There’s probably a lot about the stock market and finances that goes way over our heads when we’re not actually working in Wall Street or its equivalent in other countries.
Even blockbuster, award-winning films like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Pursuit of Happyness can only tell us so much about it!
Hopefully, this list of the best TV shows about Wall Street, finance, and the stock market will shed a little bit of light on this intimidating and fast-paced industry.
The non-scripted shows will even give viewers a look into what really goes on behind the numbers, telephone calls, and graphs that we associate with the business!
THE BEST SCRIPTED TV SHOWS ABOUT FINANCE, TRADING AND THE STOCK MARKET
Black Monday, Showtime (2019 – 2021)
October 19, 1987. Those on Wall Street on that day will remember it well and may even get shivers when thinking about it to this day.
It was known as Black Monday, and that day was witness to one of the worst international stock market crashes in Wall Street history.
Showtime’s Black Monday is set in the 1980s and follows the employees of the Jammer Group trading firm, who are dealing with various personal conflicts, shady business deals, and professional mishaps leading up to that fateful day.
Will this finally explain what really triggered Black Monday?
Bull, TNT (2000 – 2001)
The title of TNT’s drama series Bull is a reference to the type of perceived financial market behavior that sees stock market prices rising over a period of time.
In that sense, it reflects the show’s plot in that the series shows the intended rise of a new firm on Wall Street as well.
It tells of Robert ‘Ditto’ Roberts III, a legacy from a family of investment bankers and the grandson of the company he works for.
Ditto turns away from family heritage in an attempt to make his own way and, along with a group of colleagues, leaves their company to start their own amidst the already fierce competition.
The $treet, Fox (2000)
The $treet is a one-season drama series from Fox that aired just 12 episodes and was set against the backdrop of corporate stock trading.
In particular, events primarily unfolded in a small Wall Street trading and brokerage house called Belmont Stevens.
Viewers learn about the lives of their employees and what working for a small firm entails, especially when you have a mix of experts and interns, different trading styles, and sexism.
When a woman becomes their new brokerage supervisor, she finds herself always butting heads with the male employees under her management.
Billions, Showtime (2016 – present)
On Wall Street, there are stock brokers and investment bankers, and there are also hedge fund managers.
Showtime’s Billions follows one of the latter, Bobby Axelrod, as he powers his way through the world of high finance, accumulating influence and wealth along the way.
However, his means aren’t always the cleanest in intention or method, which puts him on the radar of US Attorney Chuck Rhoades who will stop at nothing to prosecute him.
The two men play a game of cat and mouse, using every connection necessary to achieve their goals.
Kane & Abel, CBS (1985)
The 1985 miniseries Kane and Abel from CBS contained just three episodes and was adapted from a 1979 novel of the same name by Jeffrey Archer.
Both the novel and three series tell the story of two men from opposite sides of the world – and opposite sides of society.
William Kane is the son of a successful banker while Abel Rosnovski grew up surrounded by hardships from all sides.
All they really have in common is a shared birthday and, as they discover when they finally cross paths, the shared dream of success and triumph.
Traders, Global Television Network (1996 – 2000)
Traders is the first Canadian series on the list and subsequently, is also the first that’s NOT centered around Wall Street.
Instead, we’re transported to Toronto’s financial district of Bay Street and straight to the Gardner Ross investment bank.
Sally Ross has recently stepped into the role of partner when her father is arrested for embezzlement.
Amidst her personal struggles, she fights to maintain control over the firm and its employees as the hallways are always filled with intrigue, gossip, and illicit affairs.
Industry, HBO (2020 – present)
Another finance TV series that doesn’t take place in the high-stakes world of Wall Street but that’s still very much worth mentioning is HBO’s Industry.
Instead of Wall Street, this show is set in the cutthroat world of international finance in London and follows a group of ambitious graduates competing for a permanent position at a prestigious investment bank called Pierpoint & Co.
The young graduates must prove their worth to their employers and colleagues, while also dealing with personal issues and ethical dilemmas.
Industry is a gripping drama that offers a behind-the-scenes look into the world of finance and the challenges faced by young professionals in this fast-paced, high-pressure industry.
King of Stonks, Netflix (2022)
Lastly, for the final scripted series on this list, we have Netflix’s Kind of Stonks, a miniseries that Entrepreneur magazine called the “German Wolf of Wall Street”.
Netflix’s six-episode series tells a story about a man so desperate to climb the ranks of the finance world that morals just go straight out the window.
The fintech company at the center of it all is CableCash, and the series dives into the relationship between its executives, as well as the lies and deception that abound amongst the regular employees as they scramble their way up the corporate ladder.
THE BEST NON-SCRIPTED TV SERIES ABOUT WALL STREET
Wall Street Warriors, MOJO HD (2006 – 2009)
What better way to really understand how Wall Street works than to follow around the people who are front and center in it, right?
We’re not talking about the executives, but the white-collar workers who are actually in on the action.
Wall Street Warriors is a three-season documentary TV show that features several different Wall Street entrepreneurs.
Each has their own nickname to give an idea of what exactly they do – from stock traders, portfolio managers, and analysts!
Gaming Wall Street, HBO Max (2022)
A recently premiered original documentary from HBO Max is Gaming Wall Street, a miniseries with just two episodes.
Right at the onset of 2021, American video game retailer GameStop experienced a short squeeze – when stock prices skyrocketed primarily because there was too much supply and not enough demand.
This led to huge consequences and losses, and Gaming Wall Street dives deep into what caused it.
In the process, they unearth the seedy transactions that often occur in the industry that we’re rarely ever privy to.
Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga, Netflix (2022)
HBO Max wasn’t the only network that jumped onto the investigation of what really went down with GameStop and Wall Street.
In 2022, Netflix also released a three-episode documentary miniseries on the stock market phenomenon.
The difference is that Netflix zoned in on the group that tried to “rectify” the situation after the short squeeze: “amateur traders” from a digital community that found each other through Reddit.
They came together with the goal of saving GameStop, and it’s been deemed a 21st-century “David vs. Goliath” story in the digital finance industry.
The Legacy of Black Wall Street, OWN (2021)
While it’s not surprising that Wall Street is the first place to come to mind when talking about the stock market, it should also be known that roughly 100 years ago, there was another financial district well on the rise: Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It was one of the wealthiest Black communities in the country and held businesses and residences until racial violence brought it all to a halt.
OWN’s The Legacy of Black Wall Street is a two-episode miniseries that looks into the rise of Black Wall Street and the events of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, Netflix (2023)
When you think about Netflix’s 2023 documentary Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, you might ask yourself: “Is this a stock market documentary, or is it more true crime?” Because the lines here are definitely blurred.
The name may be familiar to many in the industry: Bernie Madoff was one of the biggest names in finances before he was shed in a very different light as the man behind the largest Ponzi schemes in history.
The four-part documentary talks about Madoff, sure, but also points out the many other contributors who saw red flags but never acted on them.
American Greed, CNBC (2007 – present)
American Greed is CNBC’s longest-running original primetime series, and the now 15-season documentary series is a testament to just how many white-collar crimes happen across the country.
Big or small, American Greed dives deep into all of them.
Some of the episodes cover huge cases of high-profile financial scandals involving many household names, while others focus on cases of credit card fraud, Ponzi schemes, money laundering, and theft that have affected average American businesses as well.
Million Dollar Traders, BBC Two (2009)
In the 1980s, a type of experiment was conducted by successful trader Richard Dennis who believed that trading could be taught.
As such, he recruited and trained 21 men and women and taught them the ropes, leading them to later embark on their own paths of success in trading.
This was replicated in Million Dollar Traders, where 12 novice and wannabe traders (ranging in the profession from a fight promoter, IT consultant, working mother, and even a student) were trained in the field to prove that beginners could indeed become professional traders.
Mad Money with Jim Cramer, CNBC (2005 – present)
Another long-running series from CNBC is Mad Money with Jim Cramer, the eponymous host of which is a TV personality and former hedge fund manager.
To explain the title, Cramer defines mad money simply as funds that you would invest in stocks!
The series focuses on Cramer’s insight into the financial jungle and how investing can help you to make money.
A favorite feature of the show is when he accepts calls from viewers and gives advice on current stocks on the fly!