Best Presidental Election Results Alternatives
On Election Day (Nov. 8), once you’ve voted (and helped others vote if possible) you’re off the hook for paying attention to this 52-car-pile-up of American History. Just because watching the results roll in is what you’ve done in the past doesn’t mean you need to have history repeat itself. From streaming shows to live specials and even the latest Marvel movie, here’s our guide to distracting yourself while you wait for the results.
Black Mirror (Netflix)
This three-season-old show provides plenty of horror stories from potential futures. From a reality where five-star ratings rule all to a lesson on negotiating with trolls, this series will move your fears from tomorrow to 2020, and beyond. Also, the first episode provides a stark portrayal of how far a politician will go to save a life, though it should come with an explicit content warning.
Black Mirror Season 3 Trailer
The Martian (HBO 2, HBO GO, HBO NOW)
If this election made you wonder about fleeing to Canada, let Matt Damon show you why a change of scenery isn't always a viable alternative. Life stranded on an inhospitable planet might be all it takes to make the worst outcome of this election seem livable.
The Martian - Official Trailer
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
According to Infinite Warfare (PC, PS4, Xbox One), we'll be settling all of our future conflicts in space. So while nobody's calling Infinite Warfare a war-simulation game, there's no time like the moments before we elect a new president to see what could be in store for those on the front lines, which appear to include part on the top of a moving vessel that's traveling between planets.
Hot Ones (YouTube)
Voting for our next leader can feel intimidating if you're not sure, but it's got nothing on Hot Ones, a hot-wing-eating-challenge interview show on YouTube. Host Sean Evans takes celebrities including Key and Peele, Rob Gronkowski and Kevin Hart on a tour of increasingly spicy chicken wings, each paired with a question. The sauces start with Sriracha, includes the dangerously-named 100% Pain and ends with the frankly insane Mega Death Sauce. Guests rarely leave the interview in a calm state of mind, and watching their reactions should make you forget all about how hard it was to select a candidate.
Hot Ones - Key
Doctor Strange (in theaters now)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) gets mystical with Doctor Strange, which provides so much in the way of mind-bending visuals that it makes Inception seem quaint. Even if you saw the movie during its opening weekend, think about venturing back to the theaters to try and get a grip on how this film pushes the ever-evolving MCU into the future. A world where Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange teams up with Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner to truly troll and confound Loki is one we want to live in.
Doctor Strange trailer
Community (Hulu Plus)
This critically-adored sitcom gave us "The Darkest Timeline," a phrase that used to only conjure images of a poorly goateed Joel McHale and not of the most contentious election in our lifetimes. So for a chance to escape into reality that's more "cool, cool, cool" than "cruel, cruel, cruel," boot up Hulu Plus and enroll in Greendale.
Luke Cage (Netflix)
No connection to the election here, just excellent television. The latest chapter in Marvel's Netflix programming gives audiences a greater understanding of Luke Cage, who we last saw in Jessica Jones. The show touches on Cage's personal history, but its focus in on the fight to save Harlem from corruption and gang war. While Mike Colton simmers as the brooding Luke Cage, the strongest performances come from Simone Missick (Misty Knight) and Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard), as Knight's fight to bring down Dillard almost overshadows the show's titular hero for hire.
Luke Cage trailer
Drunk History (Comedy Central, 10:30pm ET)
Some adults enjoy a tasty beverage while they watch the returns roll in. Others may rather watch Drunk History's Election Night special, which compiles previous presidential campaigns. Expect to see the tale of the contentious election that pitted John Adams against Thomas Jefferson, as well as the story of Lincoln's days as a lawyer.
Drunk History - Lincoln The Lawyer
Westworld (HBO Go, HBO Now)
Escapism about escapism, the HBO series Westworld reveals a future where the rich and powerful vacation in a wild west populated by AI robots that look and feel just like the rest of us. An amusement park built for the rich and filled with illicit imagery may sound like one of the more dystopic outcomes imaginable, but this visually brilliant series features both intelligent drama and fantastic acting, which you can't say about this election.
Keeping up with the Kardashians (E!, 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. ET)
Drastic times call for drastic measures, so we won't judge you if you fall into the warm embrace of the election night marathon of Keeping up with the Kardashians on the E! network. From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Election Night, the network will roll tales of Khloe's cosmetic surgery, Kris and her friends from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Kendall's fight against sleep paralysis. This mini-marathon also features the return of Scott Disick, who remains one of the most villainous characters on television, no matter which party you root for.
The Simpsons (FXX, 8 p.m. - Midnight ET)
A four-hour marathon of America's favorite animated nuclear family should be enough to keep your mind occupied while the votes are counted. These tales from Springfield include tales of Homer buying an RV, Santa's Little Helper going to police-dog academy and somewhat relevantly, the origin of Bart and Lisa's sibling rivalry. If you've got access to Simpsons World, pull up the season six classic "Sideshow Bob Roberts" where Krusty the Clown's villainous sidekick rigs the election to defeat Mayor Quimby.
Chopped & Chopped Jr. (Food Network, 2 p.m. - 4 a.m. ET)
If you prefer competitions with low stakes, Food Network's got a 14-hour marathon of its Chopped reality shows. Both shows depict four chefs battling it out to see who can make the best three-course meal with a limited list of ingredients in short, 20- or 30-minute rounds. Of the two, Chopped Junior is the more stressful-to-watch, as its contestants are between the ages of 9 and 15 and forced to perform the same grueling task in similarly short amounts of time.
The West Wing (Netflix)
While we wish Jeb Bartlett, the fictional Democratic president of Aaron Sorkin's West Wing TV series, could have spent an episode debating Donald Trump or asking Hillary what she was thinking by using her own email server, he still had some entertaining fights over that show's seven-season run. From his re-election bid clouded in controversy to how the country handles terror threats, The West Wing consistently analyzed meaty topics with Sorkin's signature rapid-fire dialogue. Also, the will-they-ever romance between Josh and Donna added humor and levity when the show needed it most.
WWE SmackDown Live (USA, 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. ET)
Donald Trump may be in the WWE Hall of Fame, but he'll be nowhere in sight during this week's episode of SmackDown Live. Instead, the show will highlight the pipsqueak-esque James Ellsworth and the building of the teams that will face-off at the Survivor Series pay-per-view. The main event of the night pits the Irish "lass kicker" Becky Lynch against cos-play enthusiast and Polly Pocket-lookalike Alexa Bliss in a long-awaited battle for the SmackDown Women's Championship.
Battlefield 1 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
At the end of an election that often felt like it was debating issues from previous decades, what better war game is there to play than Battlefield 1 (PC, PS4, Xbox One), which takes things all the way back to World War I. With options to do battle on massive fields of war, piloting era-appropriate tanks, planes and horses this title seats the player properly well into the past. If you enjoy your war stories to be more personal, the new single-player campaign adds a more focused angle.
Battlefield 1 Official Single Player Trailer
Law & Order (We Network, 6 p.m. - Midnight)
If you'd like a show that gets as close to the news as possible while still staying fictional, check out the 6-hour Law & Order marathon on the We network. The episode "Black, White and Blue," which airs at 11 p.m., originally aired in 2000, but its focus on the murder of a teen in Harlem that may involve two patrol officers means it's still relevant to this date. Expect some debate if you watch with people voting for the other party.
South Park (Comedy Central, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. ET)
Still running strong in its 20th season, South Park looks to distract us on election night in a number of sick and silly ways. This eight-episode marathon runs through the nightmare that is puberty, the terrors of addictive mobile games and even as a handful of Canadian catastrophes. Clearly, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman have enough problems to keep them busy through to the next president's term.
Overwatch (PCs, PS4, Xbox One)
The story in the background of the team-based, multiplayer first-person-shooter Overwatch (PC, PS4, Xbox One) focuses on a task force of heroes banding together to restore peace to a war-torn world. After you enjoy a few rounds of this fun, quirky title, you'll start to wonder if we can call in some similar peace-makers if this election doesn't resolve our national divide.
Overwatch Gameplay Trailer
If you didn't know by now, Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon nailed it this season with their impressions of Trump and Clinton. So if you're looking for some laughs about the election, revisit the debates, the gaffes and the reactions to that recorded video. Also, check out this past weekend's cold open for the moment where Baldwin's Trump is shocked that he's still doing so well when people can read his tweets.
House of Cards (Netflix)
Those who follow the way bills fail to get passed in Washington D.C. may be wistful for Frank Underwood, one of the most effective (fictional) politicians we've seen. He may be cold-blooded and ruthless, but thanks to his fourth-wall-breaking monologues, we know exactly what's on his mind. If you've yet to jump into the series, now's a good time, as the first season is strong, compelling television and commonly agreed to be the show's best.
House of Cards Season 1 Trailer
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube)
1992 was a simpler time, when Donald Trump was just wandering around fancy New York hotels, offering guidance to lost mischief-makers. Or at least that's the impression you might get from Home Alone 2 (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube), where a less-tan Trump, who just bought the building, makes a cameo telling Kevin McCallister that the Plaza hotel's lobby was "down the hall and to the left." Cameo aside, this is still a fun movie, and might remind viewers of a certain age of the TalkBoy, an audio recording device that every aspiring prankster wanted that holiday season.
Donald J. Trump in Home Alone 2
The Purge: Election Year (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube)
Say you want all the anger of this election year, funneled into a hyperactive story involving that terrible time of the year in that alternate reality where all crimes, including murder, are legal for 12 hours. Then you'll probably enjoy The Purge: Election Year (Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube), where Elizabeth Mitchell plays a senator who seeks to outlaw the Purge, which, of course, makes her the target of the opposition party, which supports the Purge. As you might expect the film takes place during yet another Purge night, a perfect time for political rivalries to be settled in the most gruesome way.
Hopefully, this election won't go into overtime, but in case there's electoral trouble, load NapFlix.tv in a web browser. This site compiles the most snooze-worthy content from YouTube (from animal documentaries to Einstein explainers) into a single site that looks a lot like Netflix. Also, there's snooze-clock feature so you can set the display to dim to black after a certain amount of time so you won't wake up with a face full of glare.