The 5 Best Libertarian TV Shows Ever

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This video was released on October 1, 2014. Here's the original write-up:

After a long day of Bitcoin mining, even libertarians like to kick back with the intoxicant of their choice and turn on the TV.

Here are five television shows all libertarians should watch.

The Prisoner (1967-1968)The Prisoner follows a British secret agent who wants to walk away from it all but ends up a captive of the very government he once served. Late '60s psychedelia. Paranoia. Long philosophical disquistions about the meaning of life. Series finale set to the Beatles "All You Need is Love." It's all here and the charming insistence that "I am not a number, I am a free man."

House of Cards (2013-present). What more do you have to say about a political soap opera in which a disgruntled congressman lies, cheats, and murders his way to the Oval Office in just two seasons? This Netflix original series is a bracing and long-overdue response to decades of treacly depictions of politicians, journalists, activists, and crony capitalists as motivated only by principle and idealism.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (2003-2010). Hosted by the most memorable duo since Cain and Abel, Bullshit! trained a skeptical eye on everything from bottled water and feng shui to the war on drugs and the death penalty. Never slow to fly their libertarian freak flag, Penn and Teller didn't just debunk popular wisdom, they showed us all how to think more critically, especially about the things we cherish most dearly.

The Wire (2002-2008). Widely considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time, this Baltimore-based drama has been called a visual novel that explores and analyzes class, race, and politics from multiple viewpoints and perspectives. Different seasons keyed in on different institutions—schools, police, the media—and the ways in power was exercised and abused, often in the name of helping the underprivileged.

South Park (1997-present). Now in its 18th foul-mouthed season, South Park has lampooned and satirized everything from pompous Hollywood celebrities to Al Gore's super-cereal campaign against global warming to murderous Islamic terrorists. Along the way, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have taught us all real media literacy by showing us how to identify and spot phony philosophizing, moral panics, and self-interested crusaders a mile way.

About 3 minutes.

Written and narrated by Nick Gillespie. Shot and edited by Meredith Bragg.

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48 responses to “The 5 Best Libertarian TV Shows Ever

  1. Has someone at Reason failed to reset the deadman’s switch?

    1. It’s a way to go around AdBlock to make good on the South Park advertising deal.

  2. I see you haven’t corrected the egregious error of not including Firefly from when this was posted days ago.

    1. Yeah, Firefly should be right up there, right after The Prisoner.

      1. Completely agree, definitely one of the best Libertarian ideological TV shows I’ve ever watched. A classic that everyone should see and unfortunately only 1 season along with a movie.

  3. Isn’t it about time to change the format here? I never liked blog-&-comment as well as peer-to-peer no-time-limit unmoderated threaded discussion formats, but now it seems that Hit & Run is that no longer, but is more like, hit, go away for a short bit, hit again, etc. Why start a new comment thread, when there was a perfectly good one already?

    1. Because it was corrupted with endless discussions on if Firefly should have been included.

  4. Why isn’t Mister Ed on the list?

    1. Same reason “Hogan’s Heroes” isn’t.

      One hint – it rhymes with JOOZ.

  5. Omission of Firefly is odd.

  6. It’s not enough for a show to be libertarian, it has to be good too. That’s why FireFly is not on this list.

    1. it has to be good too

      Fuck off.

    2. Firefly is the best television show ever.

      E.V.E.R.

      You know it because you just read it on the Internet.

    3. So then House of Cards would stand out as an anomaly.

  7. 5 best articles on libertarian shows:

    1) this one

    2) this one

    3) this one

    4) this one

    5) any other one, PLEASE!

  8. I hereby deem this list to be null and void on the grounds that Firefly is not present.

  9. firefly firefly firefly firefly firefly
    firefly firefly firefly firefly firefly
    firefly firefly firefly firefly firefly

    Fuckin’ A people, I’m completely burned out on Firefly and I’ve never watched a minute of it. Even if I had been planning to seek it out on DVD, I’d scrap those plans now because I’m just sick of hearing about it.

    1. …oh wait a second. Christina Hendricks was on two episodes? Did she wear something that accentuated her tits? Maybe I’ll –

      Ah, fuck it. Still not gonna watch.

      1. I watched the premier. It wasn’t very good. Just stick with Serenity.

        1. I never bothered with the movie either because I figured it was aimed at fans of the show and I’d be totally lost.

          Even if that’s not the case, I haven’t been all that impressed by the few Whedon-scripted movies I’ve seen.

          1. The television show is much, much better than the movie. Don’t trust someone who only watched one episode.

      2. “Did she wear something that accentuated her tits?”

        Entirely the opposite.

        1. True, but she’s still ?ber sexy.

  10. If Mister Ed was commander of an interplanetary crime ring, would it be the most libertarian show ever?

    1. You say that like Mr. Ed wasn’t.

      He’s Sec of State now. An even bigger criminal.

  11. How about The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle?

  12. HELL ON WHEELS.

    Cullen Bohannon sticks it to carpet baggers and govt cronies.

  13. BREAKING BAD and WALKING DEAD are libertarian in spirit.

    A dying anti-hero becomes drug lord to provide for his family, evading the DEA.

    Government collapses yet people survive, even w/ zombies.

    1. Hank was portrayed too positively, even though he is an abusive scumbag of a cop.

  14. I don’t watch HOUSE OF CARDS nor THE WIRE, because shows cannot be libertarian when the main characters are cops or politicians.

    Audiences identify with and root for main characters, no matter how slimey they are.

    1. You are one dumb motherfucker, but you’re kind enough to project your idiocy on the rest of us too.

    2. The drug dealers and drug users on THE WIRE get equal time with the cops, and for the most part are more memorable and more sympathetic. The politicians on THE WIRE tend to be the villains. I’m not sure how Season Two of THE WIRE, which is an exercise in nostalgia for trade unionism, counts as libertarian, but Seaons 1,3&4 are excellent.

  15. Deadwood?

    1. Oz?
      X-Files/The Lone Gunmen?

      1. Cowboy Bebop? (there’s actually a lot of anime that would qualify)
        Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
        Max Headroom?

        1. Cowboy Bebop for sure.

          What about its spiritual successor? (Samurai Champloo)

  16. Star Trek:The Next Generation always had some good libertarian principles and lessons in it, from Picard especially. The later spin-off shows started preaching more of a socialist slant, but TNG was pretty good.

  17. FIREFLY!!

    1. Yes definitely. The Williamson County Libertarian Party showed the movie of it and we rushed out and bought the DVD set–not just for the gorgeous Brazilian actress, but it didn’t hurt that she was in it…

  18. Firefly was a great show that definitely showcased freedom over the oppressive government. It mirrors the post civil war era plus a splash of StarWars thrown in for fun. One of the best shows ever, (tragically cut after one season) but reading this list, I realized how pro-libertarian it can be.

  19. Kudos for putting The Prisoner first! But, the omission of The Beverly Hillbillies needs to be mentioned. I know it is not as current or as expensively-produced as The Wire or House of Cards, but much more resonant with libertarian values.

  20. If anyone has seen Davinci’s Demons on Starz, that’s not a too bad show for libertarians. The whole vibe of Florence is one big libertarian society. I mean, there’s tons of corruption, but allowing its citizens to interact with each other in free ways compared to the rest of Italy and Rome at the time was a good step in the right direction. Not a bad show, really.

  21. Adventure Time. If you’re a libertarian and have not watched this show, you are missing out. Not every episode is a epitome for the libertarian way, but a lot are. I could go on about the show from all sorts of deep aspects, but the internet is full of examples already.

  22. Miami Vice implicitly criticized the folly of the War on Drugs 20 years before The Wire got on the space. (Admittedly, The Wire did it better.)

  23. Person of Interest – A well done show on fighting what could happen if we let liberty fade.

  24. Since tuning out of the vidiocracy during the Nixon dictatorship, and unimpressed by the bottom part of the list, I would nominate Danger Man and William Tell. Danger Man was the Cold War Prisoner before Patrick McGoohan turned on and got busted for a harmless enjoyable drug, and William Tell–also a Ralph Smart brainchild–was all about freeing the Swiss from Taxation Without Representation and throttling the accursed looter Hun. These are excellent educational DVD sets for young people.

  25. I suppose no one here watched the Wire very closely, or bothered to do some research on the shows creator, David Simon. Speaking on his political views, Simon once said – “I’m not a Marxist in the sense that I don’t think Marxism has a very specific clinical answer to what ails us economically. I think Marx was a much better diagnostician than he was a clinician.” Perhaps he’s a libertarian Marxist?

    1. Works can be libertarian without being by libertarians. George Orwell was a socialist.

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