The 20 Best TV Shows About American Politics (and Where to Stream Them)

TV Lists
Share Tweet Submit Pin
The 20 Best TV Shows About American Politics (and Where to Stream Them)

Russian hacks. Double-crossing politicians. Journalists making news. Hollywood and Washington, D.C. were stealing each others’ storylines well before a former reality TV star was elected leader of the free world.

But which American TV shows best represent American politics? In anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, we’ve made a list of some of our favorite examples—making a point to not include those that are actually based on recent real-life events (like the HBO TV movies Recount and Game Change, or Showtime’s upcoming The Comey Rule) because, honestly, those can sometimes be just too scary to watch after you’ve lived them.

Just like with real politics, these picks and their rankings are subjective (we didn’t like that one season of Showtime’s Homeland either, but we’re sending trained assassins after anyone who doesn’t think FX’s The Americans should be near the top of this list). We’ll also be sure to add and adapt our ranking as more series, like Peacock’s upcoming Rutherford Falls, become available. Disagree with us? Share your picks on social media. Or just send us your attempts at “The Jackal.”

20. Scandal

Created by: Shonda Rhimes
Stars: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Díaz, Joe Morton
Original Network: ABC

Watch on Netflix

When so much of a show’s plot is made up of infuriatingly dramatic cliffhangers, it can be deeply satisfying to experience a series, like Scandal, on Netflix. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, have no clue what a Gladiator in a suit is, and don’t know whether you’re Team Jake or Team Fitz, there’s no time like the present. Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope, a lawyer and crisis management expert who represents high-profile politicians and other clientele in Washington D.C. AKA the people running this great nation, who always seem to find themselves in the midst of a scandal.

Based on real-life D.C. fixer Judy Smith (the former Bush Administration aide who has represented folks like Monica Lewinsky, Kobe Bryant, and former Senator Larry Craig), Pope is a formidable character, often as much of a scandalous megalomaniac as her clientele. Sure, Rhimes (also the Created by of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice) draws on many-a-cliche for this series—endless love triangles, characters killed off at a moment’s notice, etc. But Scandal is, simultaneously, a refreshing and forward-thinking experience, with a black woman at the head of a very bizarre Scooby gang (brought to us by Weeds actor Guillermo Díaz, along with Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, and Columbus Short), one of the first gay villains on television, and a stark quality that seeks to peel the mask off of American politics. Funny, sexy, downright frightening at times, and complete with an amazing ‘70s soundtrack for every episode, Scandal is the stuff Netflix binge-watching dreams made of. —Shannon M. Houston


19. The Good Wife

Created by: Robert King, Michelle King
Stars: Julianna Margulies, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi, Graham Phillips, Makenzie Vega, Josh Charles
Original Network: CBS

Watch on Amazon Prime

Are network dramas supposed to be this good? Julianna Margulies stars as the title character Alicia Florrick, who (in a storyline ripped from many, many headlines) is subjected to public humiliation when her husband, Peter (Chris Noth), the District Attorney of Chicago, is caught cheating with a prostitute. The scandal forces Alicia back into the workforce, and she takes a job with her (very sexy) old law school friend Will Gardner (Josh Charles). But Alicia is not your typical “stand by your man” woman and The Good Wife is not your typical show. The brilliance of the series is that it deftly blends multiple and equally engaging storylines that both embrace and defy genre conventions. Each episode is an exciting combination of political intrigue, inner-office jockeying, family strife, sizzling romance, and intriguing legal cases. The series features a fantastic array of guest stars, and creates a beguiling and believable world where familiar characters weave in and out of Alicia’s life just like they would in real life: You’ll be fascinated by Archie Panjabi’s mysterious Kalinda Sharma, delighted by Zach Grenier’s mischievous David Lee, marvel at Christine Baranski’s splendid Diane Lockhart. And, witness the transformative performance Alan Cummings gives as the cunning Eli Gold. But the real reason to stick with the series is to partake in the show’s game-changing fifth season. Many series start to fade as they age, but The Good Wife peaked late in its mostly glorious seven season run. —Amy Amatangelo


18. Madam Secretary

madam-secretary-main.jpeg

Created by: Barbara Hall
Stars: Téa Leoni, Tim Daly, Patina Miller, Geoffrey Arend, Erich Bergen, Željko Ivanek, Bebe Neuwirth, Wallis Currie-Wood
Original Network: CBS

Watch on Netflix

While glitzy streaming shows like Netflix’s House of Cards may get all the attention nowadays, it’s important to remember that broadcast political dramas have a long-game strategy going and—no offense to Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood Cards, mostly because we’re afraid she’d have us killed—they often excel at celebrating female politicos. After a slow-ish start, CBS’ Madam Secretary developed into a solid hour of political intrigue, delivering a heady mix of domestic and foreign politics with a soupçon of humor and an interesting portrayal of home life.

Even though the show premiered in 2014, the year after Hillary Clinton left her post as the real-life Secretary of State, the show didn’t concentrate on its president’s party affiliation. What it did do was tackle both real-world potentials like dirty bombs on U.S. soil and a coup in Iran, as well as “ripped-from-the-headlines” bits like increased relations with Cuba and Boko Haram kidnappings. Star Tea Leoni is everything you’d want as a TV Secretary of State. And rather than simply using her family (including the always exceptional Tim Daly as husband Henry) and staff (we’d watch Bebe Neuwirth read a phone book) as occasional one-note props, creator Barbara Hall developed well-rounded characters and gave them all meaningful plotlines, something that’s often difficult to do with a large cast.

The show also probably owes some credit (and will always be compared to) Commander-in-Chief, the short-lived ABC drama. That series, which lasted a season, starred Geena Davis as a veep who suddenly rises in the ranks after her boss’s sudden passing. It dealt with its own share of terrorists, complicated family issues and quirky staff but could never find its right voice. —Mark Rabinowitz and Whitney Friedlander


17. Designated Survivor

designated-survivor-main.png

Created by: David Guggenheim
Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, LaMonica Garrett, Tanner Buchanan, Kal Penn
Original Network: ABC

Watch on Netflix

One-hour dramas on broadcast TV tend to be very soapy—lots of scandalous sex, melodramatic secrets and convoluted plot twists. But this series, which aired its first two seasons on ABC before moving to Netflix for its final year, displayed strong writing with various multi-dimensional characters, gripping conflicts, and edge-of-your-seat plot twists. Kiefer Sutherland was fantastic as the lead, even if he occasionally went into that signature whispery voice thing made famous on 24, his other broadcast TV show where the Canadian actor played a character tasked with saving America. The premise itself, which focuses on how the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development—someone several rungs down in the White House hierarchy—ends up being Commander in Chief is also something armchair politicos think about a lot as they watch a rotation of real-life staffers cycle in and out of jobs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. —Kristofer Seppala and Whitney Friedlander


16. The Good Fight

Created by: Robert and Michelle King, Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Christine Baranski, Rose Leslie, Erica Tazel, Cush Jumbo
Original Network: CBS All Access

Watch on CBS All Access

With “The One Where Diane and Liz Topple Democracy,” The Good Fight achieved the holy grail of the TV spin-off: It’s taken the animating question of The Good Wife—How far can you push the law?—and reinterpreted it for our own moment: Does the law even matter? As Diane (Christine Baranski) and Liz’s (Audra McDonald) “book club” debates whether or not to hack voting machines to right the disenfranchisement of voters in the 2016 presidential elections, or as Gary Carr (playing himself) shadows Roland (Michael Sheen) and Lucca (Cush Jumbo) to prepare for a role, The Good Fight is reminiscent of The Good Wife on a molecular level. And yet its characterization, aesthetic, tone and plot are utterly without nostalgia for it. “What isn’t a lie these days, though?” Gary asks Lucca when she explains why she doesn’t like TV. “Politics, art, science: Everything is TV.” The Good Fight would know: It’s one of the best shows on television. —Matt Brennan


15. Deadwood

Deadwood 75.jpg

Creator: David Milch
Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Jim Beaver, Brad Dourif, Paula Malcomson, William Sanderson, Kim Dickens, Keith Carradine
Original Network: HBO

Watch on HBO

Few shows sound as profanely inspired as Deadwood, which has also been referred to as “Shakespeare in the mud.” It deserves every kudos. The extraordinarily compelling Western is ultimately less concerned with its setting and historical accuracy (though it has plenty to spare) than it is about accurately portraying humans. Why do societies and allegiances form, why are close friends betrayed, and why does humanity’s best seem to always just barely edge out its worst? These are the real concerns that make Deadwood a masterpiece. David Milch created a sprawling, fastidiously detailed world in which to stage his gritty morality plays and with it has come as close as anyone to creating a novel on-screen. With assistance from some truly memorable acting by Ian McShane, Brad Dourif and Paula Malcomson, Deadwood’s sometimes over-the-top representations never veer far enough from reality for its inhabitants to become just characters. (A recent movie on HBO also helps sew things up in a satisfying way after the original series’ sudden ending). —Sean Gandert and Allison Keene


14. Murphy Brown

murphy-brown.png

Created by: Diane English
Stars: Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Charles Kimbrough, Robert Pastorelli, Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud, Pat Corley, Lily Tomlin
Original Network: CBS

[Not officially streaming, and more or less erased from the internet for now.]

How many television shows become part of the national conversation? Even today, very few—but that’s exactly what happened on May 19,1992 when Vice President Dan Quayle called out Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) for being a single mom. Today it’s hard to even imagine the scandal the show caused by allowing its title character to have a baby out of wedlock. But Murphy Brown was much more than its most known zeitgeist moment.

As a newswoman with a penchant for firing her secretaries, Brown was her generation’s Mary Richards: A hardened newshound and recovering alcoholic with no time for pleasantries or for addressing her workplace superiors with courtesy titles. Hers was a newsroom that was less of a hate-watch (like HBO’s The Newsroom) or a fear-mongering reality (like Showtime’s biographical The Loudest Voice). Surrounded by her naïve and nervous executive producer Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud), best friend Frank (Joe Regalbuto), stuffy newsman Jim (Charles Kimbrough) and way-too-cheery Corky (Faith Ford), the series was consistently topical and political, but most importantly always made us laugh. Even the attempted revival, which ran for a season on CBS, brought up topical issues like the Me Too movement and included noteworthy guest stars (Hillary Clinton!). —Amy Amatangelo and Whitney Friedlander


13. John Adams

john-adams-hbo.jpg

Created by: Kirk Ellis
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Stephen Dillane, David Morse, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Rufus Sewell
Original Network: HBO

Watch on HBO

Long before Hamilton captured the cultural consciousness, this eight-part miniseries tackled the same subject matter of the founding of the U.S., but through the eyes of future President John Adams (Paul Giamati). Based on a best-selling biography by David McCullough, the show went deep into this fractious period of our history, covering a lot of ground starting with the Boston Massacre in 1770, and ending with the deaths of Adams and Thomas Jefferson 56 years later. The breadth of the story is astounding enough, bringing to richly detailed life the key moments that built this messy democracy that we find ourselves in today. But it’s the powerhouse acting by the entire, huge ensemble that drives this sprawling narrative home, and might make you proud to be an American.—Robert Ham


12. Mrs. America

Thumbnail image for mrs-america-main-alt.jpg

Created by: Dahvi Waller
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Ari Graynor, Margo Martindale, John Slattery, Tracey Ullman
Original Network: Hulu/FX

Watch on Hulu

Equality is at the heart of Mrs. America. The series, which starts in 1971 and runs through 1979, examines the national debate taking place over the Equal Rights Amendment, meant to put women on the same legal footing as men. For some housewives across America, though, the amendment was concerning because it was ushered in by second-wave feminists who (they believed) threatened to dismantle traditional family values. And at the head of that anti-ERA movement was Illinois housewife and mother of six, Phyllis Schlafley (an elegant Cate Blanchett).

Phyllis is the nexus of everything happening in Mrs. America, but each episode also spends time with one or two other important women on the opposite side of the movement, from Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne) to Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman) to the first black woman to run for President, Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba). Where the limited series, created by Dahvi Waller, really excels (and manages to eschew the issues of other series dealing with similar topics) is that it’s not overly reverential to these real-life characters. It also, crucially, doesn’t treat them as caricatures—there is a deep, recognizable, and very true humanity to each of these women that is immediately authentic, as they move in and out of each other’s lives.

Mrs. America is juggling a lot, but it never feels like too much. Like the ever-present (worthless) question of “can a woman have it all?” Mrs. America does have it all, and more. It illuminates an essential part of the women’s liberation movement and the real women behind it (and against it) in ways that are engrossing, enlightening, and sometimes enraging. —Allison Keene


11. That’s My Bush!

thats-my-bush-tv-show.jpeg

Created by: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Carrie Quinn Dolin, Kurt Fuller, Kristen Miller, Marcia Wallace, John D’Aquino, Charly Sianipar
Original Network: Comedy Central

[Not officially streaming, but can be found…]

Although the series was created by the ever-opinionated duo behind South Park, That’s My Bush! is not political satire. It’s important to note that this show was going to exist no matter who won the 2000 Presidential election. (We could have had Everybody Loves Al) It wasn’t inherently about George W. Bush (Timothy Bottoms), which, in retrospect, feels weird to say given his legacy in the world. But it’s much more a show that satirizes, or at least plays around with, the classic multi-cam sitcom. That’s My Bush! decided to stick arguably the most important American figure, the sitting President, into a very broad, hacky sitcom.

That it was in on the joke made Bush! much more of an iconoclasm than a more recent attempt at a comedy about politics: Josh Gad, Jon Lovett and Jason Winer’s NBC series, 1600 Penn. If anybody went back to watch the show without knowing this, they may be jarred to find out how little Bush’s personality, and politics, play into the show. However, for television fanatics, and those who devoured old sitcoms, there’s something especially clever and fun about this series. —Chris Morgan


10. Homeland

homeland showtime 25.jpg

Created by: Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
Stars: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, Morena Baccarin, David Harewood, Navid Negahban, and Nazanin Boniadi
Original Network: Showtime

Watch on Showtime

After Homeland’s freshman season sank its hooks into viewers with an extraordinarily tense cat-and-mouse game involving a bipolar CIA analyst (Claire Danes) and a former POW (Damian Lewis), and two subsequent seasons in which the writers seemed to lose their grip on the intricacies of the plot, many wrote off Showtime’s counterterrorism drama for good. Too bad. Since then, Homeland didn’t simply recovered; it was been reborn, this time as a sharp, muscular reconsideration of America’s so-called “War on Terror,” alive to our own strategic flaws and moral compromises. In particular, the fourth season traces the outlines of the series’ new structure—a long, slow burn to expose the nerves, followed by two remarkable episodes, “There’s Something Else Going On” and “13 Hours in Islamabad,” that suggest the true terror at hand: war without end. —Matt Brennan


9. M*A*S*H

MASH-tv-show.png

Created by: Larry Gelbart, Gene Reynolds
Stars: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, McLean Stevenson, Loretta Swit, Larry Linville, Gary Burghoff Original Network: CBS

Watch on Hulu

Anyone who takes part in the American political system and votes should spend a little time with M*A*S*H and the staff of the 4077. After all, we’re voting for a person who, at any moment, could make the decision to send thousands of Americans to war. Shouldn’t we know what such war looks like, and what it does to a person? Hawkeye’s (Alan Alda) series-long transformation is worth an entire graduate thesis alone. No greater picture of war’s effects on a person’s morals exists than in the episode “Preventative Medicine.” Airing on February 19, 1979, Hawkeye performs an unneeded appendectomy in order to keep an officer from duties Hawkeye deemed unnecessary. During its eleven-season run, the doctors, nurses and patients offered up hard looks at racism, patriotism, love, death and even PTSD. We’d be remiss not to use it as an educational tool.—Deirdre Kaye


8. BrainDead

braindead-tv-show.jpeg

Created by: Robert King, Michelle King
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit, Tony Shalhoub, Nikki M. James
Original Network: CBS

Watch on CBS All Access

Airing for one glorious summer in 2016—where it, ironically, shifted schedules a lot to accommodate for coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions—this attempt at a straight-up black comedy from The Good Wife and Fight husband-and-wife duo was just too pure and ahead of its time for this cold, hard world. The series starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Tveit as Laurel Healy and Gareth Ritter, rival Senate staffers from opposite ends of the political aisle who form an alliance (both romantic and otherwise) when they notice some Washington insiders are acting kind of buggy. Yes, buggy. Like their bodies have literally been invaded by alien bugs who entered their ears when they slept (key giveaways as to whether a body’s been invaded and snatched? A need for green juice drinks and an obsession with The Cars’ earworm “You Might Think”). In addition to regular mocking of Beltway buffoonery, there was the show’s A+ casting: Tony Shalhoub as a self-absorbed U.S. senator, Megan Hilty as a Fox News-like political commentator, and Michael Moore guest starring as himself in a sex scene. —Whitney Friedlander


7. Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation 75.jpg

Created by: Greg Daniels, Michael Schur
Stars: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones
Original Network: NBC

Watch on Netflix Watch on Hulu Watch on Amazon Prime Watch on Peacock

Parks and Recreation started its run as a fairly typical mirror of The Office, but by its third season, the student became the master. Fleshed out with oddballs and unusual city quirks (that are terribly relatable), Pawnee quickly became the greatest television town since Springfield. The show ultimately flourished with some of the most unique and interesting characters in comedy, who remain beloved thanks to the utter joy this show always delivered. With one of the greatest writing staffs on all of TV, watching Parks and Recreation—with its gentle heart and excellent humor—only gets better with time. —Ross Bonaime and Allison Keene


6. The Wire

the-wire-main-small.jpg

Creator: David Simon
Stars: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Idris Elba, Domenick Lombardozzi, Ellis Carver, Andre Royo, Wendell Pierce, Rhonda Pearlman
Original Network: HBO

Watch on HBO

David Simon has made a career investigating the nuances of American city life and the part politics plays in shaping communities (and in one case, abroad). From New Orleans in Treme to the Yonkers of Show Me a Hero all the way to the sands of Iraq in Generation Kill, Simon’s relentless truth telling has made an exceptional impact on viewers and television storytelling as a whole.

But none of his works are are famous, beloved, or as constantly referenced as The Wire, which Simon conceived of as a modern Greek tragedy, a morality play set in a drug-infested urban war zone where conventional good guys and bad guys barely exist. Everyone is conflicted and compromised. We didn’t need The Wire to remind us that the system—the criminal justice system, the political system, the education system—is broken. But no other cultural enterprise (and certainly no television show) has shown us precisely how the infrastructure has collapsed, forcing us to consider the impossible decisions required for repair. Amidst the rubble of a failed city, Simon created an engrossing human drama with unforgettable characters about the eternal struggle between aspiration and desperation, ambition and resignation. In other words, the fight for the American Dream. —Nick Marino and Allison Keene


5. Spin City

spin-city.png

Created by: Gary David Goldberg, Bill Lawrence
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Carla Gugino, Richard Kind, Alan Ruck, Michael Boatman, Connie Britton
Original Network: ABC

[Not officially streaming, but can be found…]

Spin City represents that rare alchemy of a great premise, masterful sitcom writing and pitch-perfect casting. The show centers on the chaotic behind-the-scenes of local New York politics—specifically, that of the fictional New York Mayor’s office. The series starred Michael J. Fox as Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty, a hyper-competent employee whose mastery of political spin often bumps against the sloppiness of some of his less-then-qualified work colleagues, most notably the city’s dim-witted, gaffe-prone Mayor (played with great gusto by Barry Bostwick). Being a multicam sitcom, the show never truly delved into the nitty gritty inherent to its political setting, but what it did do brilliantly was thoroughly exploit this unorthodox workplace setting for all manner of storylines, whether it was regarding same sex marriages, HIV or merely the Mayor cheating at golf. Although the series never quite recovered from the well-publicized departure of Michael J. Fox (though pre-“winning” Charlie Sheen actually did a commendable job), it still stands as one of the great sitcoms to come out of the ‘90s.—Mark Rozeman


4. The Americans

TheAmericans1.2.jpg

Created by: Joseph Weisberg
Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Holly Taylor
Original Network: FX

Watch on Amazon Prime

Over the course its six-season run, The Americans completed a remarkable evolution, beginning and ending as a blisteringly suspenseful spy drama. Of course, by the time Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields’ masterwork reaches its devastating conclusion, with deep-cover KGB agents Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (the magnificent Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) surveying what they’ve lost, and gained, in the process, The Americans is about so much more than safe houses and dead drops. It is at once a parable of family, faith, and nation; a pitch-dark examination of the Cold War’s moral calculus; a coming-of-age tale (twice over); a wrenching depiction of friendships formed and betrayed; and an indelible portrait of an American marriage. FX’s pet project was worth every ounce of patience it demanded: We may well remember it as the last great drama of the Golden Age of Television. —Matt Brennan


3. Tanner ‘88

tanner-88-hbo.png

Created by: Garry Trudeau
Stars: Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, Cynthia Nixon, Kevin J. O’Connor, Daniel Jenkins, Jim Fyfe
Original Network: HBO

Purchase on Amazon Prime Watch on HBO Max

An 11-episode, political mockumentary miniseries written by Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau and directed by Robert Altman sounds too good to be true, but HBO found a way to make it happen on the eve of the 1988 Presidential election. Michael Murphy plays presidential candidate Jack Tanner to sublime perfection, and the show’s fascination with the absurdity of daily campaign minutiae would have far-reaching comedy influence. (Veep, I’m looking at you.) Altman would go on to describe making Tanner ’88 as pure joy: “two-thirds scripted, and one-third found art.” Now released by the Criterion Collection, Tanner ’88 is as astounding and prescient a piece of political television as we’ve ever seen. Robert Altman would go one to make a feature film sequel, Tanner on Tanner in 2004.—Chris White


2. The West Wing

Created by: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Allison Janney, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Dulé Hill, NiCole Robinson, Melissa Fitzgerald, Rob Lowe, Joshua Malina, Stockard Channing, Kim Webster, Kris Murphy, Timothy Davis-Reed
Original Network: NBC

Watch on Netflix

Television’s quintessential political drama began in the Clinton era, soldiered on through Bush and 9/11, and ended in the earliest days of the Age of Obama. Weirdly, the show’s political climate was more stable than reality itself. And maybe that was its appeal. The West Wing showed us government not as it was, but as it could be—a White House run by quippy, tireless, big-hearted public servants who believed in governing with decency. President Josiah Bartlett would give any of his real-life counterparts a run for their money. —Nick Marino


1. Veep

Veep7.jpg

Creator: Armando Iannucci
Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole
Original Network: HBO

Watch on HBO

Veep satirizes the political world by distilling it down to what the public likes to watch most: the screw-ups. From foot-in-mouth moments and mis-sent documents to squeaky shoes, everything Selina Meyer (Julia Louis Dreyfus) does is scrutinized, turned into an offense, and spit back at her through the distorted prism of Twitter and never-ending public opinion polling. They never specify Meyer’s political party, and it’s no surprise that its fans span the political spectrum. Because the main thing Veep stays true to is shining a light on the people more desperate to be near power than to make any real social impact.

Dreyfus remains one of TV’s funniest actors; she’ll truly commit to a bit, and she has a habit of taking them beyond surface level cute into the truly disastrous and unflattering. Selina Meyer doesn’t walk into glass doors, she shatters them and stands in a pile of glass with bleeding cuts all over her face. She takes bad advice, wears terrible hats, gets a Dustin Hoffman haircut, and can’t go abroad without committing a terrible international faux pas. And Selina is at her best as a character when she’s at her most terrible, full of ego, more concerned with being liked than passing legislation, and blaming her staff for her mistakes. Selina’s bag man Gary (Tony Hale) is a glorious sad sack, and Dan Egan (Reid Scott) is so coldly ambitious his every misstep feels like a victory. But for every unknowingly selfish thing each person says, Veep’s ace-in-the-hole is Anna Chlumsky’s Amy, whose Olympic-level reaction faces land everyone else’s jokes. Smaller recurring roles also offer cameos from some of America’s best improvisers. Through and through, it’s a comedy nerd’s dream team. —Erica Lies



For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

Also in TV