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6 Shows like The Big Bang Theory: Barmy Brainiacs

Laura Light itcherGleeks, geeks and nerds, whatever you call yourself, it’s never been cooler than now to be brainy. So put on your sellotaped glasses, stick your retainer back in for the night, and enjoy ‘A Town Called Eureka’, ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks’, all shows like ‘The Big Bang Theory’. ~ Laura Light

[Knock Knock Knock] Penny

The past few years has brought us a lot of shows about crime-solving vampires or killing the living dead, but we always go back to comedy, and with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ I can see why!

It is a show about two hyperintelligent roommates and physicists Sheldon and Leonard who meet normal girl Penny, a beautiful woman who lives next door, and realize they know next to nothing about life outside of the lab.

I first came across this show at my mum’s house, of all places, and watched Leonard come out of his room in his underwear armed with a lightsaber, I thought I was going to hurt myself laughing, and instantly knew I would love the show.

So for more comedy genius, expert timing and truly amazing acting, take a look at these three TV series like ‘The Big Bang Theory’.


Shows Similar to ‘The Big Bang Theory’…

‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO, 2014- )

I was never enjoying it. I only eat it for the nutrients. You may take it…

Set in the geek world, where young IT nerds have big problems with the real non-digital world.

This is a really funny show, and by the third episode it becomes more and more enthralling. I don’t know a lot about tech, but you can understand the humour even without technical knowledge. Let’s just say that as long as you have an IT department in your business you’ll be able to relate to this.

Similarity Match: 95%
Both shows feature geeks who have issues with girls and don’t play sports, only this time it’s based in a tech business instead of a university lab.

‘Freaks and Geeks’ (NBC, 1999–2000)

If I think I’m cool then people will think I’m cool too? But I already think I’m cool. But nobody else does…

The show centers on two siblings, their family and their friends. The oldest daughter is practically a genius and a nice girl, but she longs for so much more out of life than just good grades. So, she leaves her old friends and creates a new identity with the “freaks”. Her younger brother is one of the geekiest kids you could imagine, except for his friends which are even worse. Nice kids, yes, but total geeks.

Each episode tends to focus on one or both of the teens and despite their differences, they both are basically decent kids. The parents, though pretty dorky (especially Joe Flaherty as DAD), are nice folks as well and you can’t help but care about them all. AND, in spite of all I have mentioned, the show kept a nice sense of humor and was never saccharine!

Similarity Match: 90%
There’s just as many kooky characters and silly premises, but this time our heroes are in a family setting.

‘A Town Called Eureka’ (Syfy, 2006–2012)

I swear if this turns into a zombie attack, I am quitting!

The best minds in the US are tucked away in a remote town where they build futuristic inventions for the government’s benefit.

Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is a normal cop, just trying to survive in a town full of brainy scientists. So when he thinks he’s going nuts Henry (Joe Morton) is there to back him up, even if the obscene is normal to him (and even when he’s at the receiving end of a gun barrel). Jack’s genuine attitude about his job, and his not-so-sure understanding of what’s going on around him makes it fun to see how he’s going to react next.

Don’t get me started on his deputy Jo (Erica Cerra) who is a smart, sexy sidekick who is more than capable of putting Jack in his place when needed. Her sarcasm is rooted deep, but if you like that kind of personality, you’ll love her presence.

Similarity Match: 80%
You’ve got your bright folks doing sciencey things, but whereas this could be classed as a cop show at times, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is pure comedy.


If You Like ‘The Big Bang Theory’, You Will Like…

Looking for more side splitting comedy? Then by gosh have I got some gems for you. Check out these next three shows like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ that are more funny than smart.

‘Blossom’ (NBC, 1990-1995)

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make the world spin backwards briefly and reverse time so that you can prevent your finger from getting caught…

A teenage girl living in a house run by men dreams what life would be like if she lived in a more conventional family.

This brings back memories. Looking back now, I related to situations in this show and I had a huge crush on Joey Lawrence, especially when he blossomed! This show has good values, and is family oriented. I wish this TV show lasted longer, I could watch it forever!

You’ve got a similar family dynamic as ‘The Big Bang Theory’, but this is more of a “don’t judge a book by its cover” kind of story rather than a tale of fitting in.

‘Spaced’ (Channel 4, 1999–2001)

What about the Ewoks, eh? They were rubbish. You don’t complain about them…

Friends Tim and Daisy, 20-something North Londoners with uncertain futures, must pretend to be a couple to live in the only apartment they can afford.

Both seasons of the show were as close to perfect as I can imagine. Funny, beautifully shot, well-produced, the only downside was that there wasn’t more of it. Perhaps the reason that it wasn’t as successful as it should have been was that it didn’t get a large enough audience.

It was aired in a time when ‘The Royle Family’ undeservedly won all the awards and praise, whereas ‘Spaced’ was considered to be aimed at immature adolescents, film parodies and comic book references only worthy of an audience that doesn’t know quality when they see it. And this is a tragedy, because, if television series can be considered art form by any stretch of the imagination, then this is a masterpiece, something to be admired by others, a definite benchmark for all other programmes.

While the adventures are just as funny and absurd, ‘Spaced’ isn’t so much about geeks, more about the strange relationship between the pair.

‘Community’ (NBC, 2009–2015)

I teach law at Greendale, so believe me, I don’t know much about law…

A suspended lawyer is forced to enrol in a community college with an eclectic staff and student body.

I am very critical of television. I hate clichés, shows that try to teach you things, and, more than anything, rip-offs (like the fact that family guy takes most of its plot lines from old Simpsons episodes), but ‘Community’ is original and dead-on with every punchline.

Joel McHale is a great leading man who plays an ass trying a little harder not to be an ass (maybe it’s just to get a girl, but hey). Chevy Chase’s character confused me a bit (don’t get me wrong, he is hilarious, but in this he’s just a side character) until I saw the second episode (Spanish 101) in which he does a Spanish presentation that is golden. There were no doubts left in my mind.

This is more of a fast paced comedy about a group of misfit students, but it’s a surprisingly mature story about acceptance and fitting in that’ll bring a tear to your eye.


Honourable Mention

Just like TBBT, ‘The IT Crowd’ also tells the funny stories between geeks and a girl in an IT department. A big difference between the two is that ‘The IT Crowd’ never focuses on the complicated science jokes, but really normal life stories. It’s a hoot!


Looking for more shows about nerds and smart people? There are tons of comedies out there, ‘Bones’ is one you should check out if you also like cop shows. How about a community comedy? ‘Parks and Rec’ would be a good call too.

Let me know in the comments below.

itcher Mag is the place for entertainment recommendations across movies, books, music and games.
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