Post-election blues: TV shows for the politically-minded

| Senior Cadenza Editor

As we stand in the post-election glow of the 2020 presidential race, which ended the constant barrage of debates, post-debate commentary and a five-day election, it can feel like there’s something missing. There’s nothing to watch now to fill that political void left by a Democratic win. With all the drama surrounding this election season, it’s easy to understand why you might be missing the late nights of political intrigue and secrecy.

The best way to get over the post-election blues is to watch something with the same amount of political intrigue, backstabbing and diplomacy as the 2020 election. Here are a few options, some new and some old, for you to get your fix.

Parks and Rec

This doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria of “political intrigue, backstabbing and diplomacy” that I laid out, but it is one of the best political television shows to come out of the past decade. There’s nothing funnier or more wholesome than watching everyone’s favorite waffle-loving local government administrator rise up through the political ranks. Plus, what better way to celebrate having the first female vice president than by watching a fictional political female warrior give it her all every day as part of the Pawnee Parks Department? 

Mrs. America

Feminism and television collide in this Hulu miniseries. Released earlier this year,

“Mrs. America” dramatizes the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the backlash from Phyllis Schlafly. Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies students with a mind for activism will love this. If you’re not a WGSS student and want to learn more about the political landscape of the 1970s, or even if you don’t care about that time and just want a new show to watch, watch “Mrs. America.” With a star-studded cast (Cate Blanchett, Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks and Sarah Paulson) playing some of the key figures in the fight for the ERA, you cannot go wrong with this show.

The Crown

If you’re tired of watching shows about the American political system, then maybe you should head across the pond and check out “The Crown.” This Netflix show follows the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the current Queen of England, and the Royal Family. Starting with the death of her father, King Henry IV, and progressing through the years, we bear witness to the scandals and developments of life in Buckingham Palace. While not inherently a politician and more of a representative figurehead, the Queen has still left her mark on diplomacy, and that counts.

Scandal

The second series on the list to be classified as a show to rewatch, “Scandal” is one of the most engaging and politically-minded shows I’ve ever seen. I have always wanted to be as much of a powerhouse as Olivia Pope, so of course it makes this list. My love for the show aside, this Shondaland marvel is the perfect example of political intrigue and secrecy—Olivia Pope’s entire job is to fix scandals and make them disappear, all while having an affair with the most powerful person in the free world. How could you not want to watch this again, or for those of you who haven’t seen it, for the first time? 

The Handmaid’s Tale

A show about a totalitarian quasi-American society? Sign me up! Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is one of Hulu’s best shows, and it’s coming back in 2021 for a fourth season. What better time than now to start at season one to get ready? Relive every daring moment as Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is forced into sexual servitude to serve a government and assist with the repopulation of the world while she looks for her missing daughter.

The Politician

Netflix show “The Politician” stars Broadway and movie star Ben Platt as Payton Hobart. Platt’s character is as ambitious as he is funny; he dreams of being the President of the United States, and the first step to winning the presidential election is to winning the coveted position of student body president. This show takes all the drama of a national race and puts it in a high school. Season two, however, takes on an even bigger race for Hobart, but you’ll have to watch the show to find out.

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