Ultimate flu TV binge: What to watch when you’re stuck on the couch

Information verified correct on October 25th, 2016

Sickness runs rampant in offices during winter. Avoid boredom with our top recommendations for what to watch on Foxtel Play while you're recovering.

Whether you’re faking it or on your very last legs, we’ve chosen 10 excellent movies and TV shows for you to watch while you’re suffering.

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Ferris Beuller's Day Off

1 - Just not feeling it

You’ve put the groundwork in the day before: dropped a few forced coughs, spoke in a generally flat and defeated tone for most of the day. Now all that's left to do is to message your boss, and regrettably confirm you are “sick”. Your boss replies with a thoughtful “get well soon” message and a fleeting wave of guilt rushes of you. Then you stumble out of bed and the realisation hits you: the day is yours.

You should watch… Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The appropriate viewing choice is obviously Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This John Hughes classic is a celebration of your achievement and because you’re not actually delirious from pain (as you’d have your colleagues believe), you’ll have no problem enjoying this light-hearted romp.

The Walking Dead

2 -  A tickle in your throat

Ok, so you’re not keeled over in bed with a warm cloth on your forehead (yet!) but the last thing you want is to spread something around the office. Plus, in your completely uneducated opinion, a day off is exactly what you need to fend off the virus at the gates. The safest place for you right now is on the lounge, covered in blankets with a remote in your hand. Honestly, your friends and colleagues will thank you for averting a global epidemic.

You should watch.. The Walking Dead

Watching The Walking Dead will make you glad you stayed at home. You’ve successfully staved off the apocalypse and you and your friends don’t have to live hopelessly on the run. The Walking Dead’s over-the-top gore and anxiety-inducing episodes should still be digestible at this stage of your illness.

The Strain

3- Sneezing panda

The dark rings around your eyes are telltale signs that you stayed up all night streaming TV shows, but you’re still feeling like you could run a marathon. That is, until your nostrils begin to tingle before letting loose a geyser of infectious bacteria. By this point you’ve watched enough of The Walking Dead to know that you are, in fact, patient zero and that returning to work could spell the downfall of not only your office but of all humanity.

What should you watch… The Strain

You picked it. Everybody doubted the legitimacy of your claims to sickness and, sure, it only started as a tickle in your throat, but deep down you knew this was the start of something nefarious. You’re a real-life Dr Ephraim Goodweather, the CDC epidemiologist at the heart of the horror television series, The Strain. This vampire horror kicks off when a plane filled with 206 infected corpses (at this stage, you can totally relate) arrives at JFK airport from Berlin– just the start of an ancient plot to destroy humanity.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

4 - The dreaded sniffles

Why, oh why did you take your wellbeing for granted? Overnight, what was a timid and pleasurable sneeze has transformed into full-blown sniffles. You’ve woken up this morning surrounded by tissues, with a top lip lathered in Vicks and a generally gloomy outlook on life. You boil the kettle, prep the hot water bottle and curse your bad luck.

You should watch… Curb Your Enthusiasm

Right now, life seems cruel and unfair. All you wanted was to take a cheeky sick day and now you’re paying the price. There is only one man to turn to in times like these: Larry David. David, a constant victim of circumstance, finds himself in enough cringe-worthy scenarios to turn the strongest of stomachs, He also offers a deeply cynical view of humanity, something you can empathise with in this time of struggle.

8 Out of 10 Cats

5 - Swallowing razors (the point of no return)

Three days have passed since that first faint tickle in your throat. You took all the right steps: drank honey and lemon tea, soaked in a nice hot bath and most importantly, undertook 12 hours of therapeutic television binging. So why does it feel like your throat is being punished for swallowing a glass of water? Call the boss. Things just got serious.

What you should watch… 8 Out of 10 Cats

This may well be the very last chance you have to laugh. Make the most of it.
For years, Australians were deprived of this absolutely brilliant game show featuring the hilarious Sean Locke and one of the harshest comedians of all time, Jimmy Carr. 8 Out of 10 Cats is a statistics-based quiz show where the contestants compete in a series of rounds with questions from polls and the week's news – it’s like Family Feud but less boring.

The Brink

6 - Body aches and a temperature

By this stage in your sickness, you’re already milking it. You’ve got your chicken and corn soup, a pillow fortress and if you’re very lucky, someone massaging your back. You’ve been made so comfortable that this whole flu thing doesn’t seem all that bad. What you need now is comedy, but not something laugh-out-loud (that’d give you away). You need something subtle, something smart, something like…

You should watch… The Brink

Featuring a stellar cast led by the beloved Tim Robbins and Jack Black, The Brink is a dark-humoured political comedy. Black stars as a down-on-his-luck Foreign Service officer who is sent to the Embassy of the United States in Islamabad. The Brink got off to a slow start but has since picked up the pace. What better time to plow through those first few episodes?


7 - The chesty cough

You remember longingly the days of popping champagne bottles. Now the only thing you’re popping is the lid off some expectorant. Will life ever return to normal? At this point it seems unlikely. Now is not a time for long and complicated dramas like Breaking Bad. Not only will you be rewinding every two seconds thanks to your persistent cough, but your throbbing head just can’t carry the weight of such a complicated plot right now. No, what you need is some easy, brainless entertainment.

You should watch… 90s action movies

Choose something you’re well acquainted with and something so mind-numbing that it actually substitutes for the heavy-duty codeine you're mainlining.  We recommend the Robocop and Rambo trilogies for over 7 hours of explosion therapy.

Pawn Stars

8 - Flu confirmed

The flu. A harsh and unforgiving mistress. All you wanted was one innocent day off from the office grind and now you’re gripping onto life by a thread. Nothing in this entire world could make you smile at this point. Eventually the situation becomes so depressing and dark you arrive to a place you’d never wish to find yourself – naked on the couch watching *gulp* Pawn Stars.

You should watch… Pawn Stars

Look, you never wanted this, we know that, but there’s no shame in admitting defeat. Right now, your skin burns like the raging surface of the sun you haven’t seen in 5 days and the migraine that just won’t quit has all but blinded you. Pawn Stars or worse Pawn Stars Australia is about all you are physically capable of handling right now.

OJ Simpson: The Trial of the Century

9 - Medicated bliss

Thanks to days of broken slumber you’ve found yourself waking up at the strangest hours with no hope of falling back to sleep. You pop some night-time cold and flu tablets, some codeine for good measure and something else you fumbled for in the dark. Then, as you’re laying wide-eyed in bed, you get a second wind. The medication has kicked in and you feel like you could go for a jog around the block, start living again. Alas, it is 3am in the morning and that would be absurd, so you make the most of this euphoric state by watching…

You should watch… OJ Simpson: The Trial of the Century

Whoa. That got dark quick. You meant to click on Louis C.K’s stand up but your finger slipped. By now, your muscles have turned to jelly and you’ve absolutely no hope of getting back up to change shows. So you regrettably watch the entire thing and end up with more questions than you went in with (Surely he did it… right?). You look at the clock and it’s nearly 5am. You manage to doze off for an hour and wake up at...

Game of Thrones

10 - Death’s door

By now, Simon and Garfunkel’s 'Sound of Silence' has become the soundtrack to your life. You’ve lost track of the days, digesting food is a distant memory and you’ve lost all contact with the outside world. For all you know, you’ve already been replaced at your job with someone more honest about their days off. You begin reflecting on your life choices. Why didn’t you contact your parents more? Why did you let that gym membership go to waste? Why did you avoid watching that epic fantasy drama that everybody raved about but you ignorantly shunned?

You should watch… Game of Thrones

For years you avoided it, taking any opportunity you could get to vocalise your disdain for the pathetic, sheeplike fandom it has spawned. Now you’re too weak to resist and the entire series is sitting there, ready for you to consume. You can’t fathom the idea of dying without discovering what sent the world into a frenzy every week. If you’re going out, you’re going out knowing what the hell the Red Wedding is.

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Brodie Fogg

Brodie is a staff writer at finder.com.au covering breaking tech and telco news. When he's not drooling over the latest comic book releases or grinding away at the newest time-devouring RPG, he's helping people choose between Australia's various streaming services.

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