By Courtney E. Smith
America the beautiful. This land is our land, this land is your land. But if you’re not planning to leave the land of your couch this holiday, for reasons of weather or simply personal choice (we like to calling it exercising your right to wear underpants), you can still do your most patriotic duty as an American and celebrate our nation by watching TV—lots and lots of TV.
We’ve complied a list of great shows to binge-watch over 4th of July weekend in celebration of America. Some will teach you a little something about history, some will show you how different being an American can look through the eyes of others and some are simply the expression of the distinctly American freedom of speech: through profanity, comedy and absolutely inappropriate humor.
At their heart, all of these shows love America and what it stands for, although some of them show it with tough love. So get out your flag and a sheet cake (but maybe don’t light any fireworks since you’ll be inside) and prepare to get your patriot on, one episode at a time.
1. John Adams
What better way to know history than by watching it play out? This miniseries, based on David McCullough’s best-selling biography of our second president, offers a front-row seat to the very birth of our nation.
2. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
This Ken Burns and PBS six-part documentary follows 150 years of America’s national parks, highlighting locations and the historical figures behind them. Alongside that, Burns features modern-day stories in parks locations, from the park rangers who work there to photographers who capture their beautiful vistas.
3. Drunk History
Real history, mostly Americans, never sober: Hear the stories of remarkable individual people from Al Capone to Dolley Madison to Edgar Allan Poe told not quite in the way you remember. Hear them told drunk, and therefore told funnier.
4. Aerial America
If you’re not out actually traveling it, get a bird’s eye view of some of the sights and landmarks that make up the country. This series travels 10 states and using helicopter-distance aerial views highlights remarkable spots, buildings, highways and biways in a way you’ll likely never see them otherwise, traveling from California to Rhode Island to Arkansas.
The adage, “it’s funny because it’s true” might just be the key to the dark humor that makes Veep so watchable. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays fictional VP Selena Meyer and fumbles her way through life in the White House, with as many curse words, insults and faux pas as possible.