Oh, TV. Many of us have a complicated relationship with it. We love that we now have the freedom to binge watch whatever shows we want thanks to the sheer number of streaming services around, but we also hate that there’s just too many shows and not enough hours in the day. There’s just too much good TV out there. But while you may feel bad about some of your guilty pleasures, like say reality shows, there are some career-focused TV shows that you never, ever have to feel guilty about, as they can teach you a thing or two. Read on to find out the top eight shows you should start watching now. Actually, you should have started watching them yesterday. They’re that good. And though you might not feel guilty over spending hour after hour in front of the TV, you still might feel guilty over the potato chips and candy you’ll need to consume as you watch these shows. Can’t help you there though.
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1. The Good Wife
Hands down, this is an awesome show. It’s got it all: a super strong female main character, a cast of lawyers that are equal parts adorable and witty, and enough legal cases to make your head spin while teaching you something at the same time. If you want to watch a fun show that also makes you feel super smart, this is the show for you.
The Good Wife is the type of show that’s totally going to make you want to be a lawyer. Sorry to break it to you, but being a real-life lawyer is nothing like being a lawyer on Good Wife. Or being a lawyer in the movies. Fact: it’s a lot more boring. There’s no pomp and circumstance and intelligent banter between opposing sides. It’s just a lot of paperwork and dead ends. Snore.
So if you can’t be a lawyer in real life, you can at least binge watch a show about lawyers to your heart’s content. There’s a tragic death in season five that will break your heart and spirit and make you cry for days. That’s okay, though. That means you’re a true fan. This is one show you never have to feel guilty for watching because it’s critically acclaimed. And the critics are never wrong. Also, Julianna Margulies has won a ton of Emmys.
2. 30 Rock
Ever wondered what it’s like to work in the writer’s room of a sitcom? Of course you have. That’s basically your dream job. (No? Just me?) Tina Fey’s long-running, super popular sitcom gives you laughs and an insider’s look into the workings of TV. It’s a TV obsessive’s dream show. If you work in the TV industry, you can watch every episode and decide whether any of it is true, or if they got everything wrong. If you work in another, less fun field, you can just watch it for the jokes. If you’re a freelance writer, you can be super jealous and wish you wrote for TV. And for Tina Fey. She’s pretty awesome.
3. The Big Bang Theory
You may be thinking this isn’t a career-focused TV show, maybe you’re just watching it because it’s hilarious. But this ongoing sitcom about a group of total nerds focuses on what it’s like to work in the field of science. Every character works in a lab, or in some sort of scientific research capacity. If you have nothing to do with sciensy jobs, you’ll be super confused throughout every episode that you watch. It’s hard to understand what their jobs actually are. But that’s okay. It’s still hilarious, so don’t let that keep you from watching it. And be glad you don’t work in the scientific field. Because, again, it’s kind of confusing. If you can actually understand what’s going on, then congrats. You are basically the smartest person in the world. It’s probably time to ask your boss for a raise.
4. The West Wing
The West Wing features characters that talk super-fast and work in the White House. The President is played by the brilliant Martin Sheen. It’s actually a ton of fun to watch because the characters deal with real issues and problems and it has enough of a soap opera feel to keep you interested. And if you’re working in the business of politics, it might ring a bell or two.
5. The Newsroom
Are you an Aaron Sorkin superfan? What kind of question is that? Of course you are. So you’ve not only seen every single episode of The West Wing (more than once, probably) but have successfully completed the entire series of The Newsroom.
Journalists love and hate this HBO drama which ran for three seasons and featured a group of broadcast journalists who put together a nightly newscast featuring Jeff Daniels’ character. The behind-the-scenes politics and drama had a touch of reality since the scenarios featured came straight from the headlines. So yeah, it can get a bit confusing. You may feel like you’re living in a total time warp and will keep asking yourself, didn’t that actually happen? Oh right. It did happen. But you’ll live through the confusion and keep watching because it’s the next best thing to being an actual journalist. Which is not always tons of fun. It involves a lot of coffee and trying to get people to talk to you when they don’t want to.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
What, you’re trying to tell me that vampire slayer is not a real career choice? Um, of course it is. Buffy Summer (played by the great Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a super classic TV character. If you haven’t seen this brilliant show created by Joss Wheden, you’ve really missed out. Stop what you’re doing. Go home early – it’s okay, your boss will understand, because they’ll just start gushing about how much they love this show. You’ll learn all the trials and tribulations and pressures of being a vampire slayer, and you can study up for your own career change. I don’t know what the pay’s like, but who needs money when you’re saving the world? I rest my case.
7. Mad Men
If you work in advertising, this show will make you really depressed. Like really, really depressed. You’ll wish that it was the 50s and 60s again and that you could wear adorable suits or fancy dresses and smoke in the office and drink cocktails from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Well, you still could do those things. You just might lose your job. But that would be okay because you would be super awesome.
If you haven’t watched Mad Men yet, what’s your excuse? No really, what reason could you possibly have? It’s beautifully written and acted and it may be slow compared to other dramas, like say Game of Thrones where someone dies like every five seconds. But it focuses on the wonderful and not so wonderful world of advertising and it’s worth some of your super valuable coach potato time.
8. House of Cards
House of Cards is a Kevin Spacey-starring Netflix original. Kevin Spacey plays a politician that has zero heart and feelings. It’s a pretty cold show. If you ever wanted to run for political office, watch this and you’ll change your mind ASAP. The world of politics is a cut-throat one. This show may not be part of the horror genre but maybe it should be. You won’t find such backstabbing, money and power hungry people on any other show. But that’s what makes it so much fun. It’s sure to get your intrigue buds tingling.
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Are you a total fan of any of these career-focused shows? If not, well, just wait. You will be after you watch the shows on this list. Your head will be full of newfound career dreams. So what are you waiting for? Start watching now!