What TV to Watch for Fall Flu Season

It’s that special time of year again: the leaves are turning orange, there is a frosty bite to the air, darkness falls earlier and earlier. And you’re stuck in bed, taken out of commission by any number of nasty viruses that rear their buggy heads as soon as the seasons change.

It doesn’t matter if you bathe twice a day in Purell. Chances are, you’re going to get sick this fall and be forced to stay home from work, a snot-ridden, sore throated, feverish mess. While “resting a lot” does little for life’s productivity, there is one upside: you have the chance to catch up on all those TV shows that you’ve been too busy to watch. This guide will help you decide which series is perfect for you based on your illness.

Head Cold

A cold is one of the most annoying illnesses to have: you’re head weighs about twice what it should, and there is so much mucus in there you think it’s going to start coming out of your ears. But other than that, you feel fine. It’s just bad enough to keep you home, but not bad enough for your coworkers to send you soup and “Get Well Soon” presents.

Diagnosis: 1 – 2 days bed rest.

TV to keep you occupied: Short and punchy is key here. This as a mini-vacation rather than sick leave.

  • Freaks and Geeks: think a more cheerful My So-Called Life with a star-studded Judd Aptow cast. The show chronicling the trials and tribulations of teens in the early 80s’ suburban Michigan is still hailed as one of the top series to come out of the late-90s, even if it totals all of 18 episodes. You’ll be able to conquer the entire season in two days of serious watching and love it so much, you’re willing to catch another cold just to watch it over again.
  • How I Met Your Mother, season 2: it’s this decade’s remake of Friends, even though most of us are kind of over that model. The friends-hanging-out-in-an-apartment-and/or-a-bar witty repartee doesn’t require a first time viewer to have the whole back story, so you can dive into random episodes of season two (hands down the show’s peak) and get in some good, easy laughs between gargling hot salt water.

Strep Throat

Strep is inconvenient because it really hurts, regardless of how many Ricola’s you suck down. It doesn’t really get better just by waiting it out, so until the doctor writes you a prescription, you’re going to be contagious and out of commission.

Diagnosis: 4 – 5 days of misery

TV to keep you occupied: You’re going to need a little bit of intellectual intrigue if only to distract yourself from your aches and pains.

  • 30 Rock: Tina Fey’s sorta-but-not-really autobiography of running a sketch-comedy show in New York City will keep your chortling through your sore throat without a care in the world. If you haven’t lived completely devoid of television for the past four years, chances are you’ve already seen some 30 Rock. Strep is the perfect time to catch up on missing episodes so you can dive into the freshly-premiered fifth season with the rest of us.
  • Dexter, season 1: a serial killer who only kills serial killers – most of the time. The complexity of season one is raw right on the surface: you adore Dexter, but he’s a murderer… right? Are you supposed to root for him? It’s got a great cast, an introduction to die for, and just enough gore to keep you enthralled – so curl up with your never-ending supply of hot beverages and get watching.


It’s the sick to conquer all sicks. You’ll be too tired to even go to sleep, and when you do finally crash into a 15-hour fever dream, you’ll wake up to feel even more groggy than when you started. You’ll probably have a sore throat to match your swollen glands, dopey, tired eyes, and bed head. And you might want to get used to it…

Diagnosis: 2 weeks – 2-1/2 months of feeling like garbage

TV to keep you occupied: You’re going to be in this for the long haul. Aim for the super-star shows that had a long run and never lost their ratings.

  • Sex and the City: Yes, boys, even you. After your initial detachment over four vaguely-dysfunctional, fictional ladies living in Manhattan, you’re going to be begging for an episode 95. The rest of us have probably already watched (and re-watched) Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte on their six-year journey, but that doesn’t mean we’re over it.
  • Mad Men: It’s one of the most critically acclaimed shows of the past five years, and it seems to only get better. Yesteryear’s ad men (and a couple women) have revitalized 60s chic and opened our eyes to a whole other era of office drama and family politics. Mad Men was made for mono.

Guest contributor Emma Stover writes about satellite TV and satellite TV shows for SterlingSatellite.com. She likes 30 Rock the best.

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