TV Shows for Testing

I love tv. Perhaps too much. But I don’t sweat my addiction too much because most of the shows I like have a testing component to them.

Notice that your favorite shows, movies, books all have an important element that you’ll see in testing.


The difference between “desired” and “actual” is called a problem (It’s also called a bug.)

There are many defintions of testing, but my favorite is the discovery of problems as you assess capabilities.

Here’s my list of shows and movies that focus on the juxtaposition of problems and capabilities:

  1. Iron Chef — Food Network — chefs have one hour to cook 5 dishes for a panel of judges. A secret ingredient is revealed at the beginning of the show that the chef must use in all of the dishes — all the while competing with another chef.
  2. Mythbusters — Discovery — Two special effects guys with an extensive array of tools and props, set out to confirm or refute several urban legends.
  3. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares — BBC America — a notoriusly irascible chef serves as a consultant to see if he can turn around England’s failing restuarants.
  4. Survivorman — Discovery — a guy drops himself into remote places like wilderness, desert, and snow pack armed only with a camera and a leatherman tool and the clothes on his back. His mission is to get himself out of danger, filming his journey.
  5. America’s Test Kitchen — PBS — culinary experts try out different tools, gadgets, and recipes, sometimes head-to-head.

Movies I can watch over and over again for their testing parallels:

  1. Apollo 13 — astronauts trapped in a failing capsule with only a few days to live.
  2. Super Size Me — a healthy man eats nothing but food listed on McDonald’s menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 30 days. What happens to him?
  3. The Matrix — Life is a nothing but a computer simulation — what bugs have you seen in the program?
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