Top TV Shows Based on IT

Top 7 TV Shows Based on IT or an Office

It's understandable that some folks who work in an office environment may prefer to keep their work lives separated from their personal lives but this isn't often easy to do. 

If you take sleep out the equation, we probably spend more time with the people we work with than our own friends and family so it's not uncommon to become close to our colleagues. Therefore, the office environment can be more than just a place of work and the world of television often portrays this.

The office workplace can be fun, intense, emotional and life changing and some of our favourite TV shows/programs have perfectly exemplified this. So we decided to take a look at television shows based on the office environment and rank the top shows that we feel captures office life best. Despite there being plenty of shows based in a working environment we’ve narrowed it down to TV shows in a more traditional office with emphasis on IT.

The Thick Of It

7. The Thick of It (2005)

'The Thick of It' is a fly on the wall mockumentary that reveals what goes behind closed doors of the UK Governmental offices. It probably doesn’t depict the kind of working environment you would like to be in what with the profanity laden spin doctor , Malcolm Tucker (who went on to become that other well-known Doctor on television) shouting at the poor folks who cross him but it does a superb job satirising the struggles and conflicts between colleagues, advisors and the media within the public sector.

It would have been higher if it focused more on information technology but with many jobs for the government including security clearance jobs and cyber security roles we think it’s a fitting portrayal of what you might expect working within the public sector. Just don’t make Mr. Tucker angry!

Halt and Catch Fire

6. Halt and Catch Fire (2014)

Some have described this as IT's answer to Mad Men. To some, this might be an obscure entry on the list but it deserves to be included thanks to its well dramatized account of the personal computing boom of the early 1980’s. This AMC series features the renegade trio of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy - who all risk everything to build a computer that could change the future and challenge the current home computer market.

There are many references and inclusions to the leading computer companies around the time such as IBM and Intel and is in impressive in the way that it makes personal computing quite thrilling! The title is in reference to a machine code instruction that causes the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to cease meaningful operation.

Mr. Robot

5. Mr. Robot (2015)

This is another new and potentially obscure entry but we predict that Mr. Robot will become a very popular TV show in the future and it's heading that way already. Mr. Robot follows protagonist, Ellliot Alderson who works at a cyber security company as a security engineer in New York. Due to his crippling anxiety and clinical depression the only way he can connect to people is to hack them to find out all their secrets and use it as a weapon against them if required.

Although not as office based as the other entries on this list, Mr Robot paints an accurate but satirical look at the cyber world of today with references to hacktivist groups, our obsession with social media and large, evil corporations that silently rule over us. The show is billed as a cyber thriller and shows a more realistic approach to hacking, programming and cyber-crime than what Hollywood is used to showing us.  

The Office (US)

4. The Office US (2005)

Before the comparisons begin, we haven’t forgotten about the UK version. The US version of The Office has always been approached with uncertainty due to America’s track record of remaking British programs and not quite living up to the original. However, if you have given HBO’s version of The Office a go, you’ll realise that this isn’t just a remake but a brilliant, well written interpretation of the US working lifestyle. It’s fun, ridiculous but most importantly it has a lot of charm and fantastic chemistry between the workers.

As you begin to watch The US Office you will find similarities with the original including the awkward and unprofessional boss, the colleague who kisses up to the boss and the two colleagues that everyone thinks will get together at some point. The character traits may be similar but what’s different is the personalities and relationships that really makes the US version of the Office its own. It may have had more seasons than the UK version to give more time to relate and know the characters but if you forget about the comparisons, it’s a show that will take you on an entertaining, but very emotional journey.

Silicon Valley

3. Silicon Valley (2014)

This is another new entry that may be new to some but never has a show captured the tech start-up revolution as well as Silicon Valley. The show is about a group of young men who found a start-up company that is making all the bigwigs and influential people of Silicon Valley turn their heads due to it's potential. It focuses mainly on the misadventures of Richard Hendrix, a socially awkward programmer who develops a powerful search algorithm and finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war between his highly eccentric boss and an oddball venture capitalist.

Silicon Valley captures the high-tech gold rush of America perfectly with well satirised jabs at young kids becoming tech-millionaires overnight and the influence of large corperations like Facebook, Google and Apple that reign supreme. These companies are the basis for the fictional company of Hooli, the former workplace of Richard and a fantastic parody of the attitude and ideology of the tech companies of today. It’s a brilliantly written satire, chock full of tech references and jokes that you may or may not get but the drama will at least get you rooting for these underdogs. Silicon Valley isn't just making viewers laugh, but most importantly, it's making the world... a better place.

The Office (UK)

2. The Office UK (2001)

It’s difficult and almost criminal to have a list of top shows based in the office workplace and not mention BBC’s The Office. This show not only captured the atmosphere and environment of the typical British office but it also popularised the workplace mockumentary trend causing a new form of television entertainment. The Office perfectly evaluates the type of people we work with and is an interesting character study that notes the themes of self-importance, personality clashes, frustration and desperation that people go through at work.

The comparison of whether it’s better than the The Office (US) can be debated but without this there wouldn’t be a US version and with this being a UK based website it is likely to be more relatable to the majority of readers to our website. The characters are well-written and the chemistry between everyone is very believable. Ricky Gervais’ portrayal of David Brent is almost tragic in nature but certainly represents the chummy, awkward boss that tries too hard.

The I.T Crowd

1. The IT Crowd (2006)

This probably wasn't much of a surprise to anyone, even the name of the show includes the letters IT! The IT Crowd is one of the most quotable and brilliantly whacky television shows based on an office environment… well more like a dingy basement. The Channel 4 show stars two IT technicians and a technically inept manager who all work in the IT department of Reynolm Industries, a large corporation that we’re not quite sure what it actually does. Instead of the trio doing any actual work they tend to get mixed up in odd shenanigans and embarrassing situations.

Full of fun, silly and geeky humour and relatable approaches to common computer problems (let's be clear here, turning your computer off and on actually will fix most issues), The IT Crowd was a very popular television show with geeks and non-geeks alike.

Honourable Mentions

Here are some honourable mentions for TV programs that were considered but just didn’t make it. This may have been because some were technology or IT related but not necessarily set in an office or reasons vice versa. Either way these are still worth watching.

  • The Peep Show
  • Workaholics
  • Not Safe For Work
  • Parks and Recreation
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Better off Ted
  • Archer
  • Mad Men
  • This Life
  • Suits
  • Phoneshop

Have we missed any? Don't agree with our list? Let us know via Twitter using @TechnojobsUK.

If you have skills in I.T and like the idea of working in an office environment then we have nearly 20,000 jobs live right now to search through and apply. Who knows, your experience working in an office could inspire the next great office sitcom or TV show.