If you’re looking for a relatable show to stream, take a cue from your Myers-Briggs personality type.
I became an author because I’ve always loved stories. Stories provide “emotional exercise,” says acclaimed fantasy author David Farland, to simulate experiencing challenges that can make us more resilient. According to pioneer psychologist Carl Jung, they help us reconcile the different parts of our minds into a harmonious, actualized self as we appreciate different aspects of our personality.
Many TV shows are long-form stories in a visual medium. In my experience, we introverts can have a difficult time finding shows that resonate with us, perhaps because society’s values are extrovert-biased. Or maybe just because writing meaningful, entertaining stories is hard for anyone.
While introverts’ TV show interests will differ according to many factors, including age and culture, I believe that personality plays a role, too. For this reason, I’ve put together some TV show recommendations for each introverted personality type, using the Myers-Briggs types based on the work of Carl Jung. Many of these may appeal to introverts of several types, so give one of them a try!
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
TV Show Recommendations for Each Introverted MBTI Type
INTJ: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
Japanese high school junior Kusuo Saiki was born with psychic superpowers: telepathy, telekinesis, levitation, teleportation, clairvoyance, and more. His goal in life? To be left alone to read books, watch TV, and eat fancy coffee jellies.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (on Netflix) takes us through Saiki’s everyday life as he tries to do good yet also avoid unwanted attention. While he’s happy to help his parents with tasks like moving around the furniture with his mind, he grumbles at how dependent they become on him. While he does his best to protect his classmates from disasters, he also has to navigate the complex social dynamics of adolescent life to maintain his anonymity.
Of course, even a psychic can be surprised. For example, when the prettiest girl in school (who’s inwardly kind of a diva) decides to brighten Saiki’s day by saying hi, he tries to ignore her, hoping she’ll go away. Instead, being unobtainable makes him irresistible to her, and she follows him around whenever she can.
Why this show is perfect for INTJs: INTJs are known for noticing problems others miss and wanting to be left alone. Since I identify as an INTJ, I appreciate Saiki’s dry wit, his enjoyment of the inwardly-focused life, and his biting commentary on the absurdity of the extroverted world around him. He’s probably an INTJ himself, albeit a jaded, sarcastic one who always feels like he’s surrounded by intellectual inferiors. His conscience often gets the better of him, though, which is why he finds himself taking on causes that he doesn’t want to get involved with because he believes he’s the most capable one to handle it. Sound familiar, INTJs?
INFJ: The Good Place
Eleanor Shellstrop and Chidi Anagonye both die on the same day and find themselves in “The Good Place,” an afterlife for people who did good deeds. While Chidi can justify being here — he’s an introverted moral philosopher who always strives to do his moral duty — Eleanor looks back on her life and sees only petty cruelty and stupidity. How did she end up here? She wants to stay, but realizes she’ll need to learn from Chidi to become a better person before anyone finds out she’s in the wrong place. And, of course, there’s a lot he can learn from her, too.
The Good Place (which you can catch on Netflix) asks us not only what it means to be good, but what it means to be human. And it introduces us to lovable characters and interesting philosophical arguments in the process. Chidi, in particular, shows an excellent example of a character with characteristic introverted strengths and weaknesses. He reflects deeply on his actions and wants to do what is right, but this also makes him terribly indecisive as he tries to turn good intentions into good actions.
Why this show is perfect for INFJs: INFJs are known for their interest in understanding people and relationships. I believe that INFJs will appreciate this show because it shows how people with opposite personalities can grow and influence each other to become better. It explores questions of moral philosophy in an insightful way, and often through the medium of relationships. As introverts, it also encourages us to appreciate our strengths and recognize that extroverts have a lot to teach us, too.
INTP: The IT Crowd
When desperate applicant Jen Barber gets an IT job in mid-2000s Britain by pretending she knows about computers, she finds herself as “relationship manager” for a quirky department of lovable nerds. Maurice Moss, a computer genius complete with glasses and hideous ties, and Roy Trenneman, a man who redefines “laziness” as “efficiency,” try to adjust to Jen’s arrival in the dungeon-like basement of the Reynholm Industries office building. The IT Crowd (Netflix) follows these three as they try to navigate the social barriers between the IT crowd and their tech-clueless colleagues.
While the three share lead roles, I consider Moss, an INTP with a quirky sense of humor, the star of the show. For introverts in particular, Moss’s experience is often comically analogous to our reality. From reporting an office fire over email to telling Roy that the internet said he would die from a heart attack on Thursday, Moss radiates both technical savvy and social awkwardness. Have you ever taken your friends’ statements literally and only later found out that they were using an idiom? Do you find yourself talking about personal details in public places without realizing strangers are listening? Or pointing out when someone gets technical details wrong and being surprised at how upset they get? If so, you’ll really sympathize with Moss.
Why this show is perfect for INTPs: INTPs are known for precise thinking and a quirky sense of humor. I think INTPs would enjoy the inside jokes for tech nerds in The IT Crowd, as well as seeing Moss amusingly try to manage social challenges that many of us as introverts have probably dealt with ourselves.
INFP: The Office (U.S. version)
The Scranton Branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company may be (mis)managed by the blundering, gregarious Michael Scott, but an ensemble cast of diverse coworkers brings many degrees of depth to this long-running 2000s/10s sitcom, the U.S. version of The Office (now on Peacock). There’s introverted, placating Pam Beesley, who tries to keep Michael’s childish antics from derailing the office. There’s lovable prankster Jim Halpert, who charms Pam with warmth and humor while they play jokes on overly gung-ho salesman Dwight Schrute. Not to mention always-sad Toby in human resources, never-pleased Angela in accounting, and usually-drunk Meredith in… whatever it is Meredith does.
Why this show is perfect for INFPs: INFPs are known for appreciating the unique qualities in everyone. For INFPs, the quirky, genuine characters in a story make the biggest difference, and The Office develops its characters and their relationships over nine seasons. I think INFPs would appreciate the endearing office romance that blossoms between Pam and Jim as they turn the mundane into the magical. They’d also appreciate how the series features characters who aren’t the prettiest, the suavest, or the most conventional — just ordinary people living unique lives with their own personal cares and challenges. The mockumentary style of the show also lets us introverts in on the characters’ inner thoughts in the midst of social situations, providing further depth so we can appreciate them in all their complexity.
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ISTJ: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise “boldly go” into the reaches of space to solve mysteries, negotiate treaties, and fight space battles in this science fiction series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (which you can see on Hulu). What sets this Star Trek series of the 1980s/90s apart from later science fiction is its optimism and its focus on law, procedure, and diplomacy to make the universe a better place.
In contrast to many shows about the future, The Next Generation presents an intergalactic organization, the Federation, which is not hopelessly corrupt, constantly at war, or secretly performing inhumane experiments. Instead, it is an epicenter of peace, prosperity, and good will, and its members and leaders seek to spread order and civility to diverse planets and peoples.
Why this show is perfect for ISTJs: ISTJs are known for their appreciation of history and seeing systems and organizations work as they should. I’ve never met an ISTJ who didn’t like The Next Generation. It appeals to those who love technology with its ambitious vision of a technological utopia. It also appeals to those who appreciate order, process, and diplomacy by showing people of intelligence and integrity creating institutions and forging bonds of friendship between peoples rather than seeing politics as a mere vehicle for coercion. I think that introverts can go back to The Next Generation for deep, thoughtful conversations about artificial intelligence, freedom, responsibility, and autarky that transcend its 1980s origins.
ISFJ: Downton Abbey
In Downton Abbey (available on Amazon Prime), the year is 1912, and the Crawley family of Downton Abbey lives at the peak of the British Empire’s power. But change is coming, from the sinking of the Titanic to World War I, and from new fashions to revolutionary ideas. The family members of Lord and Lady Robert and Cora Crawley each have their own story to tell, as well as the servants living and serving in their grand manor. His daughters, Mary, Edith, and Sybil Crawley, want to secure their futures in an uncertain world, while his heir, Matthew Crawley, wants to make sense of life as a nobleman. Meanwhile, his valet, John Bates, wants a second chance at life after leaving prison, while maid Anna Smith wants to protect him from the bullying of the other servants. Young footman William Mason just wants to get up the courage to talk to Daisy Robinson, the kitchen girl. Each character’s story interweaves with the rest in an intricate tapestry of romance, intrigue, and family drama.
Why this show is perfect for ISFJs: ISFJs are known for their appreciation of people, feelings, and history. I believe that ISFJs would appreciate the historical setting, the elegant architecture, the deep and sympathetic characters, and the focus on relationships. While there may be too much drama for some, as tragedies strike and characters don’t live up to their ideals, love and honor are always the guiding principles.
ISTP: Shark Tank
On Shark Tank (available on Hulu), one at a time, daring entrepreneurs have a chance to get their product or service in front of five wealthy investors. Sometimes they succeed, other times they fail, and other times they succeed so well that the investors — the “sharks” — have to fight over who gets to invest in them.
Why this show is perfect for ISTPs: ISTPs are known for their ingenuity and independence. Shark Tank is a reality TV show at the intersection of innovative ideas and the real-life, high-stakes process of finding patronage. ISTPs like to come up with innovative ideas, especially when it comes to products or tools that can solve problems in novel ways. For this reason, I think they would be interested in seeing the entrepreneurs’ ideas on Shark Tank, as well as seeing experienced investors consider the potential for what these ideas can accomplish. And for ISTPs who want to be their own boss or make their own business niche someday, the show can give an interesting perspective on what makes a successful business pitch and how to create a business — for instance, which ideas have a unique market niche and which ones can be easily replicated by someone else.
ISFP: The Great British Baking Show
Each season on The Great British Baking Show (which you can see on Amazon Prime), a selective group of amateur bakers gathers in England to test their skills at baking. Each week, they create a pre-planned signature bake, complete a spontaneous technical baking challenge, and make a predetermined showstopper. And each week, one of them goes home as the challenges become more difficult.
Why this show is perfect for ISFPs: ISFPs are known for caring about people and a love of artistic pursuits. While The Great British Baking Show may sound like many reality TV shows out there, I think ISFPs and any introvert could appreciate it. First, while there is competition involved, the contestants always seem to exhibit the best of sportsmanship and good feelings. There’s a sense of camaraderie and mutual support that prevails. No one wants anyone else to lose, only to do their best and have no regrets. Second, the show gradually introduces us to the contestants and their lives beyond the show, and also gives them a chance to express who they are through their bakes.
For ISFPs with an interest in baking, this would be an excellent choice. Even if you don’t bake yourself, you might appreciate seeing a group of positive people take on new challenges with aplomb. The judges might sometimes be tough, but their feedback is always meant to help the bakers improve. Even after someone is eliminated, they often say they can look back and smile at the experiences they’ve had and the growth they’ve achieved, an attitude that warm-hearted ISFPs can understand and appreciate.
If you want to learn more about introversion, Jungian types, and how the mind works, subscribe to my podcast Introvert University, available on Apple, Google, Spotify, and more.
You might like:
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