By Phil Dzikiy
If you’re sick right now, you’re not alone.
That could be true at any time, but as the weather turns and the swine flu scare grows, it’s more likely than ever.
And you can’t always sleep. Sometimes, you’re miserable and awake. But there’s no way you’re going to be doing anything productive. So how are you going to entertain yourself?
No one would blame you if you didn’t feel like reading. And if the bed or couch is too comfy to leave for the DVD rack, well, that’s perfectly normal. TV is here for you.
Then why is it so hard to find anything you want to watch? That’s where we come in. Night & Day is also here for you. We’re giving you a number of battle plans to help you keep your sanity during these days.
Talk, talk, talk
It is entirely possible to watch almost nothing but talk shows during your entire sick day, if you so desire. On the major networks alone, you can go from “The Today Show” or “Live with Regis and Kelly” to “The View” or “Maury” to “Rachael Ray” before a short break at 1 p.m. After that, it’s another avalanche of shows, as “The Bonnie Hunt Show” is followed by all the usual suspects: Oprah, Ellen, Jerry Springer and all the doctors, including Phil and Oz.
Even if you are a fan of daytime talk shows, we recommend breaking up the sick day. Eight hours of such programming certainly will not heal you, even if you plan on watching “The Doctors.” If you must pick talk, decide on either the morning or afternoon block and save the rest of your day for other shows.
A soapy sick day
Another daytime staple, the afternoon is still stuffed with soap operas. (R.I.P. “Guiding Light.”) We do not recommend diving into these programs when sick, and we won’t even be uppity about the quality of these programs.
The fact is, it’s probably not a good idea to jump into the middle of a long-running drama when you won’t be able to follow it in the future. You’re only going to get confused or upset, and you’re sick. You don’t need that. Steer clear. After all, you’ve only got ... one life to live.
Come on down!
To many folks of all ages, for a long time, there’s been one must-watch program on everyone’s list during a sick day: “The Price Is Right.” But ever since Drew Carey took over for Bob Barker, that may no longer be the case.
But whether or not you’re a fan of the Carey-helmed “Price,” there are plenty of other game shows to keep you occupied.
First of all, “The Price Is Right” has a new lead-in. “Let’s Make a Deal” is back, and it’s hosted by Wayne Brady. It seems that they’re just giving game shows to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” alums. We’re waiting for the updated version of “Love Connection,” hosted by Colin Mochrie. For better or worse, the updated version of “Let’s Make a Deal” hasn’t changed much.
To keep your game show fix going, the CW offers a double dose of “Family Feud” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in the early afternoon.
Of course, if you have the Game Show Network, you can watch old game shows like “Match Game” and “The $100,000 Pyramid” all afternoon long.
We did a story last year about the various daytime courtroom shows and things haven’t changed much since then. If anything, there are more of these shows than ever. Judges Joe Brown, Mathis, Hatchett, Jeanine Pirro, Alex, Divorce Court, The People’s Court, Street Court ... perhaps you should watch at least one courtroom show, because at this rate, every show will take place in a courtroom by 2017. Best to get ready now.
A tried-and-true way TV-watching strategy for sick sports fans consists of watching ESPN’s “SportsCenter” multiple times. It’s just so easy to leave it on until you know every highlight before it happens.
But if you’re too sick to get up and do anything, it’s best to leave the endless SportsCenter loop as early as you can. Your brain will thank you.
But if you’ve stumbled onto ESPN, you should probably scan the rest of your cable channels. They’re not usually offering much more than the networks — reruns rule the day, after all — but you can find some gems.
The five best daytime cable channels for the ill
1. USA — While many channels stock their daytime schedules with reruns, USA’s are more impressive than most, featuring recent and current successful hour-long dramas, like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “NCIS” and “JAG.” Hour-long shows may be too much for your sick mind and body to handle, though, and if you’re not into drama, there’s always ...
2. TV Land — Instead of newer dramas, the Viacom channel serves up older comedies for a good portion of the day. 1970s fare like “Sanford & Son” and “All in the Family” mingle with older shows like “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” before giving way to the likes of “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.” The exception is “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” at 9 a.m. weekdays.
3. Discovery Channel — The Discovery Channel offers perfect mid-day shows. “Cash Cab,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Overhaulin’ ” ... the shows are smart enough to keep your mind moving, but not mentally involving to the point where sick folks will get headaches worse than they already have.
4. Animal Planet — Ditto. And when else are you really going to watch Animal Planet?
5. HGTV — The beauty and the tragedy of many of these cable channels is that their daytime programming is nearly the same as their nighttime lineups. And you’re not going to know — or likely care — if an episode of “House Hunters” is new or not.
Also, as you’re trapped in your house with your sickness, you can look around and see what needs improved.
The five worst daytime cable channels for the ill
1. and 2. MTV and VH1 — Being sick is no excuse.
3. Food Network — Nothing against Food Network, but it’s not what most sick people want to watch. Depends on the sickness.
4. The Weather Channel — Don’t worry about it. You’re probably not going outside for the time being, anyway.
5. C-SPAN — Well, you can try it if Nyquil doesn’t work.
By Phil Dzikiy
- Night & Day
Hawkins doubles down with Do Good Assassins
Former Lowest of the Low frontman returns to WNY with new band, debut double CD
Former NFL coach Johnson tests mettle on ‘Survivor’
Sure, Jimmy Johnson has won football championships at both the collegiate and professional levels.
But how could a Super Bowl trophy compare to the title of “Survivor” champion?
Take a bite out of 'Twilight'
Millions of (mostly) young girls will flock to theaters June 30 to see "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." But what's the big deal? Let's find out.
Baseball tune worthy of hall
As of this summer, the list of people in the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will grow by one.
It will then total one.
But that one person is wholly deserving of the dual accolades.
Local music impresses
I wasn't the first choice to be a judge in the Hard Rock Cafe Battle of the Bands. But that didn't make the experience any less fun.
'Lost' and found
"Lost," perhaps more than any other show the one program to make you go "hmmm," is set to conclude its strange, impactful run this weekend.
Niagara Regional Theatre Guild sets sail with ‘Anything Goes’
When members of the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild were considering which show would end the group’s 2009-10 season, they decided to rewind the clock back to an old favorite ... “and now, God knows, ‘Anything Goes.’ ”
Bieber wows kids, but can his act mature with him?
Justin Bieber impresses teenagers, but can he keep their interest as they - and he - age?
NT native brings flygirl's story to life
A North Tonawanda native and his wife will return to the region to tell the tale of a forgotten part of The Greatest Generation.
TSO embarks upon holiday-free music tour
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra finally will get a chance to showcase its nonholiday fare during a spring tour.
- More Night & Day Headlines
- Hawkins doubles down with Do Good Assassins