TV Shows To Watch in a Tumultuous Political Climate

In the wake of the election, and as we wait in limbo for a transfer of power, I’m reminded of all the shows that have made politics enjoyable for me over the years. While there are many political TV shows, there are a few that actually made me feel more connected to politics and gave me a better understanding of how the government may function. Personally, politics, and the government in general has always felt very daunting to me. Since I am a visual learner, TV shows were the way in! After watching some of these shows, many big, real-life concepts make a lot more sense to me and are easier to approach and digest. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. 1. Veep (2012 - 2019)

    In my opinion, Veep should be a mandatory watch! The Vice Presidency is often overlooked in terms of explaining daily responsibilities to the public. And although an HBO TV show definitely takes a lot of liberties going to all sorts of extremes for entertainment purposes, it really hits the nail right on the head. Led by comedy legend Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the absurdities that ensue really aren't so fictional anymore. No spoilers here, but if you watch the show, or rewatch it, some events may seem very familiar to those from this past week! Watch on Hulu or HBOMax.

  2. 2. The West Wing (1999 - 2006)

    The West Wing was probably one of the shows your parents watched and love any chance to tell you, “Oh, he/she was in West Wing once upon a time.” Other than being a conversation topic, the show feels very much like the presidential equivalent to Veep, although more dramatic than comedic. The fictional president and his staffers try to navigate scandals and other threats, personal lives all while trying to do what is best for the country! Watch on Netflix.

  3. 3. Parks and Recreation (2009 - 2015)

    With an insanely hilarious cast and special guests to last a lifetime, this sitcom is a true gem. It provides a great look at how local government departments operate both independently and together. As someone who has actually worked in the Parks and Rec department of my local government, there are many similarities. While the city rivalry aspect isn't something I can relate to, the daily workings and the seemingly silly problems that come up are very plausible! Watch on Peacock.

  4. 4. The Politician (2019 - )

    More of a cut-throat local government vibe, The Politician gives us the best of Ryan Murphy in a shiny Santa Barbara/NYC wrapped box. Everything from the clothes, the character development, the cameos and the humor of it all makes this very bingeable! If you weren’t, aren’t, or never knew a political-minded kid, this is a great show for you. For some people, politics have interested them their entire lives, enter the main character Payton Hobart, played by Ben Platt. The young, diverse cast plays this twisted and dramatic storyline with great comedic timing, making it such a great watch! Watch on Netflix.

  5. 5. The Newsroom (2012 - 2014)

    From Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, comes an ensemble cast of greats in The Newsroom. Although it is not so much about politics, it shows how the behind the scenes of how the news and politics are reported. News plays a major role in the mass public consumption of information, which is apparent now more than ever. The show is witty and fast-paced, but doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve missed something. Look into the world of broadcast journalism and how being unbiased when delivering news is a constant struggle. The personal and work-life balance is also shown as the anchors juggle the decision to either be the best-rated station or the one with the best journalistic integrity. Wacth on HBOMax.

  6. 6. Homeland (2011 - 2020)

    The inner workings of National Security is also never really a daily concern for citizens. Homeland is described as a thriller and definitely has a more serious nature to it as it shows tense domestic and international security situations. With Claire Danes playing a CIA agent, the show is intelligent and walks you through tense experiences that regular citizens would rarely see. Watch on Hulu.

  7. 7. Scandal (2012 - 2018)

    While on an extreme, Scandal really emphasizes the frantic nature of life in D.C. With leading lady Kerry Washington at the helm of a crisis management firm, she and her team try to put out fires all day, every day. The high stakes and drama really drive home the sense that everything is not what it seems and most people don’t have their lives all figured out. If you like tense situations, long personal life storylines, and all the drama, Scandal is for you! Watch on Hulu.

I hope you check some of these shows out!