Ryan Murphy does his version of Election with The Politician


When it comes to political dramas, Netflix have it in the bag. With The Crown, Designated Survivor, and basically a huge roster leaning towards political scandal, suffice to say they have the genre covered. And on the other side of the spectrum, their comedy specials and originals, if not always the highest quality, are at least consistently churned out. So what happens when they decide to marry politics and comedy?

Answer: The Politician. I have to say upfront that I’m impressed with this series. From Ryan Murphy, creator of American Horror Story and American Crime Story, it’s a small wonder that the series seems so promising. While his other work continues to receive distribution through Fox, Netflix have bought a share in Murphy’s success and all his new content will be exclusive to the streaming giant. To start with a Ben Platt-led, half-serial, half-anthology collection, is a crowd-pleasing move that will see the series go from one type of election to another, building to a climactic race for the US presidency itself.

Films like Booksmart earlier this year have tackled the idea of incredibly driven, motivated teens who will do anything to achieve their goals. With The Politician, we get another side of the story, watching as high-schoolers with the best intentions transition into a chaotic adult world, learning the ropes of deceit and manipulation to get ahead.

Murphy’s Glee years are a clear influence here, marking out the flamboyant new cast of outspoken, unpredictable characters, sprinkled with one-liners to dazzle your socks off. Never one to shy away from how he really feels about things, Murphy has produced a script that seems right in line with his political views and his love of the entertainment industry. And you can’t overlook the Election influences either: it’s his way of putting his stamp on well-known material. 

With the excellent slogan ‘We promise to promise you everything’, The Politician seems to be Murphy at his best yet, putting phoney politicians under the knife and revealing a fictitious alternate reality of intrigue and cold-blooded ambition that might not be so alien, after all.

The official synopsis is as follows: 

Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), a wealthy student from Santa Barbara, California, has known since age seven that he’s going to be the President of the United States. But first he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School. To get elected Student Body President, secure a spot at Harvard, and stay on his singular path to success, Payton will have to outsmart his ruthless classmates without sacrificing his own morality and carefully crafted image. Full of dark comedy and sly satire, Ryan Murphy’s The Politician offers a rare glimpse into just what it takes to make a politician.

The show constitutes a noteworthy lineup, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, Julia Schlaepfer, Laura Dreyfuss, Rahne Jones, Theo Germaine, David Corenswet, Bob Balaban and Benjamin Barrett. 

Right on time to dig you out of the back-to-school blues, The Politician is set to release on Netflix on September 27. You can take a look at the newly-released poster below.

Sian Francis Cox
Sian is Flixist’s UK Editor and has written for sites including Escapist Magazine, Destructoid, and Film Enthusiast.