It seems quaint that there was a 1984 movie called "Revenge of the Nerds." Thirty-one years later, it's clear that the nerds have won. They dominate movies and TV with their superhero and sci-fi sagas. They've made Comic-Con the central pop cultural event of the year. They got us all to care about Jedi knights and hobbits and Lannisters. They built the hardware and the software that you're using to read this article.

And they've even made that process entertaining in the HBO comedy series "Silicon Valley," which returned for its second season on April 12. Created by "King of the Hill"'s Mike Judge, the live-action show follows a group of entrepreneurial coders in the cutthroat land of Google as they join the digital gold rush and try to invent the next killer app. In just one season, Richard, Erich, Dinesh, Bertram, and Jared have become some of our favorite nerds on TV.

Of course, TV nerds have come a long way since they first attracted notice 40 years ago on "Happy Days." Back then, a nerd was simply someone who wasn't cool. Now, it's someone whose braininess and obsessiveness (usually about sci-fi or other genre storytelling) give then an intensity that makes them seem socially awkward and uncool. Or used to -- since, as we've seen, nerd is the new cool.

Here, then, are the nerds we've loved on TV over the years, a species whose evolution has made us realize how indispensable they are.