#USVotes16: The 9 best US political shows to prepare you for the election

on October 7, 2016

As the US election closes nearer, we’re building up to the night with new articles every day looking at different aspects of the US election.

Much like last years, 10 politically themed musical numbers to keep you going through election day that we produced, we are doing the same for the US. Except, this time we’re looking at television.

So what are the 9 best TV shows that you can watch today in order to get ready for the election. We’ve listed them below along with their official plot outline.

Oh and if you start now, you can get through all of them by the election, I’ve worked out that it would take 18 days, 1 hour and 38 minutes to get through our list.

Do you agree? Let us know on twitter @Bhameastside with the hashtag #USVotes16 #USPolShows.


1: The West Wing

When Democrat Josiah “Jed” Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is elected U.S. president, he installs his administration. Joining him through the series is: the Chief of Staff (Leo McGarry), his deputy (Josh Lyman), Communications Director (Toby Ziegler), deputy (Sam Seaborn, and later, Will Bailey), and press secretary (CJ Cregg).

We follow these people through many political battles, as well as some personal ones. The series, which supposedly follows the political events (often paraphrasing historical reality) almost day by day, more than merely a political soap. The demands of office on each character show the personal sacrifice and the forced compromise of ideals and principles for tactical necessity and allows some insights into many aspects of U.S. society and international politics.


2: House Of Cards (Netflix)

Democratic Majority House Whip (Then Vice President and currently President) Francis Underwood takes you on a long journey as he exacts his vengeance on those he feels wronged him – that is, his own cabinet members including the President of the United States himself. Dashing, cunning, methodical and vicious, Frank Underwood along with his equally manipulative yet ambiguous wife, Claire take Washington by storm through climbing the hierarchical ladder to power in this Americanized recreation of the BBC series of the same name.


3: VEEP

Former Senator Selina Meyer has accepted the call to serve as Vice President of the United States. The job is nothing like she imagined and everything she was warned about. ‘Veep’ follows Meyer and her staff as they attempt to make their mark and leave a lasting legacy, without getting tripped up in the day-to-day political games that define Washington.


4: Madam Secretary 

A political drama which looks into the life of the Secretary of State as she tries to balance work with family.

Having left her job as a CIA analyst for ethical reasons, newly appointed Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord returns to public life at the request of the president, after the suspicious death of her predecessor. Valued by her boss for her apolitical leanings, knowledge of the Middle East, language skills and creative thinking, Elizabeth drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol, while negotiating national and international issues. At home, politics and compromise take on new meaning with her supportive husband and two bright kids.


5: Designated Survivor 

As a lower-level cabinet member, Tom Kirkman never imagined something would happen that would catapult him to the oval office. When a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address claims the lives of the president and most of the Cabinet, the Housing and Urban Development secretary — who was named the designated survivor in case of such an event — finds himself promoted to leader of the free world. Suddenly thrust into his new position of power, Kirkman struggles to keep the country from dissolving into chaos and must adjust to his new normal, unaware of what fresh horrors may await the United States.


6: 24

Counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer fights the bad guys of the world, a day at a time. With each week’s episode unfolding in real time, “24” covers a single day in the life of Bauer each season. Jack deals with assassination attempts, nuclear attacks, bioterrorism, torture, traitors, sleeper cells, other bad guys and the alarming tendency for his romances to end badly — very badly.


7: Commander In Chief 

Mackenzie Allen has a lot on her plate — she has twin teenagers and a 6-year-old at home and an ambitious husband at the office, and she is about to become the first female president of the United States. Before that happens, however, Mackenzie, who serves as vice president, has to decide whether or not to go against the dying wishes of the current president, who has asked her to step down and let someone “more appropriate” fill his shoes in the Oval Office. Not only does the president want her to resign, so does the entire party that elected her in the first place. But when the moment of truth arrives, Mackenzie isn’t willing to be a mere footnote in history. Instead of allowing her detractors to keep her down, she decides to trust her instincts and accept the most powerful job in the world.


8: Homeland (S1-S3)

When Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody returns home following eight years in captivity, CIA agent Carrie Mathison thinks he has turned and is connected to a terror plot to be carried out on American soil, and she engages him in a dangerous game of cat and mouse that puts America’s national security at risk. Later on, Carrie gets a promotion and returns to the front lines overseas. She is assigned to one of the CIA’s most volatile and dangerous stations in the Middle East, where she is in the heart of battle in the war on terror. Years later, after being disillusioned and placing herself in a self-imposed exile in Berlin, Carrie becomes estranged from the CIA.

NB: We’ve stopped after season 3 because the show takes a different approach.


9: Alpha House

When their house mate is hauled off to prison, three Republican senators sharing a row house in Washington, D.C., find themselves in need of a new boarder. Enter Florida freshman Andy Guzman, who joins the guys as they battle primary challenges, party filibusters and the possibility of a junket to Afghanistan. Gil John Biggs suddenly finds himself facing a real opponent in a primary, which means he may actually have to do something — like go to Kabul, where a group of soldiers from his North Carolina district has just been deployed. Louis Laffer is facing a challenge of his own, but his opponent is questioning Louis’ manhood while playing up his own rugged outdoorsman persona in Nevada. Robert Bettancourt, the gentleman from Pennsylvania, suddenly finds he’s about to be indicted. Meanwhile Andy brings a gorgeous “contributor” to check out his new bedroom. 


Award-winning journalist based in Birmingham UK. Data Editor @ Birmingham Eastside and owner of @UKbynumbers. Contact me: @Loftysandro or data@birminghameastside.com

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: #USVotes16: 10 YouTube songs to listen to before the election – Birmingham Eastside

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