Has Geek Become Chic? Part 1

Adam Brody as The OC's Seth Cohen

Adam Brody as The OC's Seth Cohen

Everywhere you look on TV, even big network television, you’re sure to find a geek. Whether it’s the geek-centric comedy of The Big Bang Theory to crime procedurals setting episodes at sci-fi/fantasy cons, there’s been an increased geek presence in coveted prime time slots.

This got the hamster wheel in my head going, and has led to my first blog series – Has Geek Become Chic?

In Part One, I’ve decided to explore just how geeks invaded prime time TV, and chatted with FancyFembot herself, Cat of Sci Fi Party Line, and Steve “Snowball” Saylor of This Week in Geek. Topic of conversation? What they would consider the defining moment in geek making its mark on prime time.

Cat and I seem to be on the same page that Lost has been an important step in the emergence of science fiction and “geek” culture on prime time television. That was the defining moment for me; Lost is the show that really sparked my interest in sci-fi, and I think it was what introduced the genre to those who were previously unreceptive.

Cat shared:

I think “geeks” made (their mark) prime time with Lost. Before Lost aired, I remember a big write up for it in SciFi Magazine. They heavily promoted it to the “geeks” when it first aired. After a season, the writers or whoever was talking to the media started back tracking and telling people not to put Lost in the science fiction genre. With this latest season, with time travel, time shifts, disappearing islands, etc, no one can deny that this show is science fiction. Lost is one of the hottest shows and sort of tricked everyone into watching quantum mechanics every week. I think it’s awesome!”

Steve actually places the injection of geek into prime time TV a bit earlier than Lost, and you might be surprised by his choice:

As far as specifics, for me personally when I started to see the change was on The O.C. It was a prime time hit and one of the main characters, Seth Cohen, was a geek who turned out to be a character everyone loved. Even my brother and sister who are far from being geeks themselves love The O.C. and love the character of Seth Cohen because he was funny, quirky, and also a geek.

He also observed:

The ones who grew up being geeks like us are now in control of prime time and are now able to tell the stories they wanted to tell, and it just took a lot of people in the right places for that.

What would you say was the moment or show that saw geek make a serious mark on prime time TV? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Next, I’ll be looking at the presence of Cons on prime time TV, particularly on crime procedurals like Bones and NUMB3RS, including a more detailed look at last week’s episode of CSI. Be sure to visit soon for Part 2 of Has Geek Become Chic?

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