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The older I get, the more I’m drawn to sitcoms. And thank God that smart sitcoms for nerds and geeks have become more plentiful in the past several years! Nothing wrong with a bit of mainstream fun, of course, but it’s nice when you can relate to nerds and geeks on a deeper level sometimes.
Here are some of the best geeky sitcoms you can stream right now.
Leave it to HBO to present one of the most true-to-reality depictions of modern nerdhood on television. Sure, Silicon Valley exercises its own form of creative liberty at times, but the general premise—a group of techy nerds build and sell an app—is unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere. It’s a must-watch for anyone who identifies as an entrepreneur or programmer, if only because the jokes are that much funnier if you are.
The Good Place is another hit from Michael Schur, one of the creative geniuses behind The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This particular show is about the afterlife—“the good place”—but things start to go awry when Eleanor Shellstrop dies and arrives. What’s nerdy about it? Well, one of the main characters is a grade-A nerd, and he’s frickin’ hilarious.
Arrested Development is the classic example of a clever sitcom about stupid people, unlike most sitcoms which are stupid jokes about stupid people. Arrested Development is layered, and it rewards multiple rewatches and a keen eye. It’s a thinking person’s comedy series. Perfect for nerds!
One of the best sitcoms ever made, Scrubs is about medical students making their way through medical school and life. But you don’t have to be in the medical field to enjoy this one. The characters are super goofy, the jokes are smart, and there’s a powerful emotional undercurrent that pokes through every so often. It’s one of the few sitcoms that have managed to make me cry, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I previously highlighted Futurama as one of the best geeky TV shows to watch on Hulu, and that won’t ever change. Like Arrested Development, Futurama is extremely layered in its jokes, and you’ll need to watch it multiple times to catch all of them. But whereas Arrested Development is more about family dysfunction, Futurama’s jokes are super nerdy. There’s a ton of scientific rigor behind the scenes of this show!
6. The Office
Is there anything more nerdy than working in an office? The Office sits comfortable in our list of the best geeky TV shows on Netflix, if only because every nerd and geek can relate to the humdrum monotony of office work punctuated by insane office antics and quirky interpersonal relationships.
Community is a sitcom about a study group at a community college, and their adventures and struggles as they make their way through each year. Abed is the nerdiest and geekiest character on the show, but everyone is goofy in their own way, and there’s a lot to like about this cleverly written show (except for the fourth season, which was shaky due to internal conflict amongst writers and showrunners).
8. The IT Crowd
It’s like The Office if it were way more absurd and had a smaller cast. Then again, it’s not really like The Office at all, in that The IT Crowd really has a style and substance of its own. Anyone who has ever worked in IT will be able to relate to most of the shenanigans that go on here, even if you’ve never worked in British IT.
9. 30 Rock
30 Rock is more of a geeky show than a nerdy one. It follows the day-to-day of Liz Lemon, a writer for a comedy skit show who just can’t quite keep her life together. The cast is insanely talented—especially Alec Baldwin—and it’s a hilarious look at what life as a TV writer might actually look like. No doubt, Tina Fey took inspiration from her own life and injected it into 30 Rock.
Superstore is criminally underrated. America Ferrera may be the biggest name on cast, but everyone pulls their weight in this sitcom about working in a big box store (a la Walmart or Target). Most of the characters are supreme dorks, which is something I’m sure we all see in ourselves to some degree. Right? No? Just me?