It’s hard for a show as big as The Big Bang Theory not to leave a big hole in people’s lives when it comes to an end. Sitcoms like that become part of people’s routines and their relaxation rituals. So, when you find out that you won’t be getting any new episodes any time soon, you can be left scrambling for ways to fill the void when reruns just won’t cut it.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy guide of 10 great comedy movies for you to check out if you need your fix of geek humor, sciencey hijinks, and heartwarming romance.
The British nerd hero double act of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost goes stateside for Greg Mottola’s sci-fi road trip comedy Paul. The titular alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) steers the two meek geeks towards love and self-assuredness through a series of wacky misadventures. All while evading the Men in Black on a journey to get the escaped extraterrestrial back to his people.
The ride makes plenty of pit stops by some of the more niche, and widely beloved, landmarks of the sci-fi genre, which fans of The Big Bang Theory will be sure to enjoy. The movie even nabs a rare Spielberg cameo to really kick things up a notch.
The Three Amigos go to space when the washed-up cast of a canceled, but still devoutly loved, science-fiction TV show get swept up into a real intergalactic war due to a classic case of mistaken identity.
Dean Parisot’s Star Trek spoof is the best gift a Trekkie could hope for from a mainstream comedy movie. It doesn’t rely at all on anyone’s knowledge of Star Trek, yet still perfectly encapsulates what makes the name so important to so many fans.
Please Stand By
A young woman with autism embarks on a road trip to deliver her lovingly detailed Star Trek script to Paramount Pictures before the closing date of a screenwriting contest. Like The Big Bang Theory, it takes a mostly comedic, but often serious, look at the small everyday struggles that people on the spectrum can face in the wake of big changes in their lives. Not to mention the impact that pop culture icons, such as Star Trek, can have on people’s lives and how they can help people get through some of the tougher moments.
It may not always seem overwhelmingly realistic – and it definitely isn’t subtle – but, then again, that was never really what fans found appealing about The Big Bang Theory either.
If a collection of schlubby, sometimes-not-all-that-easy-to-like-but-often-relatable, nerds learning obvious life lessons about love in the most awkward ways possible is your thing – look no further. Kevin Smith’s cult comedy favorite is immature in so many ways but also the most mature film he’s ever made in so many others.
It follows Ben Affleck’s comic book artist as he begins a life-changing relationship but finds himself constantly sabotaged by his own sexual hang-ups and his even more adolescent best friend. It may not always be smart drama or comedy but it always makes up for that with unabashed honesty.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
In terms of a “Nerd Bible”, the next biggest thing after the epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings would be Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comedy adventure The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The core story has been transformed into a number of different forms over the years and finally became a feature film after Adams’ death.
It may not really be the best way to experience the beloved franchise for the first time (each adaptation comes with its own differences), but it will provide a newcomer with an accurate experience of what a nerd love-in is like. You could never fit in with the geeky scientists of The Big Bang Theory if you didn’t know Hitchhiker’s Guide’s classic quotes by heart.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
By far the most lighthearted Star Trek movie to date, as well as possibly still the most comedic, The Voyage Home is essentially the final film in a kind of pseudo-trilogy within the franchise. But don’t let that deter you if it would be your first foray into the world of Trek.
Voyage Home showcases the original core team of Star Trek at their most functional as an ensemble and their most joyful as supergeeks. Leonard Nimoy, who also directed, will no doubt remind Big Bang Theory fans of Jim Parsons’ performance as the enjoyably difficult Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
Happy Death Day 2U
Another time-travel sci-fi comedy sequel where prior knowledge of the overarching story is less essential than you might think. The Happy Death Day movies aren’t renowned for their infallible plotting but for their sense of fun. The stakes are high and the emotion can get real quite often but, deep down, both movies are trying to give the audience a good time.
By all means, see the original movie too if it looks like your thing (it’s more a parody of the horror genre than it is sci-fi like the sequel). But Happy Death Day 2U revels in its own dorkiness in a way that Big Bang Theory fans will know and love.
If you’re looking for sitcom-style comedy wrapped up in the spectacle of Hollywood movie-making then be sure to check out Evolution. The writing is big, broad and a little outdated by movie standards (even for the time) but it’s an effects-driven movie where most of the effects still hold up and the cast is simply phenomenal.
In a lot of ways, it’s a pseudo-sequel, or remake, to director Ivan Reitman’s hit Ghostbusters movies from the 1980s (a group of low-level scientists have to save the world from an unstoppable threat). But the inclusion of X-Files actor David Duchovny really cranks the sci-fi pop culture references into overdrive.
Mel Brooks may not have had as much of a social point as he did with some of his other famous spoof movies when he made Spaceballs, but he had just as many legendary gags. It’s not only one of Brooks’ more accessible movies for a modern audience but also one that’s poised to only grow in cult status with the resurgence of Star Wars. (Not that either one was exactly unknown to begin with.)
Lovers of The Big Bang Theory’s more unabashedly lowbrow moments won’t be able to stop themselves laughing along with Brooks’ uninterrupted barrage of jokes and references.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Really a must-see for fans of modern sitcom hits in general, Safety Not Guaranteed brings together a lot of the best from contemporary TV comedy but with a fun sci-fi angle.
A journalist and two interns investigate a newspaper ad looking for a companion to travel back in time with. As they investigate the ad’s writer and his intentions, an unconventional romance blossoms as his fantastical plans begin to take shape and the lead journalist looks up an old flame who lives in town. A sweet little indie gem from Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow that provides all the fun of blockbuster sci-fi with a much more lowkey feeling for fans of romantic comedies.