A good nerd always starts with a solid foundation. While I didn’t really get into gaming, cosplay or cons until my 20’s, I did get into a lot of fantastic TV growing up. Many of these shows are now con staples (well, most are…), growing up they were just the shows I would watch after school or with my family in the evening. They were my quick escapes into fantastical worlds filled monsters and mythology or onto starships that traveled the galaxy. Aliens, sorcerers, and warriors were all part of my day, and were some of the greatest distractions from homework. Because to be honest, getting another episode in of Star Trek was much more enjoyable them studying for a spelling test.

Looking back on them now, I am grateful for my parents taste in TV. Sci-fy and fantasy let the mind run wild, and I couldn’t have been happier with the characters I grew up with. Most characters, male or female, hold their own (in some capacity) and aren’t just relegated to being a pretty face or comic relief. So before I get dive too deep into character stereotypes and the Bechdel Test, here are a few of my favourite shows growing up and why I still love them.

1. Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Why these 2 Star Treks out of all the series? Because that was what was on our 6(-ish) channel, rabbit eared TV growing up! I believe Voyager was on first, and it was my favourite out of the two. I loved and still love the concept of exploring the greater universe without having to always deal with the same races (Klingons, Romulans, etc.) and the same political disputes. Plus I was (and still am) terrible at keeping track of greater plot lines throughout a series, and it felt Voyager had enough standalone episodes to keep me from getting confused. It also helped I had a total girl crush on Seven of Nine. DS9 was enjoyable in large part due to the Ferengi’s and the rules of Acquisition and the fact the set was very static. Again, I don’t follow plots well.

2. Stargate SG-1
While I may or may not have seen the original movie (the start of a series is always a bit fuzzy for me), I have watched most of the first couple seasons. Until they changed the timeslot on the channel and it disappeared for a while. TV guide problems. The whole SG-1 team was fun to watch and the cast played really well off of each other. The Goa’uld were creepy but not gross (mostly), and it was easy to follow the one bad group of people vs Earth, throw in the Aztecs for good measures. And when you’re spin off (Stargate: Atlantis, Not Universe. I never got Universe.) actually brings back characters from the original series in roles that make sense, it’s a long term winner.

3. Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules.
These were shows that I watch by myself and loved every minute of it. While the fight scenes come off as a little more comical nowadays, I was in awe of them growing up. I thought Xena was a complete badass and I really loved her outfit and weapons. Pretty sure I tried to make them out of cardboard at least once… (sidenote: check out Man at Arms: Reforged if you want to see Xena’s Chakram actually made in real life! Click here .) Gabrielle, her sidekick, was always fun to watch and I loved the bond between these two women. Add in Hercules and a crossover episode and I was a happy camper! The cross over episode is still one of my personal favourites to this day, because everything can be solved by just sending it to the cave right?

4. Beastmaster
This was a show I tried to watch in secret when I thought my parents weren’t paying attention. (Did it work Mom and Dad?) Similar to Xena and Hercules, but with more animals, more magic and I really want to say more skimpy outfits? Not sure if the last one is true, but it was a fun series to sneak in every once in a while. Plus the animals were gorgeous and I loved big cats and unicorns. Never quite knew what was going on, but the crazy antics of the evil sorceress always made up for it.

5. Andromeda
Because Kevin Sorbo couldn’t be Hercules forever. Sad face. But Captain Dylan Hunt and the rest of his crew abroad the Andromeda more than made up for it. With three fantastic females who can each hold their own and had amazing plot lines (on top of great wardrobes), I love Andromeda because the team didn’t feel expendable. They each came with thought out backstories, the universe was very entertaining, and Andromeda herself was fantastic. She took having a conversation with yourself to a whole new level. (And pretty sure she is one of my first idols when it came to my hair dying obsession.)

I may wear rose coloured glasses when I think of these shows, but I am okay with that. They produced some of my favourite actors (Lucy Lawless narrates documentaries now!), got me interested in the whole world around me, and calms me down when I think of what they are doing to the Star Trek universe in the latest movies (THEY DESTROYED VULCAN!). And who knows? They might just inspire some of my next cosplays!

What were some of your favourite nerdy shows growing up?

Happy nostalgia!
-SB

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