You don’t necessarily pick your entertainment based on how well it depicts your job, but if you’re a software developer, IT professional, or another technologist, you have plenty of options that do it justice. While these TV shows ended after short or long runs, you can still stream many of them on your favorite platform and join the ranks of their already robust cult or mainstream followers.
No matter what, they’re sure to apply to the tech nerd in you, whether you’ve made software your life’s work or simply love gadgets.
1. Silicon Valley
Inspired by writer Mike Judge’s own past as an engineer in Silicon Valley in the 1980s, Silicon Valley follows computer programmer Richard Hendricks on his quest to make it in the technology capital of the world. While at work, the protagonist creates a master compression algorithm and grapples with whether to give it to the company or strike out on his own.
The show was praised for its accurate while still satirical depiction of the world of startups. The series ended in 2019, but you can still stream episodes with an HBO account.
When Chuck Bartowski, a young computer service professional at the fictional Buy More, opens an encoded email containing CIA spy secrets, his life is changed forever. The information is “downloaded” to his brain, prompting the CIA and NSA to use Chuck in their missions. The series ran from 2007–2012.
3. Black Mirror
Season 5 of the dark sci-fi show about a not-so-unrealistic future hit Netflix last year. Each standalone episode of Black Mirror explores a possible unintended consequence of technology, from social networking overtaking our lives to humans losing control of their monstrous inventions. The show isn’t exactly fun to watch, but it will definitely make you think — and fear for the future.
4. Halt and Catch Fire
The title of this series, which ran from 2014–2017, is a reference to a computer code instruction that would cause a computer’s central processing unit to halt operation. The show takes place in the 1980s on the brink of the personal computer boom, where Joe MacMillan hopes to create a computer that will overtake tech giants like IBM.
5. Person of Interest
What happens when a former CIA agent and a tech genius team up to combat terrorism? That’s what Person of Interest sought to find out. The show, which ended in 2016 after a five-year run, centers around the duo, who use an AI-powered system called “The Machine” to catch terrorist acts before they occur and identify the would-be perpetrators and victims. It’s a must for tech nerds and lovers of crime drama alike.
6. The IT Crowd
The IT Crowd (2006–2013) was a British sitcom that followed a three-person IT department relegated to the depressing basement of the fictitious Reynholm Industries. Roy and Moss conduct tech support — albeit reluctantly — answering their colleagues’ less-than-brilliant questions with their relationship manager, Jen. The show’s satirical tone and acid jokes have turned it into a cult classic you must not miss.
7. Mr. Robot
Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer, is recruited to join a “hacktivist” group called Fsociety, which seeks to destroy corporate America by erasing the debt and financial records of E Corp, the world’s largest conglomerate. The genre-crossing thriller aired between 2015 and 2019 and is chock full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Based on the life of real genius Walter O’Brien, the premise of Scorpion involves a group of misfit geniuses who are part of Homeland Security’s think tank that have to develop solutions to guard against technology threats in the digital age. The group is made up of many personalities who struggle to fit in with and understand the social cues of people in the outside world. Scorpion ended in 2018 after four seasons.
Four computer nerds devise a brilliant idea for a social networking app that will find people “you should know.” The team develops the app and works to secure an investor, who holds their future in his hands. The show, which ran for just one season (2013–2014) is praised for realistically depicting the competition in Silicon Valley, offering a behind-the-scenes look at what software development and startup culture is really like.
Tech enthusiast? Professional software developer? Just looking for an interesting show to watch? You’re sure to find something on this list to binge on your next night in.
Interesting related article: “What is Software?“