You know, I didn't know what to think when I sat down to watch this show. The hosts being long-time nerd icons was encouraging, but the last show that was supposed to support and celebrate all things Geek and Nerd (that dating show last year) turned out to be more about how awkward and freaky my people are. So I was scared. And it was mostly not warranted.
King of the Nerds is a reality competition show--which is to say, it's not really all that reality-based to begin with, and the fact that they've got gamers, comic book nerds, D&D-types and so on in one building also makes it less reality-based than before. Right off the bat, they go for the typical nerd fear--being last-picked for a team. Two team leaders are allowed to pick who they most want on their teams, and then those two pick the next two for the teams and so on. The picking process was weird--somewhere between getting Gacked at Nickelodeon in the 90s and being slushied on Glee. And then poor, awkward, kind of angry Alanna was left last-picked and therefore not on either team. It looks sad and terrible.
And then they turned the tables and started winning me over: they gave Alanna the power to choose who has the stronger team, and therefore who gets more perks, and they made her immune to elimination this round!
Then, the new teams, freshly declared Mortal Enemies, have to pick a champion and an adviser for an unknown task, which turns out to be chess--classic nerdy past-time as that is--and not just any chess, but giant chess with an overly bright and cute Cat Girl moving the pieces and a leather-clad barbarian beheading the captured pieces. Alanna is the only one who knows chess, and she advises Hendrick, who seems like the most logical and also the least likely to cause drama, and they lose to Jon the Rocker and Virgil the Insecure Hacker, which makes me sad. Hendrick leaves, and everyone wonders what's next.
Overall, it wasn't that bad. They're walking the line between obsessing over how weird nerds can be, and how socially awkward, and celebrating how useful these strange-to-the-non-nerd-populace the skills can be in a situation tailored to them. And there's an awesome Throne of Games that looks an awful lot like the Throne of Swords from Game of Thrones, so that's a perk. If the show can manage to keep waking that line, and get us to care about these people without falling into the trap of picking on them like so many have already had the rest of the world already do, it could be fun. If they can get nerdy icons--My Future Husband Chris Hardwick, say, or actors from nerd-favorite shows, or writers who embrace the nerdiness of their work--it could be amazing. But if they focus just on how annoying people are, or how bad their social skills are, it'll be a disaster.
They get major points for letting girls compete for the 'king' crown, though.
From this first outing, I'm cautiously optimistic. How did you guys feel about it?