We all dread the boredom of long-haul flights. Anything over 5 hours in the air and your brain starts turning to jelly. Here are 5 TV series to take with you that’ll keep you sane and make the hours in the air fly by.
Having something that’ll hold your attention away from the usual irritations of flying, and distracting you from the incredible length of time you’re spending in one place is essential.
After hundreds of flights and probably thousands of hours in the air, Mrs Romance and I have learnt that taking your own entertainment on long-haul flights is the best way to make time pass quickly.
So what do you take on board that’ll keep your mind busy?
3 rules of picking the right long haul flight TV show
First of all, it’s important to remember anything you take with you on the plane needs to obey these three rules:
1. Don’t pick anything too emotional or tear-jerking
For whatever reason – perhaps it’s the altitude, the pressurised cabin or just the sheer boredom – emotions tend to run a lot higher in a plane. Mrs Romance watched Steel Magnolias on a flight once. Big mistake.
2. Don’t pick anything too confronting
You’re looking for something you can easily binge watch. If the TV series gets in your face or makes your brain work too hard, you’ll have to take a break, which isn’t the idea, is it? Black Mirror – while excellent – is a prime example of this.
3. Don’t pick anything too risqué
Game of Thrones season 1, I’m looking at you! You don’t want the person sitting next to you – or even worse the flight attendants – thinking you’re watching porn.
If you’re travelling with your loved one and you’re watching a show neither of you has seen before, you can buy headphone doublers that let you plug 2 sets of headphones into the one jack.
That way you can share the experience like you were at home on your lounge. Or a tiny, far less comfortable replica of what your lounge would be if you lived in a small metal tube.
5 TV shows to take on a long-haul flight
Here are our top 5 recommendations for TV shows that are perfect for long-haul flights:
1. House of Cards
Easily the best political drama available at the moment. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright (of Princess Bride fame!) play the big game in the machinations of the American presidency. Gripping, dark and convoluted yet brilliantly captivating, this show will make your flight all but disappear.
2. Parks and Recreation
Excellent absurd comedy showing the behind-the-scenes nonsense of a small town’s Parks and Rec public office. Amy Poehler heads up the cast of this slightly crazed hilariously ridiculous show.
3. Arrested Development
The easy-to-watch comedy of a spoilt dysfunctional yet rich family. Jason Bateman – one of the sons – tries to keep the family away from the debtors after his father is imprisoned. Once you get to know the characters, which happens really quickly, you can’t wait to see what kind of comical trouble they get into next.
4. 30 Rock
We’ve loved this comedy series for years and I think it’s underrated. Tina Fey and Alex Baldwin lead a live show for NBC from the Rockefeller Centre in New York. If any show is easy to binge watch, it’s this one.
This futuristic drama is right on the edge of being on that ‘too confronting for a flight’ list, but it’s well worth the risk! Westworld is the brainchild of Dr Robert Ford played by Anthony Hopkins – and there are more huge stars all the way through this. Populated by AI androids, super-wealthy guests of Westworld can live out their ultimate fantasies without recourse, but things go wrong as the androids achieve consciousness.
And a couple of extras
There are a couple more I’d like to add – with certain caveats of course.
Host Derek Waters gets TV and movie stars drunk and lets them loose on tales of human history. The stories are also re-enacted and lip-synced by other stars to amazing comic effect.
The caveat for this one is it will make you feel a bit drunk if you watch too many of these. But it’s a very funny show.
Set in the rough streets of Whitechapel in East London just after the time of Jack the Ripper. This crime drama follows the life of the Detective Inspector played by Matthew McFayden as he and his constabulary try to keep law and order in the tough times of Victorian London.
The caveat? There aren’t many happy points in this story. It’s grim and grimy, but I really enjoy the show and its attention to detail in the sets and language.
Are there any shows you’d recommend to help cope with a long-haul flight? Feel free to add them in the comments – we’re always after new shows to watch!