There are so many TV shows about national matters that necessitate the existence of fictional TV presidents. Some have been serious, thoughtful figures who seem like the stuff of political fantasy, whereas others have been bumblers and in some cases, downright villainous. Whatever the case, there can be no doubt that there have been numerous great fictional TV presidents over the years.
Here is our list of the top five fictional TV presidents of all-time:
Naturally, Josiah Edward “Jed” Bartlet tops this list. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Bartlet was a central figure on The West Wing, which focused a great deal on his personal and political struggles as well as those of the people around him. Generally speaking, he was seen as an open and honest man with both an enviable intellect and a compassionate stoicism, which have led to some critics calling him the “most popular Democratic president in recent memory.”
David Palmer started out as a U.S. Senator as well as the front-runner in the nomination for the Democratic candidate for the United States presidential election on 24 but by Season 2, he had become the President of the United States. As such, he was the second-most important protagonist on the TV show, focusing more on politics while struggling with elements within his own administration, while Jack Bauer handled the action side of things.
Laura Roslin became the President of the Twelve Colonies on Battlestar Galactica by being the 43rd in the presidential line of succession, which made her the highest-ranking survivor following the Cylons’ genocidal sneak attack. Over the course of the TV show, she struggled to lead the 50,000 or so survivors to a new home while coping with her cancer, managing to succeed despite all of the odds against her but not living long enough to see to the eventual colonization of their new home world.
Frank Underwood is the protagonist of House of Cards, who is best-described as a manipulative schemer who is more than willing to murder and ruin other people for the sake of his personal gain. He started out as a Democratic Majority Whip before becoming the Vice President and then the President, being aided on the way by his wife, Claire, who shares his unquenchable lust of power. Some critics have suggested that the character has become too repetitive, but so far, his ability to fascinate can be seen in the awards and accolades that have been heaped upon the actor who plays him, Kevin Spacey.
Selina Meyer was President for all of eight months, but there can be no doubt that there is much love for her as well as the show that she stars in, Veep. After all, most people love a good laugh at inept but entertaining political figures, particularly when the show-makers are determined to dodge the question of their political affiliations in order to keep partisanship out of the way. Given recent events, it is sure to be fascinating to see how ex-President Selina Meyer will top real life events on the political satire.