‘Veep’ is one of the most important and profoundly influential shows of recent times. It is about a woman’s rise to the topmost position in politics in today’s world. The show tries to capture in detail the mechanisms of the American political system, and in doing so, clarifies a lot of things which earlier remained ambiguous to the public. All of the plot is revealed in a satirical fashion, with the characters trying to poke fun at the American political landscape. To truly understand the show, we have to understand what a satire is and how satires first came to be.
A satire is making fun of a shortcoming, vie, or folly of a man or an institution, done mainly to shame the individual or the institution. Satires started as early as the ancient Egyptian civilization and continue to this very day. ‘Rape of The Lock’ by Alexander Pope is one of the most famous satires ever written in English literature. Political satires are a major branch under this genre and have been around since the times of ancient Greece.
We have also seen political satires widespread in various comedy shows on American television. ‘Saturday Night Live’ has been one of the major comedy shows wherein political figures have been hugely satirized and mimicked. What ‘Veep’ has achieved is a perfect blend of satire and drama, and this is something that is quite hard to do, as sometimes any one aspect tends to go overboard. With all that said, here’s the list of best shows similar to ‘Veep’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Veep’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Madam Secretary (2014- Present)
‘Madam Secretary‘ is a political drama and not a satire like ‘Veep’. However, the series has been so amazing and received such widespread acclaim that including it on this list became an obvious choice. The series follows the story of Elizabeth McCord, from her days as a professor of political science and an analyst for the CIA to the time when she is elected Secretary of State of the United States of America. The show follows her life as she handles several aspects of being a Secretary in the United States cabinet. While doing her executive roles, McCord is also busy with her politics and diplomatic relations with other countries. Moving out of the White House and the many levels of bureaucracy, the show sometimes also delves into the personal lives of its characters. Tea Leoni plays the leading character. Critics have praised the show and the performances of the cast.
9. The President Show (2017)
This comedy series is a satirical attack on the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. Anthony Atamanuik is the creator of the series and also stars in it, dressed as Donald Trump himself. Peter Grosz plays the American vice-president Mike Pence in this show. At the beginning of each episode, the character of Trump is seen in a press conference addressing members of the media. The title sequence begins when the President shouts out the catchphrase “I’m the president. Can you believe it? Let’s roll!”. What follows is the characters of Trump and Pence discussing important events that took place in the world that week. It shows them talking to members from certain groups and later ends with both of them back in the Oval Office. Though ‘The President Show’ is not a fiction, it is an important political satire that is being shown right now.
8. The Good Life (1975-1978)
‘The Good Life’ is a British sitcom written by Bob Larbey and John Esmonde. Tom Good is the central character of the show and he is a plastic designer. Fed up with his life, Tom and his wife decide that they will not consume modern technology in any way and will live a completely self-sufficient life. This forms the premise of this hilarious show which shows how much we’ve all become dependent on technology, and how impossible life is these days without using the latest products available in the market. The show is an essential and interesting look at modern life and the degree of alienation we are suffering from in today’s world. While many novels are made into TV shows, this show got written as a novel after its popularity.
7. The West Wing (1999-2006)
Created by acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, this political drama deals with the Oval Office and other senior staff of the White House. The story is mainly about important staff members of the president who are finding it difficult to separate their professional lives from their personal ones. The series covers two terms of the fictional president Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, played brilliantly by Martin Sheen. Some critics have called this series one of the most relevant and influential shows ever. Leo McGarry and Josh Lyman are other important members of the cast. The show has been so influential that academic papers have been written about it and how it has influenced America.
6. Political Animals (2012)
‘Political Animals’ is a miniseries created by Greg Berlanti. It is a comedic take on a former First Lady’s life when she serves at the White House. The lead character of the story is called Elaine Barrish. Her husband was a famous American president during the 1990s. Interested in following her husband’s path, Barrish had also shown her desire to run in the Presidential election and had thus wanted a nomination from the Democratic Party. She did not get a chance to run for president after being defeated in the nomination race by Paul Garcetti. The day she conceded from fighting in the elections was also the day she filed for divorce. The events of the show start when all these had happened and Barrish is serving as Secretary of State after Garcetti becomes the new president. We see how she manages to strike a balance between her family and work. Critics have taken positively to this series and it was also honored by Emmy nominations.
5. The Politician’s Husband (2013)
This is another great political drama, and unlike others, it was a miniseries first broadcast in 2013. The story revolves around a powerful British political couple, played by David Tennant and Emily Watson. The show focuses on these two characters who hold their ambitions above everything else. We see them balancing their personal and professional lives through the troubled waters of London. There is jealousy, betrayal, and depravity on the way to becoming the Prime Minister of England, and that is what becomes the focus of the show. This well-acted series with a brilliant storyline is a treat for all the lovers of political drama.
4. Black Adder (1983-1989)
One of the most famous satirical television shows ever made, ‘Black Adder’ from its very early days showed us the immense talent of Rowan Atkinson. Along with him, other promising actors like Tony Robinson and Stephen Fry are also part of the series. They would later be joined by Fry’s partner in comedy, Hugh Laurie. The series comprises of four seasons, and each season deals with a different period of history while keeping certain major characters intact. All four seasons are set during different time periods, including the British Middle Ages, the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the Regency era and World War I. A poll carried out by BBC TV saw this series being voted the second-best show to ever come out of Britain.
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3. The Thick of It (2005-2012)
Another influential series of recent times, ‘The Thick of It’ is one of the most unique British comedic shows to have ever come out. It is a satire of the British government and depicts the workings of different ministries. The story’s main focus is the fictionalized department called the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship. Peter Capaldi plays the role of Malcolm Tucker, the British government’s communications officer and the antihero of the show. Interestingly, this show never mentions any political party or affiliation to any political party in general. However, events in the show continuously refer to and make fun of things that have been happening in real life in England’s political climate.
2. American Dad! (2005- Present)
Seth MacFarlane has created some amazing shows and ‘American Dad!’ is a glorious addition to his repertoire. The story focuses on a typical American family and satirizes the everyday life of its members. The members of the family include a couple, their children and their pet goldfish. A few recurring characters appear in certain episodes. The father of the family is a Republican. He works for the CIA, and he’s the classic representation of an upper-middle-class white American. His wife is a homemaker and their teenage daughter is a rebellious hippie. Their son is a bit socially awkward. There is also an alien character in the series called Roger. The show mainly focuses on ridiculing the “American way of life”, and in doing so, starts talking about various social structures which are causing problems and tensions during these troublesome days.
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1. Yes Minister (1980-1988)
One of the most influential TV shows ever, ‘Yes Minister’ has been voted the sixth best British sitcom ever in a poll conducted by the BBC. Paul Eddington plays the leading role of Jim Hacker in the series. Hacker was the editor of a newspaper before entering politics and the story follows his political career. The events of the series kick off right after the general elections and Hacker being offered the role of Minister of Administrative Affairs by the newly elected Prime Minister. Nigel Hawthorne portrays the role of Sir Humphrey Appleby in the series, who is the secretary of Jim Hacker. Many real-life senior British politicians have said that they love this show.
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