July 4 is right around the around the corner and if you’re looking for an easy way to celebrate in between BBQs and fireworks, why not try watching (or re-watching) some of your favorite patriotic TV shows? Since television has no shortage of either politically and historically themed shows, we’re here to help narrow down your options. These 5 series are not only sure to get you in the spirit of the holiday, they also range widely in genre – which means you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your personal preference, whether you’re into comedy, dramas, or critically acclaimed titles. Below, check out 5 small screen series that are perfect to tune into over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
1. The West Wing
The NBC political drama, which ran from 1996 to 2006, offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the Oval Office of the fictional Democratic President Josiah Bartlet. Over its seven-year run, the series earned praise not only from critics, but also from political science professors and even former White House staffers. But it wasn’t without controversy. Its political slant and often idealist representations of Washington have generated considerable discussion. Still, what better way to celebrate the Fourth than with a show that believed in the ability of the political system to accomplish good?
HBO’s biting political satire follows Julia Louis-Drefyus as vice president-turned-commander-in-chief Selina Meyer and her ambitious but usually blundering staff. The hilarious show is a prime example of the old adage, “it’s funny because it’s true.” Chances are you’ll recognize elements of real-life White House staffers in the characters, from goofy director of communications Mike McLintock (played by Matt Walsh) to the highly cynical chief of staff Amy Brookheimer (Anna Chlumsky). Plus, how can you not love a show that features a president who says things like, “What are you laughing at, Jolly Green Jizzface?”
AMC’s period drama, based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, chronicles the story of Abe Woodhull, a young farmer torn between loyalty to his Tory background and respect for those who fight for the Patriot cause. Living on British-occupied Long Island, Abe joins a group of childhood friends to the Culper Ring, a spy network charged with sniffing out British military strategy. Their daring efforts ultimately serve as the foundation for modern espionage.
The show has aired two seasons, the most recent of which wrapped up in mid-June and earned high critical praise for its intelligent, well-made portrayal of history.
4. Parks and Recreation
The NBC series stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a dedicated deputy director of the Parks and Rec department of the fictional Pawnee, Ind. Her job involves constant struggles with apathetic and often inept co-workers and an inflexible boss. The sunny comedy may have never gotten the ratings it deserved during its time on air, but it has become known for its ability to seamlessly blend hilarious antics with deft political commentary – making it the perfect show to watch (or re-watch) during this holiday weekend.
5. Band of Brothers
The 2001 HBO war drama miniseries, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, follows Easy Company, one of the best known WWII companies in the Army, from their jump training at camp to their participation in some of the major actions in Europe and up until the war’s end. The show received critical acclaim, winning the 2001 Emmy and Golden Globe awards for best miniseries. It also features some of today’s big-name actors, including Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Tom Hardy, and many more.