7 Political Movies And TV Shows To Distract From Our Own Hellscape Election

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If you somehow live in Australia and don’t know there’s an election going on, surprise I guess? If you know there’s an election going on, you’re probably trying desperately to stay away from hell. Then you should probably watch political TV shows and movies. Stay with me.

From limited climate policies to continued unnecessary attacks on the trans community, this election is shaping up to be the plot of a b-list horror movie.

So this week’s Gizmodo Movie Night is all about political movies and TV shows to prepare you for (and distract you from) the upcoming election.

I know it’s hard to believe, but these shows and movies might actually be worse than the situation we find ourselves in right now, so I guess that’s heartwarming.

Let’s dive into it.

Gas lighting (2022)

Gas lighting is the latest political thriller unpacking the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. Mostly the untold stories and characters left over from the history books.

Julia Roberts stars as Martha Elizabeth Beall Mitchell, wife of John N. Mitchell (United States Attorney General under President Richard Nixon), who was incredibly vocal about her criticism of the government during the Watergate scandal.

Since corruption is a buzzword in our own elections, Gas lighting is the perfect political drama to watch if you want to know how far government corruption can go.

The show is currently airing, so I won’t tell you too much. Gas lightingbut it is a very interesting take on political corruption and maybe it will make you realize how important anti-corruption watchdogs are.

Julia Roberts is, as expected, phenomenal as Martha Mitchell and the show does justice to her legacy.

Gas lighting currently broadcasting on Stan.

Veep (2012-2019)

If there is one political spectacle that can distract us from the hell that is the current election in Australia, it is Veep.

Legend, icon, and all-around superstar Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as former U.S. Senator Selina Meyer who tries her best (sometimes) to be Vice President.

Throughout the show, Selina and her team are constantly scrambling to air scandal after scandal, both in her public and private life.

Not only is it incredibly funny, but it also packs a lot of social commentary in a way that isn’t immediately obvious.

Veep has everything you need in a political TV show. From the ins and outs of American politics, from corruption, dodgy dealings, stabbings in the back, deals and handshakes under the table to a blatant disregard for the American people they are meant to serve.

It’s also packed with humorous satire that will give you a good laugh, which is much needed given the state of our political landscape.

Veep currently broadcasting on frenzy.

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

The purge the films are quite iconic for their terrifying concept of ordinary citizens legally become killing machines one night a year. However, nothing is scarier than an election campaign turning murderous.

In The Purge: Election Year, Police Sergeant Leo Barnes is given the terrifying task of protecting presidential candidate Charlie Roan after she becomes the main target of the Purge night.

The purge capitalized on the scare that was the 2016 US election between Hillary Clinton and former President Donald Trump, which we all know was a terrifying ordeal in itself.

I think what’s most terrifying The purge is that it doesn’t seem like such a distant concept that politicians will try to implement in our own reality.

If you want to be somewhat thankful that, horrible as things may seem politically, we don’t have a legal crime night, then take that as a win, I guess.

The Purge: Election Year currently broadcasting on Netflix.

Total control (2019-)

Now Total control is a political TV show that I would love to see play in our own elections.

The show follows Alex Irving, an Aboriginal woman from rural Queensland, who gains media attention after a heroic action and urges the Prime Minister to recruit her as a Senator.

Total control explores how the Australian Parliament and the media treat Indigenous peoples, especially women, in the public eye. It’s also very telling of how white politicians try to use Indigenous people as tokens to garner sympathy votes.

Having a strong Indigenous woman shaking up the Australian political landscape is something I wish had happened this election. Women like Lidia Thorpe, however, give some hope.

Total control is also a very accurate depiction of Australian politics and how Indigenous and rural Australians are often overlooked and trampled on when it comes to politics.

My favorite quote from the show is “A talkative Blakfella as Prime Minister? Yeah, I’d like to see that. Us too Alex Irving, us too.

Total control currently broadcasting on ABC iView.

Election (1999)

Yes, this movie isn’t technically about political elections, but I think that’s why it’s the perfect distraction from what’s going on around us right now.

Election centers on a high school election where Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) runs unopposed for president. It’s only when a teacher, Jim, notices her unusual (read: unethical) tactics to get what she wants, so he convinces the school’s star athlete to run against her.

The funniest part of this movie is the bitter feud between Tracy and Jim.

Using unethical tactics to get what you want is certainly something that seems too close to home in Australian politics.

Election is the perfect black comedy that will definitely brighten up the election for you (hopefully).

Election currently broadcasting on Stan.

Designated Survivor (2016-2019)

When talking about political TV shows, it’s hard to ignore Designated Survivor.

After a mysterious attack kills the president and wipes out everyone else in the line of succession, a cabinet minister is forced into the top job as he becomes the designated survivor.

The plot is terrifying and an interesting take on the whole concept of a designated survivor.

It’s a show that will hook you and leave you wanting more as things unfold and mysteries are revealed. It’s hard to talk about the show without spoiling it so I’ll let you watch and have fun.

Designated Survivor currently broadcasting on Netflix.

secret city (2016-2019)

It’s great to see an Australian political TV show get the kind of reception that secret city done, especially when it is absolutely deserved.

secret city tells the story of Canberra’s political underground, divided by loyalties, lies and opportunistic greed, as a political reporter tries to uncover a conspiracy. A plot that can jeopardize the freedom of all Australians.

It’s so interesting to see inside Australian politics and how Canberra works and operates in the public eye.

Canberra gets a bad wrap for being boring and dull but after watching secret city, you’ll see that’s all but dull.

Plus, it’s quite fun to watch this show and think about what’s going on in Canberra right now during this election.

secret city is steaming frenzy and Netflix.


Gizmodo Movie Night is our bi-monthly roundup of movie and TV recommendations for the weekend. If you’re ever stuck and looking for inspiration, check out our list and see what awaits you.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the column and check out our last one which was dedicated to 9 Iconic On-Screen Mothers We Need IRL.

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