© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. doctor_who_wideweb__470x355

182/365 – Nerd Cred

My whole life I’ve been building up my nerd cred.  It’s like street cred but with more desperate attempts at losing one’s virginity.  From wearing Spider-Man PJs to owning over 3500 comics, my nerd status is pretty well established.  But there’s been one aspect of my nerd heritage that, in my mind, has kept me from full realization. What is this pre-requisite for being an official nerd? Collecting Comic Books?  Got that covered. Play or have played roll playing games like Dungeon & Dragons?  Check?  Actually beat a Final Fantasy video game?  God. I have done that.  Gross.

I do play the game for the action and the story line . . . shut up, I do!

What is it, then, that makes me inadequate as a nerd?  Simple.  Doctor Who.  It’s a huge piece of the nerd puzzle that has never fit into my lifestyle.  Oh, I used to watch it when I was a kid — off and on — back when Tom Baker was The Doctor.  Even then, though, I really watched it because I thought the theme song was cool.

When the show was rebooted in 2007, I was skeptical.  This show was going to keep me from joining the ranks of the nerd elite?  Well, maybe my old roommate, Chris, recognized this.  He did his best to get me into the show.  He saw something in me that was screaming to complete my nerd merit badge.  However, I couldn’t get past the first few episodes.  It was too cheesy.

It’s a giant, bald Rastafarian in a jar. Cheeeeeeesy!

But still, nerds whom I admitted and looked up to would proclaim the genius of this show.  So, while I was in LA, I decided to give the first season another go.  Once I realized that the cheesy effects weren’t an accident — that they were actually part of the show’s charm — I was hooked.  And now, I’m onto the 5th season.  This show truly is brilliant.  Not just in a science fiction sense, but in a tale of human emotion and triumph.  One episode actually made me tear up.

The Empty Child – a creepy but ultimately touching episode.

Even more, the show truly caters to its audience.  The BBC understands that people want to see the connections between episodes and characters.  They want to see the big picture. Lost tried to do that but they attempted it over the run of the series.  Doctor Who does this within each season. So, in honor of me finally getting that nerd badge, I’m giving you my top nerd television shows to watch.  It took a long time to get into Doctor who, considering it’s a 35+ year old show.  Here’s your viewing list, future nerds:

X-Files

This show was for science fiction television what Seinfeld was for the sitcom.  In my opinion, it’s one of the more intriguing and well written shows ever produced.  Well, except for everything after the 6th season.  This show set up through line plot devices for such shows as Lost and Fringe.  While there was a UFO abduction story line, the creators sprinkled in stand alone episodes that kept casual viewers hooked as well.  Last year, I took a pilgramage and watched every episode in order.  All 9 seasons.  It took me two months.  It was worth every second.  If you’re so inclined, try watching the episode “Squeeze.”  A good, horror centric stand alone episode.

Battlestar Galactica

This is the show everyone raves about making it the hardest to the non-science fiction fans to watch.  That and its relation to the original 197o’s show and you have a battle ahead of you if you want anyone to tune in.  However, once you get someone past the mini-series, you’re more than likely won the war.  A series of political and social intrigue shrouded in science fiction, this may be one of the best sci-fi shows ever produced.  It can be the bridge that non science fiction fans have needed.   One of my favorite episodes comes in the first season, “33”.  The tension in the episode is palpable.

Lost

Lost was a cultural phenomenon.  It took everything that had preceded it and turned it on its head.  Fans get really bent out of shape that not all the show’s mysteries were solved with the finale.  Who cares.  Mystery is what makes this show so intriguing.  Coupled with the major intent of the show, human relations, it’s a damn fine show.  So well done is the dialogue and characterizations that it’s hard not to get emotional over a sci-fi show like this.  If you truly want to cry, watch “Through The Looking Glass” — but only after watching all the preceding episodes.  That is one hell of a mind fuck.

Millennium

Not many people know about this show.  It was the creation of Chris Carter who created The X-Files.  It followed Frank Black, a freelance profiler who left the FBI after a nervous breakdown.  He’s now working with a group called The Millennium Group who assist law enforcement with violent crimes.  This show had the feel of the film Seven before Seven was six  . . . you know what I mean.  The show had elements of supernatural and crime procedural that puts Supernatural to shame.  Unfortunately, the first season is the only good season.  The writers took out an essential element at the season finale that never let the show recover.  Still, catch up on that season with the pilot.  It’s creepy and sets up the whole through line that eventually becomes Frank Black’s demise.

Futurama

Do you like The Simpsons?  So you like Sci-Fi?  Do you want funnier, smarter comedy?  Then get off your ass and watch Futurama.  When The Simpson became pedestrian and predictable, it seems as if Matt Groening jumped ship.  Nope.  I think he focused on Futurama.  A show whose jokes have been studied by Harvard Physicists (not joking) this show brings stupid and crass together with brilliant and genius.  Fry and Bender alone are reason to stop watching Homer and Bart.   Even then, the show manages to have incredible amounts of heart.  Watch Jurassic Bark if you really want to feel something deep down in that tinker you call a heart.

Star Trek: the Next Generation

This was my first real journey into the sci-fi genre when I was a kid.  I never watched the original (except for the movies) but, somehow, was excited over this reboot. And for good reason.  This brought the whole Star Trek mythos up t date , reinventing the social commentary that made the original so quietly subversive.  Patrick Stewart instantly became a new hero for dozens of nerds — and a Shakespearean trained actor at that!  Try watching “Starship Mine”, a brilliant take on the Die Hard franchise . . . bit on The Enterprise!

Fringe

Just one of those shows you have to get people to watch . . . fight even.  This show is like X-Files without the fantasy.  Completely science driven.  Again, like X-Files, though, it’s the characters that drive the show, not the science.  It’s amazing to me that John Noble has not been nominated for an Emmy.  He plays Walter.  Watch his and you’ll see.  That’s why the last season has been tough to follow because they eliminated an essential character plot device . . . However, unlike X-Files, the through-line plot is what carries the show.  The stand alone episodes aren’t that great.  The show may sound unoriginal – following a special division of the FBI called Fringe that investigates unexplainable events – but JJ Abrams has a way of making old things very new.  I don’t have an episode for you to watch as all the really good ones reveal to much of the through line plot, so get the pilot.  It’ll get you hooked.

 

One Comment

  1. Posted 2 Apr ’12 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Timmy. My love for X-Files, Fringe, Star Trek:TNG, and Futurama know no bounds. I’ve never been big on Dr. Who (which is damn near blasphemy amongst most nerds) and haven’t watched the other shows.
    Also, Dana Scully was my role model as a young girl. She’s smart, loyal, methodical and had lovely red hair!
    I have a lot of fond memories of watching X-Files with my mother (who was MAJORLY into science fiction and horror when I was wee little one) as she braided my hair.

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