5 Must-See TV Shows for Skipping the State of the Union

Consider the president’s track record. He’s told us that Libya was a triumph, al Qaeda was dead, the war in Iraq was over, the war in Afghanistan was won, relations with Russia have been reset and China is our friend. Given those credentials, it’s fair to conclude that Mr. Obama has about as much to tell us about foreign affairs as the Syfy channel has to say about science.

So where can you find some truly educational television tonight? Here’s some alternative programming that can teach us some important lessons about how to keep America safe.

5. Marco Polo

The Netflix series tells the story of famed adventurer at the court of Kublai Khan. Bloodthirsty, ruthless, cunning barbarian at heart? Yes. Presidential material? No. On the other hand, the great Khan was a strategist who understood the wisdom of China’s greatest military philosopher,

If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer. … If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Compared to a White House that even seems to struggle at parsing friend and foe, this entertainment is refreshing fare.

4. The Walking Dead

In this AMC gore-fest, survivors struggle to avoid becoming brunch in Zombie-land. It’s a great reminder of the kind of world no one wants to live in, where everything falls apart. It doesn’t take zombies for that nightmare to come true. Real-world dangers—from electro-Magnetic pulse to plagues to nuclear war—could do the trick just as well. The Walking Dead illustrates the need to keep America safe from the absolute worse—and to take that responsibility really seriously—all the time.


In this CBS drama, the characters scoff at political correctness. What they focus on is upholding law and order and keeping America safe. Too bad so many of our political leaders seem to reverse those priorities.

2. Sherlock

This British television crime drama features the awesome Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. Wouldn’t it be great if foreign and defense policy were actually managed by smart, objective people—rather than by people who just think they’re really smart? After all, really smart people wouldn’t cling to their notions of how to solve problems when, time after time, those notions have produced poorer results than Lestrade.

1. Saturday Night Live

This mainstay on NBC is at its funniest when it spoofs our leaders—by just showing them acting like themselves. The SNL skit on the administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak is a case in point.

These shows might not save the world, but at least they’re entertaining. The State of the Union address won’t be nearly as gripping—or funny. Sadly, when it comes to discussing what we need to do to keep our nation safe in an increasingly unstable world, the president’s speech is likely to contain more fiction than an episode of Supernatural.