Portrayal of the Genius on Television

A great number of shows now include characters who are considered a legitimate "genius" within the context of their own canon. Big Bang Theory plays the trope for laughs, but most shows with geniuses are (crime) dramas. Frequently, too, the genius in question is a child prodigy (or as in the case of NUMB3RS, had been a prodigy) and often the genius has a wide range of specialties across multiple fields of study, and in some cases, possesses multiple, unrelated PhDs.

I’d love to see an analysis of the trope from the standpoint of how realistic the portrayals are, esp. w/regards to the socialization issues these characters so often have. Also, if the analysis could be done in loose chronological appearance, I’d be interested in seeing if there’s been a sort of "grade inflation" with these characters — have they gotten younger and broader in ability in an effort for each canon’s "genius" to out-genius other characters in a given genre?

Suggested shows: Big Bang Theory, NUMB3RS, Scorpion, Bones, Stargate, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Sherlock (possibly over-used), House…

  • An interesting side-note is that the main "genius" of Scorpion is a real person--although a lot of articles have been written questioning his claims of genius and accomplishments. – bookworm2g9 9 years ago
  • I see you listed Bones as a possible show to analyze. As a viewer of the show it is interesting to see how often people who are portrayed as "Geniuses" in TV shows are oblivious to things like pop culture. I would question if being so far removed from culture is actually possible nowadays due to internet etc.? – sukritab 9 years ago

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