Reality TV shows that will unleash your inner nerd
When most people think of reality television they think of trashy content and fakery, but that’s not always the case. For the geek inside all of us, there are plenty of reality shows out there that promises to satisfy your thirst for knowledge, explore fandoms, and show people mastering amazing skills.
King of the Nerds (2013 – 2015)
This reality show features 12 self-confessed nerds who compete with each other in unique challenges to become the King of the Nerds who will sit atop the Throne of Games (a reference to the Game of Thrones television show). They live together in a house called Nerdvana, while they compete in the challenges.
The contestants all come from very diverse backgrounds. The show has featured mathematicians, video game developers, cosplayers, engineers, hackers, comic book enthusiasts, professional gamers, physicists, and more. The challenges are all related to nerdy topics and pop culture. Some examples include playing life-size chess games, duelling with quadcopters and Nerf guns, solving the Rubik’s Cube, and having debates about superheroes.
Mythbusters (2003 – present)
Mythbusters is a classic that we’re sure you’re already familiar with. Special effects and industrial design experts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, use scientific methods to prove whether myths, viral videos, movie scenes and news stories are in fact true by accurately recreating and testing them.
Even though this season (its 14th) will be the last one for Mythbusters, it’s well worth a re-watch once the final episode airs. There have been hundreds of experiments but some highlights include a cheese cannon ripping through a ship’s hull, a cement truck evaporated by an explosion, a rocket-powered car, a man propelled by fireworks, a motorcycle riding on water, and a daring prison escape.
Face Off (2011 – present)
Any fan of the science fiction and horror genres knows how much work goes into creating the fantastical characters they love so much. Already in its 10th season, Face Off has a group of prosthetic makeup artists compete against each other to test their skills in the design, sculpting and execution of out-of-this-world characters.
Every episode features at least two opportunities for the artists to create aliens, zombies, mythical sea creatures, toy people, human-like animals, werewolves and so much more. The show really helps one to appreciate the amount of hard work and creativity that goes into creating realistic-looking characters.
How It’s Made (2001 – present)
This Discovery Channel documentary series has been on the air for an impressive 15 years (26 seasons). As the name suggests, the show provides an inside look into how everyday, commonly-used objects are made. The objects they cover vary from bubble gum, guitars and snowboards to steel, bicycle helmets and yoghurt.
Each half-hour show covers how and where products originated, some historical facts and in-depth explanations for more complicated products. If you want more shows on the inner workings of things you can also take a look at HowStuffWorks (Discovery Channel), How Do They Do It (Discovery Science Channel) and Modern Marvels (History Channel).
Comic Book Men (2012 – present)
Kevin Smith is probably best known for his portrayal of Silent Bob in the Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob movies, but he is also a comic book writer, podcaster and self-confessed nerd.
Comic Book Men is a reality series set in Kevin Smith’s iconic comic book store called Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in New Jersey, USA. It follows the everyday workings of a neighbourhood comic book store and the fans that visit it. You will see some rare and unusual comic books being sold and bought and even a cameo from legendary comic book writer Stan Lee whilst learning all about the people who truly love the world of comics.
AWE Me YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/AweMeChannel)
Not everyone might have access to all of the great shows we’ve mentioned so far but the YouTube channel AWE Me is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and just as high-quality as any other television show.
This channel uploads episodes from four different series namely Epic How To, DIY Prop Shop, Man At Arms: Reforged, and Super Fan Builds. No matter what fandom you belong to there will be something for you to explore. Their Super Fan Builds series has well-known prop artists build one-of-a-kind, top quality items for passionate fans. They have done around twelve projects so far which include a Hulk Buster highchair for a baby, a coffee table replicating Han Solo in carbonite, and a fish tank inspired by the City of Rapture from Bioshock.
Their Epic How To series will teach you how to do things you might think seem impossible such as winning an Oscar, becoming a ninja, surviving a zombie apocalypse, and more. With the DIY Prop Shop you are taught how to build well-known props like the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter or a Star Trek phaser. Man At Arms: Reforged goes into weapons territory by recreating, for example, Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head Great Knife and Katniss’ bow from the Hunger Games series.