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, reality concepts, or unique sci-fi/fantasy, the platform has lots of geeky content.
Here are some of the best geeky TV shows on Netflix that you'll probably like if you consider yourself a nerd. And even if you don't, these shows are still great and stand on their own.
21. The IT Crowd (2006–2013)
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!
20. The 100 (2014–2020)
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.
19. Dark Matter (2015–2017)
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.
18. Memories of the Alhambra (2018)
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 ramps up by episode three 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.
17. The Magicians (2015–2020)
The Magicians, based on the novel series by Lev Grossman, is basically what would happen if the world and story of Harry Potter was much darker, more dangerous, and, in some ways, more realistic.
The series centers on Quentin Coldwater, who enrolls in a secret magic college, and his childhood friend Julia, who failed to enroll in the same college and seeks other ways to learn magic.
Right from the get-go, the world of The Magicians is shown to be far more gruesome and mature than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, making it a great show for geeks who want that.
16. Arthdal Chronicles (2019–2020)
Arthdal Chronicles is a Korean-language fantasy series that takes place thousands of years ago in the fictional land of Arth, most prominently in the city of Arthdal within.
You can think of it as a lite version of Game of Thrones, full of political intrigue and interesting character dynamics but on a much smaller scale. For fantasy fans who want an era other than medieval Europe, Arthdal Chronicles is a great option to watch.
15. Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007)
Stargate SG-1 centers on the SG-1 special operations team, an elite force that uses an alien structure called the Stargate to explore the galaxy and protect Earth against alien threats.
Stargate SG-1 is a classic sci-fi TV series that helped pioneer the genre and show that science fiction television could be serious, well-made, and worthwhile. It may be a bit dated now, but it's still worth checking out if you like military sci-fi series.
14. Explained (2018–Present)
For geeks who love learning about a breadth of topics, Netflix's Explained is a must-watch series.
Produced by Vox, Explained is an educational show that breaks down various subjects—one per episode—and explains it as succinctly as possible in 15 to 20 minutes.
Each episode has a guest narrator who does the explaining, with explanations supplemented by interviews with experts and other subjects of interest related to the topic at hand.
As of this writing, the show has touched on topics ranging from extraterrestrial life to the stock market, from K-pop music to esports, from skin health to cryptocurrency. Anything is game here.
13. Travelers (2016–2018)
In the distant future of Travelers, humans develop the technology to time travel—but they can only send one's consciousness back in time, and doing so takes over the mind of a host body. People who travel back in time like this are known as "travelers."
Why do travelers exist? Well, future humanity faces catastrophe and the collapse of society, so travelers are sent back in time to fix the future and ensure that humanity heads down a better path.
Travelers is one of Netflix's hidden gems. The character performances are a mixed bag with some shining standouts, but the writing is solid and the story is engaging. One of the better time travel TV series to come out in recent years, for sure.
12. Kingdom (2019–Present)
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.
Kingdom 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 that's what makes this zombie show so much better than other zombie shows.
That said, the zombies do still play a crucial role in bringing thrills and mystery to the narrative, and they're terrifying.
11. Altered Carbon (2018–2020)
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.
10. Cobra Kai (2018–Present)
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.
9. Community (2009–2015)
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.
8. Sisyphus: The Myth (2021–2022)
Sisyphus: The Myth is a Korean-language sci-fi TV series about a genius engineer who invents a time traveling device and a woman who's sent back from the future to stop him from inventing said device.
Of course, there's more to the story than that, including a man named Sigma who's manipulating time for unknown reasons, brokers who facilitate illicit migrations from the future to the present, and the Control Bureau that cracks down on illegal immigrants.
Sisyphus: The Myth is a flawed but exciting watch that has lots of twists and turns amidst its excellent worldbuilding.
7. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974)
Monty Python's Flying Circus is the quintessential sketch comedy show. This British series originally aired between 1969 and 1974, yet remains a cult classic that's still hilarious to this day.
The Monty Python gang is at their best here, with iconic performances by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam. If you've never experienced Monty Python before, you need to check this one out right away.
6. Death Note (2006–2007)
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 (2019–Present)
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.
4. Black Mirror (2011–2019)
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.
3. Dark (2017–2020)
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. Arcane (2021–Present)
Arcane is a strong contender for Netflix's greatest series. The fact that it's based on League of Legends makes it one of the geekiest series ever made, and yet the writing, animation, performances, and editing are so incredibly done that it doesn't matter.
Produced by Fortiche, Arcane raised the bar for animated series. In just nine episodes—divided into three acts of three episodes each—we got several deeply affecting character arcs and narrative twists. Every episode is perfection, start to finish.
Even if you've never played League of Legends, Arcane is worth a watch. I've only played a few rounds of the game (so I barely know anything about it) and I enjoyed this series immensely. It's that good.
1. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–2008)
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.