Workplace TV shows have always been popular because they give viewers a glimpse into the backstages of certain careers people may be fascinated with, whether we’re talking about businesses, the medical world, politics, or even the army. We get all the comedy, drama, and suspense that these jobs can offer served right under our noses to enjoy.
We’ve put together a list of popular “office” TV shows that will immerse you into the dynamics of various professions, more or less similar to your own. Most of these shows are comedies or have strong comical elements, so entertainment is guaranteed. ;)
1. The office
Probably the best known show out there depicting (a crazy) office life. Ever heard of a mockumentary? This is just what The Office is: a show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. It is an adaptation of a successful British series of the same name. The American version lasted a total of nine seasons, between 2005-2013.
This mockumentary follows the everyday lives of manager Michael Scott (wonderfully played by Steve Carrell) and his employees. The show captures their humorous and bizarre interactions as they do all it takes to keep their paper company alive. You’ll meet all kinds of characters that you’ll surely be able to connect to real people in your own office.
NewsRadio is an American sitcom that aired in the ‘90s (1995-1999), focusing on the work lives of the staff of a New York news radio station. The series is set at WNYX, a fictional news radio station in New York City, populated by a playful station owner and staff. The show begins with the arrival of a new news director, the level-headed Dave Nelson (Dave Foley). While Dave turns out to be less naive than his youthful appearance suggests, he never fully gains control of his co-workers.
The fast-paced scripts and colorful cast combined humor and gags with smart dialogue and absurd storylines. Watching/re-watching this show will surely take you back to the ’90s and their comedy style.
3. Mad Men
Mad Men is a period drama series that ran from 2007 to 2015, while its fictional time frame runs from March 1960 to November 1970. Mad Men is set at Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. According to the pilot episode, the phrase “Mad men” was a slang term coined in the 1950s by advertisers working on Madison Avenue to refer to themselves, “Mad” being short for “Madison”.
The series’ main character is the womanizing advertising executive Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), who is the talented creative director at Sterling Cooper. The plot tracks the people in his personal and professional lives. As the series progresses, it depicts the changing moods and social mores of the United States throughout the 1960s. Mad Men won critical acclaim for its writing, acting, and historical authenticity, and is seen as one of the greatest television series of all time.
4. Ally McBeal
Yet another icon show of the ’90s, Ally McBeal tells the comical story of the lawyer bearing the same name. Calista Flockhart is Ally, a lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish, with other lawyers whose lives and loves are eccentric, humorous, and dramatic. Although a legal drama, the main focus of the series was the romantic and personal lives of the main characters, Ally, her ex-boyfriend Billy, and his wife Georgia, all lawyers working for the same firm.
The series had many offbeat and frequently surreal running gags and themes, such as Ally’s tendency to immediately fall over whenever she met somebody she found attractive. The show also used vivid, dramatic fantasy sequences for Ally’s and other characters’ wishful thinking. The series featured regular visits to a local bar where singer Vonda Shepard regularly performed.
M*A*S*H (an acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) is an American war comedy series familiar to many generations of TV viewers. It aired from 1972 to 1983 and follows a team of doctors stationed in South Korea, during the Korean war.
While the show is traditionally viewed as a comedy, many episodes had a more serious tone. Early seasons aired on network prime time while the Vietnam War was still going on, so the show was forced to walk the fine line of commenting on that war while at the same time not seeming to protest against it. The show’s tone could move from silly to sobering from one episode to the next.
Veep is a political satire comedy series that aired on HBO between 2012-2019. The protagonist is Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a fictional vice president who attempts to make her mark and leave a legacy together with her team, but often instead becomes caught in day-to-day political games. Veep received critical acclaim and won several major awards, including six consecutive Emmy awards for Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ performance.
The series follows the personal life and political career of Selina Meyer, Vice President and, later, President of the United States. After losing the elections in the first season, Meyer becomes prime minister and then president in the third season, when the current president resigns. The sixth season sees her out of office, pursuing personal projects, while in the last season she runs for president for the third time.
Still one of the most appreciated comedy series out there, Cheers ran for 11 seasons, between 1982-1993. The show is set in a bar named Cheers in Boston, where a group of locals meet to drink, relax, and socialize. The show’s main theme song gave its well known catchphrase “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”.
Sam Malone (Ted Danson), a former baseball player, is the fresh owner of Cheers. He hires smart, uptight Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) as a waitress, out of sympathy, but their attraction causes constant disputes and comic relief. More quirky characters fill the picture, as we get to watch the lives of Cheers employees and friendly customers unfold before our eyes for 11 years.
ER is a medical drama television series created by novelist and doctor Michael Crichton. It aired for 15 seasons, between 1994-2009. The show follows the professional efforts and personal stories of the staff working in the emergency room of fictional County General Hospital in Chicago.
Stressful shifts, difficult cases, dramatic events… ER has it all. Including a young George Clooney. The show was hugely popular for being as true to life as possible, with relatable characters and realistic situations. The characters are down to earth and the main focus of the show is the medical aspect.
Other shows worth adding to this list are:
Pick your favorite and press PLAY!