We need a hero, now more than ever. With the political landscape such as it is, sometimes it’s better to go back to the politicians and political heroes you know won’t let you down: The ones from TV.
With that in mind, we dug though our favorite politicized shows to find the absolute best heroes we can always count on. They are characters you can’t forget, because they honestly make you want to expect more from yourself and your country. In these utterly divided times, these are the types of heroes we need — and should aspire to be. (Well, you shouldn’t aspire to be Jack Bauer. There’s a lot of rage going on there.)
Here are five political TV heroes and the bingeworthy shows you should stream to relive their greatness. Better than anything happening in the real world this week…
Jack Bauer, ’24’
- Time commitment: 9 seasons, 204 episodes = 8 days, 12 hours
- Why is it so heroic: Jack Bauer is the action hero of a lifetime and he does it all because he loves his country. Well, mostly because of that. He also seems to be a big fan of torture and trying to keep his daughter alive.
- Hero highlight: Day 5, 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.” (Season 5, episode 24)
- Where to binge it: Amazon
Leslie Knope, ‘Parks and Recreation’
- Time commitment: 7 seasons, 125 episodes = 2 days, 6 hours
- Why is it so heroic: Leslie Knope is the American hero we all secretly want to be. She cares so much about her town and country that she’s willing to do anything for it. She’ll sacrifice at the drop of a hat and manages to always retain a cheery disposition while doing so. Leslie Knope is clearly the best of us.
- Hero highlight: “Article 2” (Season 5, episode 19)
- Where to binge it: Netflix & Hulu
RELATED: This open letter about the election, from ‘Parks & Rec’s’ Leslie Knope, says it all
President Josiah Bartlet, ‘The West Wing’
- Time commitment: 7 seasons, 156 episodes = 6 days, 12 hours
- Why is it so heroic: President Josiah Bartlet is undoubtedly one of the best TV presidents we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Not only did he bring a human side to what most view as an entirely political platform (we all remember too well the heartbreaking moments he spent reassuring the crew members of a doomed navy ship before a Category 4 storm claimed it), he also gave us an example of what American leaders and representatives should aspire to be: Composed, compassionate and committed to making this country worthy of patriotism shown by its citizens.
- Hero highlight: “Let Bartlet Be Bartlet” (Season 1, episode 19)
- Where to binge it: Netflix
Carrie Mathison, ‘Homeland’
- Time commitment: 5 seasons, 60 episodes = 2 days, 12 hours
- Why is it so heroic: Carrie Mathison is motivated by her own belief in her magic powers: She really thinks, even 15 years hence, that she could have stopped 9/11 — if she’d only been off her meds. Season after season, she puts her own body, mind, soul and health on the line to redeem her past mistakes and those of the country she loves above all else. She doesn’t mind being the bad guy — and that makes her a very, very good guy.
- Hero highlight: “State of Independence” (Season 2, episode 3)
- Where to binge it: Hulu
RELATED: ‘Homeland’ Season 6 premiere: New year, new Carrie?
Laurel Healy, ‘BrainDead’
- Time commitment: 1 season, 13 episodes = 13 hours
- Why is it so heroic: She’s a documentary filmmaker that ends up in the political arena and helps to squash an alien invasion when bugs burrow their way into the brains of politicians. Without her, the world might be stuck with an administration bent on destruction. What’s not to love?
- Hero highlight: “I Think I Love You” (Season 1, episode 6)
- Where to binge it: Amazon
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