Andor: 10 TV Shows That Make Bureaucracy Exciting


Political procedures and hierarchies of power might sound like dry subjects on paper, but recent TV hits like Andor and House of the Dragon have turned this kind of bureaucracy into riveting narratives. Andor puts the familiar fascism of the Galactic Empire under a microscope and explores the people who keep the war machine operational, while House of the Dragon examines the interpersonal conflicts of a family vying for the Iron Throne in George R.R. Martin’s richly realized fantasy universe.

From House of Cards to Battlestar Galactica to the original Star Trek series, plenty of TV shows have used genre tropes and compelling characters to make bureaucracy a lot more thrilling than it sounds.


10/10 Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)

A Cylon in the 2004 version of Battlestar Galactica

In the mid-2000s, Ronald D. Moore adapted Glen A. Larson’s late-‘70s sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica to reflect the contemporary political climate. The battle between humanity and the androids they created, the Cylons, was rife with parallels to the real-world geopolitical conflicts that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

While a sci-fi series with strong political themes was a gamble, the show ended up being a crossover hit that struck a chord with audiences who were still reeling from post-9/11 paranoia.

9/10 Loki (2021-)

Loki and Mobius at the TVA in Loki

After Loki gave the time-traveling Avengers the slip with the Space Stone, he got his own Disney+ series exploring the consequences of messing up the timeline. The trickster god joins the TVA, an interdimensional police force keeping the “Sacred Timeline” in check.

The Loki series creates a hilarious juxtaposition between the sci-fi stakes of policing the space-time continuum and the subversive mundanity of the TVA’s work to maintain cosmic order.

8/10 Parks And Recreation (2009-2015)

Leslie Knope in her office in Parks and Recreation

After The Office became a big hit for NBC, writers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur created a different workplace mockumentary for the network, Parks and Recreation, this time tackling local politics. Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman star as an ambitious go-getter and a staunch libertarian, respectively.

In the same way that The Office lampooned corporate culture, Parks and Rec satirized gratuitous government procedure with an honest, hard-working public servant who faces an endless amount of red tape standing in the way of change.

7/10 Game Of Thrones (2011-2019)

Jon Snow and Daenerys on a mountain in Game of Thrones

Throughout its run, Game of Thrones was praised as one of the greatest TV shows ever made. The finale episode was polarizing, but the journey there – adapted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels – is a masterclass in political plotting, all taking place in an immersive fantasy setting.

The overarching storyline in Game of Thrones concerns a group of feuding families all squabbling over a coveted throne, but there are plenty of dragons and beheadings along the way to keep the show engaging.

6/10 House Of Cards (2013-2018)

Robin Wright sitting in a political office in House of Cards

The first original drama that put Netflix alongside HBO and AMC in the prestige TV market, House of Cards, revolves around an ethically bankrupt U.S. politician who teams up with his Lady Macbeth-esque wife to exact revenge on the political rivals who stood in the way of his rise to power.

With its slick style and engaging fourth wall breaks, House of Cards is a sharp, insightful look at the Machiavellian machinations going on behind the curtain in Washington.

5/10 Severance (2022-)

Adam Scott in an elevator in Severance

The trippy premise of Severance revolves around a company that surgically divides the memories of its office workers between their work lives and their personal lives. Adam Scott’s lead character is drawn into a conspiracy when a mysterious colleague appears outside work.

From the mind of series creator Dan Erickson, Severance mixes dystopian sci-fi elements into a traditional workplace comedy to offer a unique, outside-the-box look at the soullessness of corporate work.

4/10 Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)

Captain Kirk with his crew in Star Trek The Original Series

Gene Roddenberry created the perfect vehicle for blending science fiction with social commentary in his iconic 1960s series Star Trek. The show’s use of a speculative distant future to explore contemporary issues proved to be so poignant that the ensuing media franchise is still going strong today.

Everybody in the cast of Star Trek has a rank, and even the captain has to answer to Starfleet. Star Trek is a futuristic, intergalactic study of power dynamics.

3/10 Veep (2012-2019)

Selina drifting off on the poster for Veep

After satirizing British politics in The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci turned his satirical lens to American politics in Veep. In her second iconic sitcom role, Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as a Vice President whose tenure in office is plagued with disaster.

Veep never specifies which party its administration belongs to. Instead, it uses a non-specific political leaning to lampoon the red tape faced by elected officials on both sides of aisle.

2/10 House Of The Dragon (2022-)

Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon

When Game of Thrones became a massive ratings success, spin-offs were inevitable. Set almost 200 years before the beginning of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon has quickly become just as beloved as the flagship series by fans and critics alike.

Although it takes place in the Thrones universe, House of the Dragon has been compared to a different HBO hit. The Targaryen family’s never-ending tug-o’-war over their shared political power evokes the infighting of the Roy family in Succession.

1/10 Andor (2022-)

Dedra Meero with Stormtroopers in Andor

When Lucasfilm announced Andor, an entire streaming series based on a member of Rogue One’s already-dead ensemble, some Star Wars fans felt it was unnecessary. But Tony Gilroy has taken a supporting character from Rogue One and extrapolated his origin story into the ultimate tale of the little people whose daring work is crucial to toppling dictatorships.

In Andor, unlike most other Star Wars media, there are no straightforward heroes and villains. The Rebels have flaws and moral gray areas, while the Imperials all have sympathetic motivations.

NEXT: 8 Best New Characters Introduced In Andor


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