(Edit: title frames the question better thanks to @TheRubberDuck)
This has been bugging me for a while; enough to join this wonderful community - thanks for any help you can offer! Keep in mind English/Literature isn't my field, so apologies in advance if I'm misusing certain words (and feel free to correct).
Every now and again, I find a work that depicts a fictionalized version of a real-world series with adjustments that feel thematically similar to a parody, yet fundamentally does so to show a world where the system works better. That is, the work comments on the real world through a mix of imitation and allegory, but almost to show how 'better' people would handle the world. Consider West Wing, which depicted the country being led by quantifiably brilliant people whose primary motivation comes from a genuine sense of altruism. The show, on occasion, does parody a real-world character that the creator dislikes, but the primary focus of the show is almost something of a wish-fulfilment or aspirational outlook for what the real world could be.
I'm not sure this is necessarily something akin to a dystopian/utopian fiction genre per se, whose works tend to be more speculative, and whose goal feels more prospective than reflective.
This response started to get at it, but the question itself, as well as the responses, more are getting towards a dramatic parody or humorless lampooning, which isn't quite what I'm asking.
Even if technically accurate, I think the word parody just about always implies a derogatory or mocking tone in the mind of the reader.
I really don't think satire is a good fit, as I understand its primary purpose to be to mock or ridicule another work.
I don't believe homage would be a good fit, as the goal of the work isn't to imply that the real-world equivalent is worthy of praise.
In other words, the given antonyms for parody and satire tend to be words like "frankness, solemnity, or flattery/praise" - which again isn't the necessarily the goal of this unique niche of literature and media.
I spent a decent amount of time trying to clarify this question here, but please don't hesitate to ask any clarifying questions - again, really appreciate your insights!