TV Shows to watch based on your current political feelings

As the US General Election approaches, I know a lot of people are feeling a lot of feelings about the state of the world, including fear, frustration, hope, and exhaustion. I thought it would be fun to recommend TV Shows based on how people are currently feeling.

Side note: Early voting has started in many states please vote if you are eligible to.

“Things can and should be better”

  • Madam Secretary (Netflix/CBS All Access)
  • West Wing (Netflix)

“Things are fine”

  • The 100 (Netflix/CW)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
  • Snow Piercer (TNT)

“Why is everything so political?”

  • The Fosters (Prime Video/Hulu/Freeform)
  • Brooklyn 99 (Hulu/Peacock)

“Everything is political!”

  • Equal (HBO/HBO Max)
  • Dear White People (Netflix)

“Politicians are the problem”

  • The Politician (Netflix)
  • Scandal (Hulu)

“I want to move to Canada”

  • Kim’s Convenience (Netflix)
  • Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)

“I want to make a difference”

  • The Mayor (not currently on a streaming platform, but so good so keep an eye out)
  • Parks and Recreation (Peacock/Fubo)

Top 10 West Wing Episodes

West Wing is my favorite show of all time. I genuinely picked my major in college based off of this show. There are so many good episodes, in fact a majority of them are good. Here is my list of my 10 favorite episodes, because this was a hard choice I included some honorable mentions. If you’ve seen the show let me know your favorites. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • The DebateSeason 7 Episode 7
  • La PalabraSeason 6 Episode 18
  • In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part 1 +2” Season 2 Episode 1 &2
  • Dead Irish WritersSeason Season 3 Episode 15
  • 20 Hours in America Part 1 + 2Season 4 Episode 1 & 2

The Final Countdown:

10. “Celestial NavigationSeason 1 Episode 15 — I really enjoy the formatting of the episodes where it is narrated in present and flashbacks. It has a lot of great humor with an emergency dental surgery and one of my favorite Toby moments with Mendoza.

 9. “LiftoffSeason 6 Episode 4 — CJ’s first day. This was an episode where I felt empowered and felt like I was in it with her. Also, the introduction of a one Congressman Santos (aka America’s favorite Jimmy Smits)  

 8. “EllieSeason 2 Episode 15 — One thing that really works about West Wing is that characters and administrations are not wholly good. Ellie highlights President Bartlett and the Bartlett administration’s flaws. I love this episode it is so heartfelt and highlights wonderful political issues from decimalization of marijuana, Social Security, censorship, and a family in the spotlight.  

 7. “Angel Maintenance”  Season 4 Episode 19 — This is one of the only Will focused episodes I liked. It’s such a tight episode and I loved the humor of episode. It’s so tight and we got to explore dynamics like CJ and Will that we don’t normally get to see. 

 6. Jefferson Lives” Season 5 Episode 3 – This was the episode that I knew Elizabeth Moss was going to have a long career. All the Bartlets’ and Charlie’s performances were wonderful. It was also such an interesting transition for our West Wing with Russell’s introduction and Donna becoming unsatisfied in her job. It stands out because it mixes the lingering effects of the kidnapping with the high stress of finding a VP. 

 5. “Election Night” Season 4 Episode 7 — This is such a funny and charming episode. As Bartlet is elected for a second term, Donna goes on a crusade for principal. A lot of Sam’s relationships are explored as he doesn’t want to admit a promise he had made. This was before we were stuck with Will forever and was still likable. 

 4. “In Excelsis DeoSeason 1 Episode 10 — This episode has some many wonderful shining moments. I think it highlights the heart of each character. Toby with the homeless vets. CJ and Danny. Sam and Josh breaking the lines for Leo. It defines the moral compass for a lot of our central characters in addition to the holidays. 

 3.  “Two Cathedrals” Season 2 Episode 22 –  Bartlett has told America the truth and we work our way to one of the best finales. It is a wonderful episode with Jed becoming Jed as a teen with the help of Mrs. Landingham. As well as one of the finest speeches in series with Bartlet’s rail to heavens. 

 2. “Memorial Day” Season 5 Episode 22 — Donna is my favorite character. I love the panic of one timeline mixed in with Donna’s trip to Gaza as she becomes more confident and comfortable with her new position. The information of what is really going on in Gaza versus the debates after catastrophe.  I think I just like dual timeline episodes.  Plus, Leo and Jed’s dynamic in this episode is *chef’s kiss*. 

 1. “RequiemSeason 7 Episode 18 —  This is probably one of the most wonderful series finale episodes of all time (even though it’s 5 episodes before the end). Due to the funeral all the characters are brought completely together one last time to reflect. It’s a start contrast to see where everyone has ended up, but a beautiful performance by the full cast full of laughter and sorrow.

Seven Season Theory

So I have this theory that the perfect show length is 7 seasons. Personally, I watch a lot of TV, like potentially too much. It is one of my favorite ways to get a story. Also, it is the easiest way to have something in common with people. That is getting off the point! Seven seasons is the perfect length.

Seven seasons is long enough for each main and side character get an independent character arcs, whether silly or not. It gives time to explore different character relationships. Introduce new scenarios. Allow the show to ebb and flow.  It is long enough that the world can grow beyond our little initial conflict or premise of the pilot. Whether that is the main character going to college, going to another planet, or the death of the planet.

Seven seasons gives the writers time to wrap up the story not end on a cliffhanger or midway through. I feel like when a show is seven seasons it feels like a true conclusion. Not time jumped in the last episode, it doesn’t rush but unravels. It’s long and winding. It doesn’t rush through. It is a long fun and immersive viewing experience. However, it doesn’t overwhelm in terms of amount to watch.

Seven Seasons is also the longest length a TV show can do without risking going round the bend. I will admit some shows didn’t need to pass this length to do this (Heroes & Glee).  However, shows 8 seasons or longer have full off seasons or story arcs and start the conversation even in fans that the show has gone on too long. I feel that shows that are good after more than seven seasons are not the norm but a rarity.

Often after 7 seasons there are larger changes in writing staff and main cast. It does in fact affect the viewing experience when this happens. For some shows, it does happen before season 7 and it works (West Wing). But for some shows (That 70’s Show) it is detrimental at that season 7 mark. Due to the successes of a long running show there are more likely to harder negotiations between writers/actors and production.

My main point to this theory is that most of my favorite shows are 7 seasons.

Examples:

  • West Wing
  • Gilmore Girls
  • New Girl
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch

These are just a few of my personal favorite shows of all time and also shows that are 7 seasons. There are of course quite a few more.

What do you think? Is there a more ideal length than 7 seasons, if so what?