There's no doubt that superheroes are taking over TV. This fall sees the debut of two new comic-book inspired series (Supergirl and [DC's Legends of Tomorrow](tag:2937021)), joining Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, and Agents of SHIELD. In addition, Netflix is set to air the second series in the interconnected Daredevil quartet ([A.K.A. Jessica Jones](tag:1168773)), superhero-free comic book adaptations iZombie and The Walking Dead are going strong, and [Marvel's Agent Carter](tag:1119765) has been upgraded from a stand-alone filler for the mid-season gap to an ongoing series.
Geekdom is becoming a genre in it's own right, and with that comes a sub-genre; reality TV.
Despite being maligned as chewing-gum for the eyes, reality TV isn't just about watching people be yelled at to lose weight or have ridiculous arguments over whose turn it is to clean the diamonds (hint: the maid's). There are some increasingly impressive reality shows aimed at nerdy viewers, and most of them are, in fact, pretty darn fun to watch.
Whether upcoming, ongoing, or completed, here are some of the best geek-flavored reality offerings to get your teeth into.
5. Heroes Of Cosplay
One of the best-known nerd-based reality shows, Heroes of Cosplay is a docu-series following various cosplayers across the US to attend conventions and compete in costume contests. Fronted by Yaya Han, the show features many other well-known cosplayers as they take their ideas from conception to convention. There are two short seasons thus far, and while the show doesn't appear to have been officially cancelled, there is no news on if it will return to the SyFy channel for a third.
This is something of a tricky one, which is why it lands at number five. Well known and well marketed, this definitely brought cosplay further into the public eye. It's generally fun to watch, even if it remains on the fluffier end of the reality spectrum. However, the show has also come under fire for misrepresenting the cosplay community, with fans calling it unrealistic and heavily staged (quite the shocker for this format!). While Heroes of Cosplay is hardly a how-to guide to becoming a professional cosplayer, or a snapshot of what your average cosplay fan will experience, it's still amusing viewing, and many of the costumes are absolutely jaw-dropping.
Stan Lee's Superhumans
This series fronted by the Generalissimo himself, searches out people with real-life superpowers. Far fetched? You might be surprised. Each episode focuses on one person and their "power", which could be anything from uber-flexibility, to super-strength, to endurance. A team of experts puts these powers to the test, and attempts to explain how these people are possible. Think of it as the comic-themed love child of Mythbusters and a freakshow.
While calling some of these talents "superpowers" is a little hyperbolic, others are truly amazing. Even more interesting is that most actually end up having some sort of evolutionary or physical basis, and the explanations behind them are fascinating. This is far more of an educational show - while you personally may not be able to run without ever stopping, you'll definitely learn a bit about why your muscles become tired. There are no competitions or prizes to be won, but it will definitely leave you in awe of the strangeness of the human body.
3. Her Universe Fashion Show
This upcoming reality show is, as yet, not officially named, but will be based on the hugely popular Her Universe Fashion Show at San Diego Comic Con. As part of the show at SDCC, fangirl fashion label Her Universe runs a competition for designers to create geek couture, with the winner going on to collaborate on a line with the company. The upcoming show will follow these competitors and their designs, culminating in the 2016 SDCC show.
This show really has the potential to be fantastic - a new take on a mix of Project Runway and Heroes of Cosplay (and hopefully managing to avoid some of the mistakes that the latter made). Fashion meets nerddom meets reality tv. While there is no release date currently confirmed, it's slated to air early next year ahead of SDCC 2016.
2. Comic Book Men
This ongoing series is a combination of docu-series and Kevin Smith's I Sell Comics! podcast. Each episode switches between the guys sitting around recording, and filmed snippets of the stories that they are letting in the podcast. All of these take place at Kevin Smith's comic book store in New Jersey: Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. The stories themselves range from celebrity visits to collectors items being brought in for sale, with the odd appearance by Smith himself (or partner in crime Jason Mewes).
This is an incredibly fun series that feels a lot like Pawn Stars for comic book nerds, packed with geeky jokes and rare collectible to drool over (and the occasional dud to laugh about). There are some truly sweet and memorable stories, and some interesting factoids about comic books and characters throughout. Admittedly, there is nothing groundbreaking going on here, and it's not going to inspire you to do much more than maybe see if your mom threw out that Millennium Falcon you had when you were eight, but it's a fun excuse to watch people nerding out.
1. King of the Nerds
By far my favorite reality viewing, King of the Nerds is a game show where geeks compete to sit atop the Throne of Games and be declared the King of the Nerds. (Although with two out of three winners being women, perhaps Queen of the Nerds would be a better title!) Living together in a house named "Nerdvana", eleven nerds (twelve in season three) split into teams who compete in various tasks to test their geek status. Two members of the losing team are then nominated for a nerd-off, where the loser is eliminated.
It's pretty standard reality competition stuff, so the real joy is simply in the fact that it's So. Darn. Nerdy. The games are more fun to watch and play along with when the topics are this close to my geeky little heart, and unlike many other house-based reality competitions, these characters are all about as relatable as they come. Of course, there is the usual housemate drama, but somehow it's a little different when the arguments are based on scorn that someone doesn't know how gravity works, or peppered with grandiose references to Game of Thrones.
Get ready to root for your favorite nerd (whether they are a science nerd, robotics expert, cosplayer, or comic book aficionado) in an unashamed series of silly competition. It's also hosted by Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, just to make sure you understand quite how nerdy it is.