First I had to find British dramas on Netflix to fill my Downton Abby void, now that I’ve watched all of season two of Netflix’s House of Cards I’ve been on the hunt for other great political dramas to watch while I wait for season three to be released. If you’re caught in the same dilemma you might want to checkout these 8 political films and television series, some of which I have watched an others that are on my list.
House of Cards (BBC 3 part miniseries)
Of course my first fall back while waiting on the Netflix series is the BBC original series. The stories are obviously similar but with the variance of British politics versus US politics. My first love was the BBC version but now that I’ve gone through two seasons on Netflix I’m torn between which is my favourite. Each has its merits and downfalls.
Enemy of the State (1998 movie)
This is a little more action-oriented political drama involving congressmen, NSA agents, spy gadgets, personal and political gain. Of course having Gene Hackman and Will Smith as the lead characters made it entertaining to watch.
Iron Lady (2011 movie)
Like House of Cards dealt with the rise of Congressman Underwood’s rise to the Presidency, Iron Lady looks at Margaret Thatcher’s rise to British Prime Minister. Funny enough, the original House of Cards explores Chief Whip Francis Urquhart’s rise (and subsequent fall) to the role of Prime Minister after Thatcher. As the Iron Lady is suppose to be somewhat biographical, I’m not sure how much conniving and bed jumping you see in this film compared to the totally dramatized House of Cards but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a great political drama worth watching. It’s certainly on my movie night list.
Page Eight (2011 movie)
I haven’t yet seen this movie but after watching Bill Nighy as a hitman in Wild Target (a great movie that sadly isn’t on Netflix Canada) I was intrigued to see him in Page Eight. A long time MI5 employee (Nighy), a sensitive file, and the secrets the British Prime Minister wants to keep makes for an interesting hour and a half of television viewing.
MI5 (Spooks) (10 seasons)
Government sanctioned secret spy agencies are always intriguing to me. MI5 deals with the role of Britain’s spy agency in protecting the country from terrorism and espionage. The cast has changed over the years, loosing some of my favourites, but I am always hooked when I watch this show.
The Hour (2 seasons)
My husband and I stumbled upon The Hour under related shows (a feature I love about Netflix Canada). I was drawn to the show because Dominic West (from The Wire) is one of the main characters. The six-part mini series spreads over two seasons. The Hour is the name of the journalistic television show that takes place in the 60’s. It’s interesting to see the control the government has in what is reported and the secrets. This was definitely a binge watch for me.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011 movie, remake)
I am a big fan of the original 1979 mini-series with Alex Guinness but the 2011 remake is just as entertaining and suspenseful. It is another great political spy drama involving MI6, a mole, and double agents during the cold war. There are so many great actors in this film too, including Gary Oldman (an amazingly versatile actor in my books), Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbach.
Homeland (2 seasons)
I just finished watching season two of this series on Netflix Canada. Like the Manchurian Candidate, of which you’ll find the 2004 remake movie also on Netflix Canada, the concept of a prisoner of war brain washed into performing terrorist acts is the premise behind Homeland. The series does a great job seconding guessing your conclusions causing you to question which guys are the real bad guys, including the American government.
Hopefully these shows will fill my time (and yours) until season 3 of Netflix’s House of Cards airs.