From the political aspects to the sharp writing, fans are still looking for shows like The West Wing. Created by Aaron Sorkin, premiered on NBC and ran for seven seasons from September 1999 to May 2006. The show is a political drama, one of the first of its kind. At the time of the series premiere, there hadn’t been a popular television show whose focal point and main character was the President of the United States and the location for every episode was The White House.
The series is of course, completely fictional and not based on any president in particular, but it does tackle a lot of the issues surrounding politics and the current events at the time the series was being written. This show paved the way and created a fan base for political drama. For fans of this series, there are a few other shows like The West Wing to watch that capture its best qualities.
Scandal was created by Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind hit television series like Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. Scandal focuses on Olivia Pope, who runs her own crisis management firm and frequently assists The White House with issues and scandals that arise. She is also having an affair with the president, making this series even more scandalous than the series title lets on. For fans who love the drama, The West Wing brought week after week, they can find the same political intrigue with this series.
Though this series only lasted for one season on NBC’s network, fans who love political television shows like The West Wing, and get a kick out of Saturday Night Live‘s political spoofs will certainly find someone entertainment in the thirteen episodes of this series. Josh Gad created the show’s central characters and plays Skip on the series. Skip is the oldest son of the current sitting president, played by Bill Pullman, who is no stranger to playing president.
Stream on Netflix and Paramount+
Madame Secretary examines another important role in American politics, that of Secretary of State. Tea Leoni plays Elizabeth McCord, the fictional Secretary of State and the series follows her for five seasons in this role.In 2019, it was announced that the series would be renewed for its sixth and final season under a new title, Madame President. The sixth season premiere reveals that Leoni’s character has won her bid for The White House, becoming the first female President of the United States.
House of Cards is a much darker look at the fictional inner workings of a political system. It was one of Netflix’s first original series and was a massive success, paving the way for the streaming service to begin developing even more of their own content and competing with major networks for original programming. For fans who love the more devious characters and storyline on The West Wing, binging all six seasons of this series will be a treat.
For fans who love Aaron Sorkin’s quirky dialogue and quick-witted humor on The West Wing, Veep starring Julia Louise Dreyfus captures that same feel. This satirical comedy political series focuses on Dreyfus’ character, Selina Meyer and her team, who are desperately trying to leave their political mark on society and in the history books but seem to constantly be distracted by the day-to-day games played in the typical political atmosphere, making for a hilarious work environment. However, while The West Wing was like an idealized version of what the White House could be, Veep shows the most self-centered and unqualified members of the political arena.
Though Aaron Sorkin’s movie career seems to be his main focus now, he has made his own mark in the television world thanks to his unique writing style. Sorkin is known for writing heavy dialogue for all of his actors and the actors on his shows are often given the daunting task of learning sixty pages of lines for just one episode. The quick-talking back and forth has become a fan favorite and for fans of Sorkin’s stylized writing will be thrilled with the rapid-fire conversations and triumphant monologues on display.
Designated Survivor should be of interest to many fans of The West Wing because it looks at an interesting rule in the U.S. government that most Americans didn’t even know about until this series premiered. When all of the important members of the government meet in the same room for an important event, like the State of the Union address, one member of the Presidential line of succession is chosen to sit in a safe room, deemed the “designated survivor”. Should an unlikely attack happen that kills the entire government, this one survivor will be put in charge of rebuilding the country and its system, and that’s what this series focuses on.
This is another show created by Aaron Sorkin that fans of this writer should definitely watch. This is the only series created by Sorkin to be canceled after just one season, but still developed a substantial fanbase for its first and only twenty-two episodes. The series focuses on the behind-the-scenes of a late-night comedy sketch show, similar to that of Saturday Night Live. The series stars Matthew Perry and Sorkin favorite Bradley Whitford and is credited with giving Sarah Paulson her big break.
This is another dark take on the political system that fans of The West Wing will love to watch. Instead of focusing on The White House, this series revolves around the FBI and a former US Navy Officer turned criminal. James Spader played Raymond Reddington, the Navy Officer with a lot of valuable information who is willing to make a deal with the FBI to avoid prosecution for his criminal history. This thriller series takes a lot of twists and turns that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats and wanting more.
Stream on Peacock Premium
For fans of The West Wing looking for something fun and easy to binge in between watching a few of the darker political thrillers, NBC’s Parks and Rec is a great one to start watching. This series, created by the same funny duo who brought The Office to America, has a similar mockumentary style but takes place in a local branch of government in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Amy Poehler heads Parks and Rec‘s brilliant cast of characters that will have audiences laughing with every episode.