The Lists

What are the Best TV Shows About Office Life?

the best tv shows about office life

Come on, you can admit it. The fun of #WFH has long since faded, and now you’re actually missing office life.  All those things that used to drive you batty  the bad coffee, the bad jokes – are now things that you’re nostalgic for. Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the best television (TV) shows about office life – so you’ll know what to watch to remind you of what you’re missing.

are you actually missing office life?

Though working from home definitely has its charms (hello, pajamas), at this point we’re all starting to miss the office. There’s something special about going to the same place every day, and getting to make something important with the people we care about.

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If you too have found yourself feeling nostalgic for your morning commute, or sitting at your cubicle, or bouncing ideas off of your coworkers in person, we recommend having a little TV marathon to make you feel like you’re working alongside friends. Here are twelve great shows that are all about office-life. Some of them are funny and some of them are dramatic, and all of them will make great substitutes until the day you can once again step foot into your place of business.

What are the Best TV Shows About Office Life?

1. The Office

Though there’ a good chance you’ve already watched it – it is currently the most-watched show on Netflix, in spite of the fact that it ended in 2013 – we feel like we have to include The Office. There is something immensely comforting about Michael Scott and Dunder-Mifflin, so if you’re searching for a soothing office show to help pass the time, you can’t go wrong. And when you’re finished with all nine seasons (not to mention the British version), you can go back and watch two other beloved workplace comedies from creator Michael Schur – Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn 99. 

best shows office life

The Office. Courtesy Photo.

2. Scandal

Another classic from one of television’s most prominent showrunners (in this case, Shonda Rhimes) that you have likely already seen – but if for some reason you haven’t yet, quarantine is the perfect time to dive in. Sometimes the “office,” is the intense political scene of Washington D.C, or specifically, Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm. Full of drama (and the titular scandal), the thriller’s seven seasons never lagged in quality – a rare feat – making it one of the best-ever series about life in politics.

best shows office life

What to watch about office life: Scandel. Courtesy Photo.

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3. Slings & Arrows

If you’re looking for a show you’ve never heard of before, watch Slings & Arrows. In the case of this Canadian comedy, the coworkers are the team behind a declining Shakespeare festival. However, work gets a bit more complicated when the artistic director dies in a shocking accident, and comes back as a ghost to haunt the rest of production (very appropriate, since they’re performing Hamlet). If this sounds like the funniest thing you’ve ever heard of, you’ll definitely enjoy this delightful show.

best shows office life

Slings and Arrows. Courtesy Photo.

4. Superstore

For something that is still on the air: Superstore, starring America Ferrera, is the warm, honest sitcom about the employees of a fictional store called Cloud 9 in St. Louis, Missouri. Though the episodes are only half an hour long, they manage to masterfully and accurately portray both the horrors and humor of what working in a superstore is actually like.

best shows office life

What to watch about office life: Superstore. Courtesy Photo.

5. Ugly Betty

Rather than include just one show starring America Ferrera, we decided to include two. It’s been a few years since Ugly Betty was on the air, but this wholesome and endearing comedy simply never gets old. Ferrera plays Betty, the charismatically clueless woman who starts working at a major fashion magazine under dubious circumstances. If you’re looking for something to watch that has the structure and arcs of an hour-long drama, but that is still sweet and entertaining, this is the one to start today.

what to watch office life

Ugly Betty. Courtesy Photo.

6. Ted Lasso

Apple TV’s hit series Ted Lasso returns for season two in mid-July 2021. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen this quarantine TV hit, see it now. Ted is a U.S. American football coach who heads to the U.K. to manage a struggling London football team in the top flight of English football. His sunny outlook and the show’s sweetly beating heart make this one a must-see. If only all our co-workers were like this!

7. The Bold Type

If you’ve decided you definitely want to watch a show about a magazine, we also recommend The Bold Type. Based loosely on the life of a former editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan, this is a lovely drama about three friends who work together at the fictional Scarlet, and are trying to find their way in the world. You get to explore both their personal and professional struggles, giving the show a perfect tonal balance. Production on their fourth season halted due to COVID-19, but we are excited that there’s more to come.

what to watch office life

What to watch about office life: The Bold Type. Courtesy Photo.

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8. Empire

The only thing more fun than exploring the overlap between work and friendship, is exploring the overlap between work and family. Terence Howard stars as Lucious Lyon, the CEO of a fictional hip hop music company called Empire Entertainment.  In the pilot, he is diagnosed with ALS, and must pick one of his three sons to take over the business – a decision that is made more complicated when his ex-wife, played by Taraji P. Henson, is released from prison. Though the storyline has changed over the show’s six seasons, it has stayed equally engrossing throughout its run.

what to watch office life

Empire. Courtesy Photo.

9. Better Off Ted

What is it about the name “Ted” and office comedies? We’ve mentioned shows set in the entertainment industry, in politics, and in paper products. But what about an extremely mysterious, extremely corrupt, technological conglomerate?  In this satire, Veridian Dynamics is the over-the-top nightmare company that is both absurdist and also probably more realistic than we’d like to think. They experiment on their employees, tell egregious lies to their staff and to the public, and stop at nothing to amass power. For an often ridiculous, always hilarious show that sometimes veers into science fiction, check out this two-season gem.

what to watch office life

One of the best office TV shows: Better Off Ted. Courtesy Photo.

10. The IT Crowd

This British sitcom has an extraordinarily devoted base of fans, and for good reason. Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson star as the IT department of a large company, where they are often treated as less important than everybody else. They are awkward and socially inept, which is endearing, and also turns the episodes into comedy gold.

best shows office life

The IT Crowd. Courtesy Photo.

11. The Mindy Project

After The Office, Mindy Kaling created and starred in The Mindy Project, which is about a fictional medical practice in New York City. While it is technically a doctor show, it has none of the stress of procedurals, and instead turns coworker dynamics into an irresistible romantic comedy. For a lovable half-hour of wish fulfillment about work-life balance, check out this show’s six great seasons.

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what to watch

What to watch about office life: The Mindy Project. Courtesy Photo.

12. Sports Night

If you don’t care about sports, don’t worry. Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night is as much about sports as The West Wing was about politics: though it creates the beautifully written backdrop for what’s happening, the dynamics between the characters are what really drive the story. This is a fantastic look at what running a nightly sports series would be like, with some deeply funny moments and plenty of heart.

what to watch

One of the best office TV shows: Sports Night. Courtesy photo.

 

13. In Contempt

In Contempt takes place in a legal aid office in New York City, with Erica Ash starring as public defender Gwen Sullivan. The show devotes most of its focus to Sullivan’s cases, spotlighting the racism and injustice of the legal system in the United States. Though there are only ten episodes, each is extremely well-written, with three-dimensional characters who come alive on screen. It is a must-watch.

what to watch

What to watch about office life: In Contempt. Courtesy Photo.

14. The Morning Show

An Emmy winner, the Morning Show is a drama that looks at work life through the lens of the team behind a successful morning news show on broadcast television. Based on a non-fiction book by journalist Brian Stelter, it has the awful clank of truth. With Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, it’s a highly polished look at the grubbiness of high-powered workplaces.

15. Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley premiered on HBO in 2014 and ran for six seasons. During which time, a lot of weird and interesting things happened in the tech world in real life. This show is a parody, its protagonist a programmer who founds a startup company called Pied Piper. The moral of this particular story? ” The people most qualified to succeed are often the least capable of handling success.”

the Best TV Shows About Office Life

That’s it!  Our list of the best TV shows to watch if you are feeling somewhat nostalgic and need a reminder about the joys and woes of life in the office.

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Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

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