On Election Day, many Americans will be glued to news coverage or scrolling madly through their Twitter feeds for the latest results. Others may feel intense panic and/or an urge to primally scream every time Wolf Blitzer or Brian Williams announces that another state is too close to call.
Those who need to focus on something else on Election Night, or at least need a break, can obviously find tons of distractions on any of the thousands of streaming platforms that currently exist. But many cable networks also have stacked their daytime and prime-time schedules with movie and TV marathons designed to take everyone’s minds off the Electoral College. Here are 12 of the highlights from those schedules, each of which provides a way to forget about Trump versus Biden, or at least think about elections that have nothing to do with the actual election. (All times Eastern.)
Hunger Games movie marathon, Freeform (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
What’s the best way to escape the possibility of spending four more years in an even more dystopian America ruled by a former reality-show star? By watching four movies in a row about a dystopian society that forces its young people to compete in a deadly reality show, obviously. That’s just science.
South Park marathon, Comedy Central (4 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
A string of politically themed episodes — including several from season 20, when the animated series spoofed the 2016 presidential election — will run back-to-back throughout the late afternoon and evening.
Election marathon, Pop (1 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
On Election Day, watch the Reese Witherspoon comedy masterpiece once, then again, then again again, and then, what the hell, a fourth time. After all those viewings, you’ll realize you would happily have voted for Tracy Flick, Tammy Metzler, and maybe even Paul Metzler if they had run against Donald Trump.
The Godfather marathon, AMC (9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.)
A double feature of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II airs twice on AMC, which makes it a double double feature, I guess? Anyway: May the dirty dealings of the Corleone family provide some comfort after weeks of worrying about the dirty dealings involved in voter intimidation and suppression.
Christmas movies, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime (All day, every day)
Both of these networks have been running their Christmas rom-coms nonstop since before Halloween, but the onslaught of fa-la-la love stories may be an especially welcome refuge on Election Night. Instead of parsing the results in Wisconsin or Michigan or Florida, you can watch a movie about a bakery owner who falls in love, or a flower-shop owner who falls in love, or an interior designer who falls in love. Really, tons of variety here.
2012 twice, Sundance Channel (6 p.m. to 1 a.m.)
You can sit with a sense of impending doom while watching election results, or you can do the same thing while watching this Roland Emmerich film about natural disasters that put the Earth in grave peril. Just in case the doom doesn’t fully sink in, Sundance Channel is airing the movie twice, because it’s thoughtful like that.
A night of unconventional sports, ESPN2 (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
Bless this sports network for scheduling back-to-back competitions that sound totally ridiculous. First there’s the 2020 Death Diving Competition, which is basically extreme platform diving. That’s followed by the 2020 Table Shuffleboard Crazy Eights Invitational, which is exactly what it sounds like; Pogopalooza 2020: The World Championships of Pogo, an extreme pogo-sticking contest, and how can you not want to watch that; and, lastly, Slippery Stairs: College Tour, in which “athletes” try to climb stairs that are — you’ll never guess — really slippery. Climbing a few steps, then falling down those steps and having to start all over again: sounds like a pretty good metaphor for 2020.
Chopped marathon, Food Network (1 p.m. to 4 a.m.)
It’s stressful for contestants to have to make a meal with only a particular set of ingredients. But it’s still not as stressful as watching election coverage, probably.
Law & Order marathon, WETV (3 p.m. to 1 a.m.)
If Election Day is making you nauseous, do what you do on a sick day: lie in bed and watch hours of Law & Order.
Rocky movies, Paramount (7 p.m. to 2 a.m.)
Rocky Balboa versus Apollo Creed or Rocky Balboa versus Ivan Drago > Trump versus Biden. That will be apparent when three Rocky movies — the 1976 original, Rocky IV, and Rocky Balboa — air back-to-back-to-back.
Bahamas Life, Destination America (5 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
We all need a vacation at this point. But since most of us can’t take one, spend Election Night, and the wee hours of post–Election Day morning, watching people hunting for houses in the Bahamas.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, VH1 (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
Classic sitcom reruns can be found on a number of networks, including Antenna TV and TV Land. But if you just want to immerse yourself in one show that makes you feel like it’s the 1990s again, whistle for a cab and say, “Yo, home to Bel-Air.”