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4 of my favorite political TV shows, in honor of that West Wing reboot rumor

Published Jan 19th, 2024 3:00PM EST
The West Wing on NBC
Image: Ron Jaffe/NBCU Photo Bank

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It might be time to revisit one of the most beloved TV shows of all time.

A tweet this week from Mary McCormack, who played Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper on NBC’s seven-season political drama The West Wing, has fans of the show from creator Aaron Sorkin buzzing over the possibility of a reboot. On X/Twitter, she wrote that: “We have something very exciting in the works! We will be sharing it next week. Stay tuned for the big reveal Jan. 24th. Any guesses?”

McCormack tagged a slew of former cast members in her tweet, including Josh Malina (who responded with a one-word tweet: “Reeeeeboooooot!”), Allison Janney, Dulé Hill, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, and Melissa Fitzgerald. That response from Malina, who played Will Bailey on the show, unsurprisingly sent fans on social media into a tizzy — though I suspect it was simply in response to the “Any guesses?” portion of McCormack’s original tweet.

The West Wing on NBCImage source: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of the show, which is currently available on HBO’s Max streamer, and I think there are probably a few other ideas that are more likely than a reboot — like a West Wing-themed Super Bowl commercial. Or a podcast in honor of the anniversary. We also could get a 25th anniversary reunion special on Max, similar to the Friends reunion that also aired on the streamer. Or, in honor of the presidential election this year, maybe even another special that encourages people to vote, like we got in October 2020 with the stage version of The West Wing episode Hartsfield’s Landing.

In the meantime, whatever news we’re getting next week has understandably now got me reminiscing about some of my favorite political TV shows of all time. From drama to comedy to biting satire, these are some of the shows that get my vote as the best for political junkies across all of the major streamers.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation on NBC
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope and Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson. Image source: Colleen Hayes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

What: A mockumentary in the style of NBC’s The Office, Parks and Recreation was basically a love letter to bureaucrats and administrators who work in local government. The show starred Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a perky, idealistic deputy director of the Parks Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. With an excellent ensemble cast and writing that blended comedy and pathos, this half-hour sitcom is comfort TV at its best.

Where to watch: Peacock

The Diplomat

The Diplomat on Netflix
Ato Essandoh as Stuart Heyford and Keri Russell as Kate Wyler in The Diplomat. Image source: Alex Bailey/Netflix

What: From Netflix’s synopsis of this top-rated series, “Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is the new US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. She was supposed to go to Afghanistan. She’s great in a crisis zone. In a historic home… less so. War is brewing on one continent and boiling over on another. Kate will have to diffuse international crises, forge strategic alliances in London, and adjust to her new place in the spotlight — all while trying to survive her marriage to fellow career diplomat and political star Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell).”

Fun fact — showrunner Debora Cahn began her career as a writer and producer on The West Wing.

Where to watch: Netflix

Borgen

Borgen on Netflix.
Sidse Babett Knudsen as Danish politician Birgitte Nyborg in “Borgen.” Image source: Netflix

What: This next TV drama has been described as the Danish version of The West Wing. Borgen (famous fans of which include Hillary Clinton) tells the story of Birgitte Nyborg, a charismatic politician who unexpectedly becomes Denmark’s first female Prime Minister. As she navigates the high-stakes and compromise-filled world of politics, the series also delves into all the personal and professional challenges she faces. A fascinating watch for political junkies.

Where to watch: Netflix

Veep

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep. Image source: HBO

What: Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President, surrounded by a hapless and hilarious staff, this political satire was created by Armando Iannucci and ran from 2012 to 2019. It was known for sharp, witty dialogue and for its humorous yet cynical presentation of how American politics works.

Where to watch: Max

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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