A curated list of the best political series in the history of American TV.
Designated Survivor is an American political drama television series created by David Guggenheim, starring Kiefer Sutherland, airing on ABC. The first episode premiered on September 21, 2016, with a full season order coming eight days later.
The series was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2017.
On the night of the State of the Union, an explosion claims the lives of the President and everyone in the presidential line of succession, except for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman, who had been named the designated survivor. Kirkman is immediately sworn in as President, unaware that the attack is just the beginning of what is to come.
House of Cards is an American political drama web television series created by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of the BBC's mini-series of the same name and is based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. The thirteen-episode first season premiered on February 1, 2013, on the streaming serviceNetflix.
Set in 2010s Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina's 5th congressional district and House Majority Whip. After being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, he initiates an elaborate plan to get himself into a position of greater power, aided by his wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). The series deals primarily with themes of ruthless pragmatism,manipulation, and power.
House of Cards has received positive reviews and several award nominations. To date, it has received 33 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor for Spacey, and Outstanding Lead Actress for Wright, for each of its first four seasons. It is the first original online-only web television series to receive major Emmy nominations.The show also earned eight Golden Globe Award nominations, with Wright winning for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2014 and Spacey winning for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 2015.
Madam Secretary is an American political drama television series created by Barbara Hall and executive produced by Lori McCreary and Morgan Freeman. It stars Téa Leoni as Dr. Elizabeth McCord. The series explores Secretary Elizabeth McCord's life as the shrewd, calculating, and determined newly appointed United States Secretary of State. McCord drives international diplomacy, battles office politics, and circumvents and ignores protocol as she negotiates worldwide issues. The show also focuses on the personal lives of the characters. McCord is also a college professor and a former CIA analyst who left the agency for ethical and personal reasons. The President values her apolitical leanings, deep knowledge of the Middle East, flair for languages, and ability to not just think outside the box, but to not even know there is a box.
The series premiered on September 21, 2014. On October 27, 2014, CBS placed a full season order consisting of 22 episodes for the first season.
On March 23, 2017, CBS renewed the series for a fourth season.
The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006.The series is set primarily in the West Wing of the White House, where the Oval Office and offices of presidential senior staff are located, during the fictitious Democratic administration of Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen).
The West Wing received acclaim from critics, as well as praise from political science professors and former White House staffers. In total, The West Wing won three Golden Globe Awards and 26 Emmy Awards, including the award for Outstanding Drama Series, which it won four consecutive times from 2000 through 2003. In the years since its run, it has appeared on several lists of the greatest television dramas ever made.The Writers Guild of America also ranked it #10 in its "101 Best-Written TV Series" list.
Veep is an American political satire comedy television series, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, that premiered on HBO on April 22, 2012.The series was created by Armando Iannucci as an adaptation of the British sitcom The Thick of It. Veep is set in the office of Selina Meyer, a fictional Vice President, and subsequent President, of the United States. The series follows Meyer and her team 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 the American government.
Veep has received critical acclaim and won several major awards. It has been nominated five years in a row for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, winning the award for its fourth and fifth seasons. Its second and fourth seasons won the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Comedy Series, with the third season winning the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. Louis-Dreyfus has won five consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Award, two Critics' Choice Television Awards and one Television Critics Association Award for her performance. Supporting cast members Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale have both received four consecutive Emmy nominations for their work on the series, including Hale winning in 2013 and 2015.
The series' 10-episode sixth season premiered on April 16, 2017. Veep has been renewed for a seventh season, which will premiere in 2018
Scandal is an American political thriller television series starring Kerry Washington. Created by Shonda Rhimes, it debuted on ABC on April 5, 2012. Kerry Washington's character, Olivia Pope, is partially based on former George H.W. Bush administration press aide Judy Smith, who serves as a co-executive producer.
The show takes place in Washington, D.C. and focuses on Olivia Pope's crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates, and its staff, as well as staff at the White House and surrounding political scene, which includes President Fitzgerald Grant III, White House Chief of Staff Abigail Whelan, Attorney General David Rosen, Vice President Susan Ross, the Vice President's Chief of Staff Elizabeth North, ex-First Lady and now President-Elect Mellie Grant, NSA Director Jake Ballard, and ex-White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene.
The show was named a Television Program of the Year by the American Film Institute, received the Peabody Award for Excellence in Television and was honored as Outstanding Drama Series at the Image Awards. Washington has won the Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series. The upcoming season will be the final one.