stumble a bit in the later episodes of the first season, and even though the second season made some polarizing creative decisions, it’s still a must-watch for cyberpunk fans.
8. Cobra Kai
Cobra Kai is a sequel to the original The Karate Kid movies, taking place 34 years after those events and following Johnny Lawrence as he reopens the karate dojo and reawakens his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso from years ago.
This comedy-drama series isn’t just a nostalgic indulgence for those who grew up with The Karate Kid. It’s actually a strong show on its own merits, and there’s a lot to like about it—especially after YouTube dropped it and Netflix swooped in to pick it up with season two.
Community follows seven unusual students at Greendale Community College who come together to form a study group. They have to navigate the rigors of class, the politics of community college, and their relationships with each other.
It’s a silly sitcom with a unique brand of humor that won’t appeal to everyone, but most geeks should be able to relate with several of the characters on a deeply personal level. Community is hilarious, it’s smartly written, and it’s a joy to rewatch over and over.
6. Death Note
Death Note follows a high school genius who stumbles upon a Death Note that allows him to kill people by writing their names. As he uses it for vigilante massacres, an enigmatic detective works to uncover his identity and apprehend him without revealing his own identity.
If you haven’t seen Death Note because you generally don’t like anime, you should set that prejudice aside and watch this anyway. Cat-and-mouse thrillers have rarely been done this well—even beyond anime. It’ll keep you thrilled and thinking all the way through.
5. The Witcher
The Witcher is an epic fantasy drama series that centers on the legend of Geralt of Rivia and Crown Princess Ciri, who are both linked by destiny. There’s magic, there’s war, and there’s character development a-plenty as their narratives collide.
As one of the best-produced fantasy TV series ever made, The Witcher is a must-watch for anyone who likes swords and sorcery—especially for anyone who’s read the books or played the games. But even if you haven’t, you’ll love this series. It’s that good.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a faithful adaptation of a manga series involving alchemical magic that allows practitioners to control the elements via equivalent exchange. It centers on a child prodigy and his unusual brother who uncover a world-threatening conspiracy.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has been the #1 top-rated anime series on MyAnimeList for close to a decade now. If that doesn’t convince you give it a watch, I suppose nothing will—but there’s no reason why you should miss out. Seriously, watch it!
This German-produced show is a diamond in the rough, given that most TV series that use time travel as a plot device often fall apart or fail to do anything new with the idea.
But Dark is a wholly unique experience. There are some original and unfamiliar elements to the time travel itself, but the real beauty of this show is the slow-burn mystery that stays true to the show’s name.
2. Black Mirror
Black Mirror is what you’d get if you used the format and design of The Twilight Zone to explore the dangers of technology. Every episode imagines a what-if scenario based on aspects of modern technology and what could happen if taken to the extreme.
While Black Mirror is known best for its creative and horrific twists, I love it because it’s one of the few TV series that stay true to the original “purpose” of science fiction—to offer commentary on where we might be headed if we aren’t careful with technology.
Avatar: The Last Airbender follows a young boy who disappeared 100 years ago and returns to a world war led by the aggressive Fire Nation. As the Avatar, the boy must put a stop to the Fire Nation and restore balance the world—but that’s no easy task.
Is Avatar: The Last Airbender an anime series? Or is it Western animation? Does it really even matter? All you need to know is that this series is dense and mature, with lovable and well-written characters, and consistently high-quality all the way through.