5 TV Shows for Today's Great Recession

From zombies attacks to scheming bar owners, these shows reflect today's climate of fear and loathing

Despite the best efforts of the central planners in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, the economic recession is still with us. High unemployment is the new normal, general economic malaise persists among the American people, and the government has repeatedly failed in its predictions of recovery summers and the end of the recession.

Naturally, we turn to television to help make sense of it all. Here are the five shows that best reflect today's climate of economic fear and political loathing.

5. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead, based on a zombie comic of the same name, became one of the most successful cable shows in history when its second season premiere broke cable ratings records last year with an audience of more than 7 million. While it might be appealing to interpret the popularity of The Walking Dead’s diet of post-apocalyptic strife as a nod to the recession’s harsh economic realities, the resurgence of zombies in American culture predates the current downturn by at least half a decade with the success of films like the Resident Evil franchise and the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Nevertheless, the pop culture trope of America’s zombie future has been embraced both by government officials and those skeptical of government power.

Bonus points for our age of police abuse: In The Walking Dead world, the sheriff takes charge and acts as judge, jury, and executioner. Sound familiar?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, there's Hulk S*M*A*S*H, starring Alan Alda.

  • ||

    Robot Chicken's still on?

  • Almanian...still||

    What, no love for "Nurse Whatshername"? Drug WARZOMG!, escapist behavior, broken marriage, shady characters of suspect lineage - it's got it all!

  • Broseph of Invention||

    No nudity. I expected more from Showtime.

  • crazyfingers||

    Of course, none of those 5 shows are in the top 10 rated network or cable shows. What are in the top 10 are singing/dancing competitions (American Idol) and crime scene dramas (NCIS-whatever) and a stupid sitcom (Big bang Theory). In cable it's almost all sports (and spongebob apparently.

    http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/i.....ision.html

  • SIV||

    Pro Wrestling still does well.

  • ||

    Are all black people gay?

    Prime Broadcast Programs Among African-Americans - United States
    Week of May 7, 2012
    Rank Program Network Rating Viewers (000)
    1 SCANDAL ABC 10.7 1,812
    2 DANCING WITH THE STARS ABC 10.2 1,959
    3 AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY FOX 8.8 1,687
    4 AMERICAN IDOL-THURSDAY FOX 8.0 1,547
    5 DANCING W/STARS RESULTS ABC 7.9 1,425

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  • ||

    7 BIG BANG THEORY, THE CBS 8.2 13,717

    I wonder how this show fits into Charles Murray's thesis about class in America.

  • SIV||

    I saw an episode of Storage Wars once. Can't say I've seen any of the rest of those shows.I'll stick with TCM.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    No love for South Park's banking episode, with everyone going into debt to buy the margarita machines?

  • ||

    Nobody can possibly know what this margarita machine is worth!

  • ||

    Robot Chicken, like Family Guy, is only good when it isn't being all preachy and up it's own ass. They should stick to what they're good at: stupid.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Those are two shows I consistently fail to get the appeal of.

  • hotsy totsy||

    me too

  • Rick O'Shay||

    Anybody else think that Archer is fairly libertarian?

  • BakedPenguin||

    How so?

  • fried wylie||

    rife with depictions of (quasi-)govt incompetence for one, a limited-govt staple.

  • ||

    I love Archer, but if anything it depicts a failure of privatization. Not very libertarian.

  • Robert||

    Is that based on the Dashiell Hammett character who gets killed quickly?

  • Voros McCracken||

    I really liked Sealab 2021, at least for the first season or so. ATHF is hit or miss (though the terrorist nonsense they caused up in Boston is wonderful). Never seen Archer, do you suppose I'd like?

  • ||

    If you're a snark fan, you will not be disappointed.

  • Surly Chef||

    One of the guys from Sealab and Frisky Dingo came up with Archer.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Sorry, this smacks of liberalism in sense of the personal is the political. Not everything needs to go back to ideology. I just need to know if the show is entertaining.

    Winter is coming.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    I felt the same way until I read Ed's final sentence. I could be wrong, but I think he's making a point out of making a point.

  • fried wylie||

    Slideshows suck. EOM

    (see how i fit my message into as little space as possible?)

  • ||

    So, it requires bad economic times to produce watchable entertainment.

  • ||

    Metalocalypse season 4.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I wanna keep the New Deal.

    I don't want the Old Deal...it sucked...at least for me.

  • Virginian||

    Fine. We create two tax and welfare systems. One is the tax code from 1876, the other is the tax code from 1976. If you chose the "Gilded Age" tax code, you get the benefits of the era. Same thing with the Disco Era taxes and welfare.

    Let's see which works out better.

  • ||

    You're a rich white man?

    Cause those are the only people that have been helped by the New Deal.

  • NotSure||

    Exactly how old were you when the old deal was replaced by the new deal ?

  • Robert||

    Couldn't work Breaking Bad in there somehow?

  • ||

    I watch Storage Wars for the sole misguided hope that Brandy's talent will be exposed.

  • Longtorso||

    I'm still waiting for the anarcho-capitalist paradise of SeaLabia.

  • ||

    All those show suck sweaty balls. Save Storage Wars, it was good for one season.

  • ||

    GAME OF THRONES BITCHES!!!!

  • hotsy totsy||

    LaLa's Full Court Life. Another sports show.

  • joy||

    The Walking Dead, based on a zombie comic of the same name, became one of the most successful cable shows in history when its second season http://www.nikewinkel.com/scho.....-c-49.html premiere broke cable ratings records last year with an audience of more than 7 million.

  • Xerxes||

    Arrested Development in both title and theme of crooked real estate deals in south Orange County seems to me the best encapsulation of the economy.

    These Adult swim shows that can't stay coherent in their *10 minute* time frame are a sign of the apocalypse, I'm sure of it.

  • ChrisO||

    6. Mad Men.

    Unconcealed nostalgia for American economic power at its apex, along with the culture (for good and bad) as it stood before the PC reign of terror began.

    Provides a depressing contrast to the society we live in today.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement