The nerd, once confined to displays of vintage toys on the desk or hidden He-Man tattoos, has risen from the depths of derision to be a celebrated category. Helping this ascension are stories that don’t rely on sleazy alien sex or giant monsters playing good touch/bad touch with each other, but focus on promoting deep plot lines and philosophical dilemmas. Walk a new road or revisit old favorites with these five essential Sci Fi shows every nerd should watch.


With laughter, morality puzzles, and layered characters, “Firefly” keeps the human side of technology by making it fail all the time and that takes it further into greatness. There’s nothing more perfectly human than kicking something that isn’t working. Flaws and imperfections abound but it’s the underlying sense of sticking to a code of honor and morality that drives this show and keeps it on course throughout the storylines. “Out of Gas” is that gem of a story where a simple problem here on Earth becomes a terrifying nightmare situation out in space.

“Babylon 5”

A true space opera, “Babylon 5” served an audience who were willing to wait for a story to unfold and not for the worshippers of instant gratification. "Epic" describes this science fiction show perfectly, as long as you’re using the term before it meant everything from your ability to get up in the morning to your latest weapon drop in a MMO. Serving diplomacy, intrigue, romance, strategy and fistfuls of action, this is a science fiction show that will satisfy every nerd-lust you have ever had. “The Fall of Night” doesn’t navel-gaze before engaging in action, it does what’s right for the characters and the future storylines, making it one seriously great season finale.

“Battlestar Galactica”

No mere war between once servile robots and human masters, the Cylons have come back in force with a premeditated opening gambit and well-hidden saboteurs and spies in their war on humanity. “Battlestar Galactica” starts to emotionalize the Cylons while making humans more machinelike as paranoia starts to reign over everyone involved. Place your bets on who the imposters are before you start watching so you can be surprised at the turns as well as how comfortable the nerd title will end up fitting you. Baltar’s treachery against humanity gets exposed in “Six Degrees of Separation” with interesting conclusions. Plus, the show has a fantastic sound score.

Red Dwarf”

At first glance you wouldn’t think science fiction needed a prudish, uptight hologram or a slovenly, doltish crewman at all, let alone teamed up but you’d be terribly, terribly wrong. Lister, Rimmer, and Cat (the descendant of Lister’s pet after three million years of evolution) do their best to support, sabotage and get the immoral high ground on each other all while trying to find their way back to Earth with the help of Holly, the ship’s occasional prank playing computer. “Red Dwarf” is a science fiction show that will build your nerd street cred as painlessly as possible. Don’t miss Lister’s bout with divinity in “Waiting for God."


The future looks amazing and nerd-friendly with alcohol-fueled robots, semi-senile mad scientists, and plenty of alien races hanging around. With technology that fails as much as the crew of Planet Express, the Earth and all delivery planets are sources for satire, philosophy, and straight-out belly laughs thus assuring this show of a place in the hearts and minds of every nerd with decent science fiction taste. Currently finding its path after years in cancelation, “Futurama” starts the climb back in “A Clockwork Origin” with a great argument between Professor Farnsworth and Dr. Banjo, an orangutan proponent of “creaturism”.