Our selection of films & TV shows portray a little bit of everything; they show what it’s like to work in IT, how IT can be used for good, how IT can be used for bad, & the endless possibilities of tech. Films such as these give us a glimpse into the future—what will the world be like in 50 years?
If you’re a bit of an IT nerd then you probably enjoy films about cool tech, even if sometimes it’s outside the realm of possibility. Although let’s be honest, you don’t have to be an IT nerd to enjoy such films. They’re awesome! Not to mention, if you work in IT, you’re probably known to your friends as someone who likes to pick apart the feasibility of crazy, futuristic technology and plot lines. Well, we’ve got some films for you to pick away at, and some TV shows too.
IT films come in many genres, from science fiction to comedy, horror or drama. There is something for everyone. Our selection of films and TV shows portray a little bit of everything; they show what it’s like to work in IT (well, kind of), how IT can be used for good, how IT can be used for bad, and the endless possibilities of technology. Films such as these give us a glimpse into the future—what will the world be like in 50 years? We’re hoping, for humanity’s sake, definitely not like Elysium (see below).
So, sit back, relax, and grab some snacks. Read through our list to get yourself sorted for your next movie night (or next few movie nights perhaps).
It wouldn’t be a ‘Best IT TV Shows and Films’ list without The IT Crowd. The IT Crowd is a British sitcom set in the dingy basement office of the fictitious company, Reynholm Industries. The plotline revolves around the three original IT nerds, Maurice Moss (the self-unaware genius), Roy Trenneman (the whiny nerd), and Jen Barber (the department head who knows absolutely nothing about IT). Each episode revolves around the three as they get involved in office shenanigans. The show begins with Jen (Katherine Parkinson) being recruited after claiming in her CV that she has “a lot of experience with computers” and bluffing through her interview with Denholm (Chris Morris), the company boss, who appoints her as the new head of the IT department. She meets Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade), the two IT technicians, who are both socially inept in their own way. Roy, who wears a different TV shirt every day, is daggy, desperate for female interaction, and very lazy. In one episode, Roy attempts to avoid answering phone calls by playing tape recordings of IT suggestions such as “have you tried turning it off and on again?”. Moss, on the other hand, is the highly knowledgeable nerd who struggles with talking to others and instead often cites random pieces of information about himself or technology. The show undoubtedly has reached an iconic status amongst fans, with many compilations of funniest moments on YouTube. Want to watch the whole thing? Well, thankfully The IT Crowd is currently on Netflix and Stan for viewers to chuckle their way through.
Scorpion is an organisation made up of a genius, a mathematician, a psychologist and an engineer. The group is America’s last defence against complex, high-tech threats around the globe. Although they are usually called in by the Department of Homeland Security, the team also accept jobs from private individuals and organisations, making them a highly sought after, versatile group. To lead the group and help them navigate the real world, Paige Dineen (Katherine McPhee) is assigned as their office manager. In turn, the team also helps her understand her genius son, who helps cases in his own way. Each episode revolves around extreme and dangerous situations they have to de-escalate; mysteries include locating convicts that have escaped from a high-tech security prison, or a Navy SEALS jet with a classified cloaking radar device that has gone over foreign soil, or even preventing a nuclear attack. Using Walter’s (Elyes Gabel) intelligence, Happy’s (Jadyn Wong) skills with machines, Toby’s (Eddie Kaye Thomas) skill with “reading” people, and Sylvestor’s (Ari Stidham) gift with statistics, the team work together to save lives. As many cases revolve around the highly skilled use of IT to hack into systems and manipulate machines and devices, this will have every self-proclaimed IT nerd thinking, “There’s no way they can do that… right?”. Unfortunately, Scorpion didn’t get renewed for a fifth season, despite the success of the final seasons. Though it’s no longer being produced, that doesn’t mean you still can’t geek out on this show. If you’re a Stan subscriber, Scorpion is available to stream.
Black Mirror is an anthology series where each episode revolves around the dark side of technology. With a completely new setting, a cast of characters, and plot for each episode, you can start with any ep of any season. As most fans of the show will agree, one of the most appealing and addictive aspects of the show are the twist endings that leave a big message or question with the audience. From horror video games that seem too real for comfort to brain implants that let you record every second of your life, to social media rankings being used to inform your finances, Black Mirror extrapolates every imaginable consequence of technology. But with some of these technologies, they don’t have to think too hard. Social ranking isn’t that much of a stretch of the imagination, especially for Chinese citizens. China’s social credit system monitors its citizens to reward good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour, much like the system in Black Mirror’s episode ‘Nosedive’. This undoubtedly makes the show feel even more relevant to our lives as citizens. Could this be something Australia’s heading for? Well, there are currently plans for a greater surveillance system, much like China’s, to develop in Darwin. What’s next, robot bees that kill people? (Yes, that’s an episode) Don’t watch if you’re not prepared to be incredibly suspicious of your phone for a while. Black Mirror is available on Netflix.
An IT movie wouldn’t be an IT movie without a quintessential, fictitious genius; however, in this case, the genius is very much real. He is Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire nerd who brought us Facebook. But have you ever wondered how he did it? If you answered yes, then The Social Network takes you through a reasonably accurate, though slightly dramatised, recount. In The Social Network we watch Mark (Jesse Eisenberg), an arrogant but highly intelligent Harvard student, develop The Facebook (yes, that’s what he called it at first), a social networking website with the help of his (now-former) friend and (now-former) business partner, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Unfortunately for Zuckerberg, and basically everyone involved, the growth of Facebook becomes a complex and messy situation as a lawsuit ensues with disgruntled Harvard twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer). The twins claim that Zuckerberg stole their idea as they enlisted him to help with a dating site exclusively designed for the Harvard elite, and Zuckerberg created Facebook right after a meeting to discuss the project. But the Winklevoss twins aren’t the only ones upset with Zuckerberg. Eduardo is slowly pushed away as he’s left out of key decisions regarding Facebook’s future progression. The film slogan is “You can’t make 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” and without a doubt, it encapsulates Zuckerberg’s early life. You can currently stream this film from YouTube for a small fee of A$3.99.
Much like The IT Crowd is a cult classic TV show for IT nerds, The Matrix is practically its film equivalent, except, of course, The Matrix is a lot darker and creepier. The Matrix follows the story of Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), who goes by his hacker alias, Neo, as he battles against the Matrix. So, what is the Matrix? As Morphias (Laurence Fishburne) explains, “The matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now in this very room… It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. You are a slave born into a prison for your mind.” To elaborate slightly, the matrix is the simulated world humans are “plugged into” to distract them from the fact that machines are using their bodies as an energy source. In fact, these machines have completely taken over the Earth—the only human city that remains is called “Zion” and the machines are trying to destroy it. Upon being ejected from the Matrix, Neo’s rescue team made up of others who “woke up” and Zion citizens, come to believe that Neo is “The One”. So, what does being “The One” entail? Well, no pressure to Neo but he’s got the formidable task of defeating all of the agents (sentient beings within the matrix), which has never been done before. Can he do it? You’ll just have to watch to find out! Netflix users, you’ve got this one patiently waiting for you in the archives.
Much like Neill Blomkamp’s other masterpieces, Elysium is a fast-paced, non-stop, dirty, violence-filled action flick, and of course, it’s about the future. If you’ve seen Blomkamp’s other works—Chappie (2015) and District 9 (2009)—then you know to expect humour, despair, excitement, and lots of guns. Elysium follows the dreamy Matt Damon, or rather his character Max, as he works for the assembly line of Armadyne, a weapons company. The factory that employs Max is located on Earth, which has become a slum. Whilst a population of impoverished citizens live on Earth with inadequate access to medical care, the rich and powerful live on Elysium, a thriving space habitat floating in Earth’s gravitational orbit. Elysium not only contains basic human necessities, but it also contains critical medical tech, such as the Med-Bay, a pod capable of detecting and curing any disease or injury, reversing the aging process, and even regenerating body parts. Of course, this machine is only accessible to the citizens of Elysium and this angers the citizens of Earth who make constant attempts to invade the space ship. I mean, who wouldn’t be a little ticked off? After Max is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation in a factory accident, he resolves to smuggle himself onto Elysium where he can use a Med-Bay to reverse his death sentence. His plan, however, is complicated by politics and problematic military agents. You can currently watch Elysium on Netflix!
So, there we have it! Our list of top TV shows and films for all the IT nerds out there. If you think we’ve left out a worthy mention, then leave a comment below! We’d love to hear your favourite IT flick. For now, get your most comfy PJ’s and a bucket of salty, buttery popcorn and settle in for a movie night—don’t worry, it’s all in the name of learning important IT stuff.