What’s better than going through the struggle of starting up your own company? Watching others try to create their own startup dreams in a fictional (or non-fictional) setting. Over the past few years, we’ve seen some fun startup TV shows, including some that blew us away with their originality.
But which ones are the best?
We did a little bit of research and came up with a list of definitive startup TV shows that you shouldn’t miss. Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas or just a few laughs to get you through your day, you should add these four to your playlist.
1. Shark Tank: Startup TV Done Right
Originally started in 2009 on ABC, Shark Tank is the ultimate show about the introduction of creative ideas.
It also shows the entrepreneurial side of investment, thanks to key people that offer money to take part. You’ll see deals made, dreams crushed (or rejuvenated), and a few surprises delivered.
The show has been on for 13 seasons now and shows no signs of slowing down. This startup TV show features a number of investment experts, including Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Kevin Harrington, and others.
Each week, would-be inventors present their ideas for investment dollars. They’re either shut down or given an interesting deal to make it happen.
Part of the show’s magic lies in the negotiation. This isn’t just a “Yes, please” or “No, thanks” show. Sometimes, questions are asked, offers are made, and it’s just so wild to watch. In the end, you might be surprised what gets the green light. We’re still waiting on those edible sandals…
2. Silicon Valley: Great Startup Comedy
Don’t be fooled, this classic HBO comedy series isn’t like the actual Silicon Valley. Instead, it’s about the laughs, thanks to producers like Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead).
The series stars Thomas Middleditch as an up-and-comer in the business world. He starts a new company called Pied Piper, which he runs with the help of a team. Along the way, he learns the ins and outs of the business world, thanks to his interactions with his quirky crew.
This is startup TV at its best — and funniest. That’s thanks to an epic cast that includes Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, and others, all playing to their peak performance.
The show was a huge hit across six seasons before its series finale came out back in December 2019. Still, all the episodes are fairly easy to find on-demand these days.
It’s worth revisiting, especially if you ever wanted to learn anything about operating a business. It’s not entirely in-depth, but it’s great fun all the same. And there’s a reason it won five consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series.
3. Halt and Catch Fire: A Startup Blast From the Past
While Halt and Catch Fire isn’t a show about modern technology, it’s certainly a “blast from the past.” Taking place in the years between 1983 and 1995, the show follows many up-and-comers in the home computer market.
Even if it’s not the most advanced of startup TV shows, Halt and Catch Fire is wildly entertaining. Its tone really captures the hectic nature of business, and the cast is dynamite. It features Lee Pace heading up a crew alongside Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, and others.
It has outstanding writing as well, and provides a learning experience, even with its dated premise.
The show lasted four seasons and 50 episodes. They’re all available to watch on AMC, as well as through various on-demand services. It’s well worth a look, especially if you’re all about learning from the days of the old school.
4. The IT Crowd: Hilarious Startup TV Fun
If you’re a fan of British comedy, this startup TV show is for you. Originally introduced in 2006, The IT Crowd is still a fun watch, following a group of IT workers for an up-and-coming corporation.
The show features a number of notable stars, including Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry, and Noel Fielding. It also has a great supporting cast and a wild amount of laughs. Even after all these years since it went off the air, the show remains surprisingly fresh. (Not to mention entertaining.)
The show lasted across four “series,” or seasons, all of which are pretty easy to find. There’s also a special episode that came out in 2013 that’s worth a look.
No matter where you start, however, you’ll find joy in learning everything you can about Reynholm Industries. Plus, it’s worth watching for Ayoade’s reactions alone. There’s a reason he’s one of the hottest actors in Hollywood right now.
(Not that we would sell Matt Berry short for his amazing work in the What We Do In The Shadows TV series…)
There’s a lot more to explore as well, including Mad Men and even a few twisted Black Mirror episodes. Take a look around and see what startup TV is right for you. Make sure to make some popcorn and keep a notepad handy as well. (Just don’t get butter all over your notes!)
Image Credit: Shark Tank; ABC.com.