TV

The Best Political TV Shows


From the White House to Parliament and beyond, here are the best TV shows that deal with the halls of power in politics.

Keri Russell in The Diplomat, Peter Capaldi in The Thick of It, and Kerry Washington in Scandal
Photo: Netflix | BBC | ABC Studios

Politics shouldn’t be the least bit entertaining. In a perfect democratic political system, very serious people dress up in formal wear, gather in Greco-Roman style buildings, and sincerely debate the issues of the day, coming to a perfect compromise with well-reasoned legislations. It’s all very dry. Unfortunately for our society, that’s obviously not the world we live in. Fortunately for our televised bemusement, however, it is.

No medium is better suited to take advantage of political dysfunction than television. Episodic dramas play with the exquisite tension produced by flawed institutions while comedies just have a blast laughing at the circus. Even the most idealistic political TV series like The West Wing implicitly understand that there’s something pulpy and fun about a group of seemingly well-educated professionals trying to confront the impossible contradictions of running a free society.

What follows is a list of our favorite political TV shows ever – whether the action is set in the U.S. Capitol, 10 Downing Street, or even the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea.

Chief of Staff

Available on: Netflix (U.S. and U.K.)

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