Television geeks, part 2

There she blows!  We’ve got ourselves a whale of a trend sighting in television programming: geeks.  Besides competing with the beauties on Tuesday nights on the CW, on Mondays we’ve got one named Chuck saving the world on NBC (not to mention assorted geeky “heroes”) and a group of four in the more traditional role of unrequited pursuers of the female form on CBS.  

This trend has not gone unnoticed by the mainstream media.  Mark Berman wrote about it for MediaWeek in June and then repackaged the column as a “Special to Newsday” in September  (Gee Mark, I hope Newsday knew about the MediaWeek column).  And two years ago Joel Keller wrote about geeks for tvsquad.com.  As Mark and Joel both point out, geeks have been on television for years as outsiders of all kinds: Lenny and Squiggy, Felix Unger, Arnold Horshak.  Today’s geeks as computer wizards and mathematicians are just a reflection of the times as the generation that grew up texting, IMing and playing MMORPGs are now entering the television industry as writers, creators and producers.

Will the new Monday night shows survive?  I agree with Mark that The Big Bang Theory, sandwiched between two established shows, How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men, has a decent shot at survival.  However, the show is going to depend on the female lead, Kaley Cuoco, and although I liked her work in 8 Simple Rules and Charmed, I’m not sure she can carry the responsibility of making the geek-hot woman chemistry work long-term.  NBC’s Chuck, on the other hand, is in trouble.  I just can’t see enough spies coming to the local Buy More store to keep Chuck busy.  As we saw with Sydney Bristow in Alias, spies have to travel around the world in order to capture the bad guys.  The story-telling possibilities are just too limited.  I’ll give Chuck one more week to win me over.  Even if both shows collapse, we’ll still have professor Charlie Epps, Friday night on Numbers on CBS, dating the most beautiful woman on television right now.

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