Train, plane, or automobile? Lightbox has you covered.

What to watch on your commute, Lightbox-style

On Lightbox Premium, you can download Lightbox content to your mobile device. We asked our colleagues for their picks to watch on your next commute – no matter the length.

Your commute can be the worst part of your day; there’s nothing to do on it except waste time. But what if you could catch up on the latest watercooler content – or whatever content your heart desires – on your commute? After all – in this age of Peak TV, and on-demand movies at the swipe of a finger, maximising your consumption is key.

But also, your commute can be really dull! So we’ve got some ideas of how to spruce it up with your favourite Lightbox content.

Commute: Sky Bus from Queen St to Auckland Airport

Duration: Approx 45 minutes

Solution: The West Wing

The Auckland Sky Bus has probably the longest trip with the fewest bus stops, which makes it perfect for getting into an episode’s arc without too much interruption. Aaron Sorkin’s most famous show The West Wing is hopelessly optimistic and presents a White House where every staffer is a minor hero. It’s almost sci-fi when set against the current administration and sadly makes for great escape viewing. And when do we need escape viewing more than on our way to the airport in winter? Plus the bus has free wifi. / Madeleine Chapman

Commute: Train from Masterton to Wellington 

Duration: 1 hour 44 minutes

Solution: The Commuter

Yes, it’s an exceptionally relaxing journey past sprawling paddocks, the sparkles of Lake Wairarapa, into the warm embrace of the rolling Rimutakas. I’ve done it many times, and I never get sick of it. Except for the tunnels. There are so many tunnels! And some of them are so long that you will faint if try and hold your breath! How does one pass the time AND stay alive at the same time? If only there was a train-themed thriller that was perfectly timed to your entire commute?!

Lucky for you, Liam Neeson’s specific set of skills include fulfilling this particular plea. The Commuter is the perfect downloadable thriller to spice up your commute. Michael (Neeson) is just another cog in the machine like the rest of us, on his regular commute home when he becomes entangled in a criminal conspiracy. If you thought the promised “free wi-fi onboard” was a web of lies, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  / Alex Casey

Commute: Train from Kingsland to Britomart

Duration: 17 minutes

Solution: Search PartyMozart in the Jungle

On a 17 minute train ride, you only really need about 13 minutes of entertainment, so on any given day, I can watch one episode of Search Party: half on the way to work, the remaining on the way home. Search Party is a darkly funny mystery – lovingly cynical about privileged, millennial young professionals with ample cliffs to hang to. Unfortunately there are only 20 episodes of Search Party – less than a month of commuting – so my alternative is Mozart in the Jungle – a silly and infinitely watchable about the inner lives and workings of the New York Philharmonic. / Henry Oliver

Commute: Bus from Ponsonby Road to Britomart

Duration: 26ish minutes

Solution: The Handmaid’s Tale (there and back)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to break up the endless aching of The Handmaid’s Tale. There’s only so much torture a gal can take, especially when the dystopia feels too close to home. Here’s a tip: watch a little on your commute to work and the rest coming home, and things won’t feel so bad anymore! As the bus heaves at a pace of 1km/hr, The Handmaid’s Tale is a crucial reminder that the guy manspreading into your zone probably isn’t as bad as being a sex servant. Forced to stand in the aisle without anything to hold onto? At least you don’t have to go and toil in the colonies with boils on your face. Got boils on your face? At least you still have your own bank account. / AC

Commute: Flight from Auckland to Wellington

Duration: 50 minutes, give or take.

Solution: UnReal

Look, none of us want to be bothered on a plane. If I’m on a plane, I want to either be engaged with a book on my Kindle, a podcast on my phone, the clouds outside my window or the backs of my eyelids. But sometimes you get lucky enough to book a flight in the middle of the day like you’re the Queen of England and Her Territories, and sleeping isn’t an option. But you still want to watch something and not be disturbed. The solution? UnRealI can guarantee you that person who thinks they’re the friendliest and loveliest person in the world won’t disturb you once they see that you’re watching what looks like either a very well-shot reality TV show, a bizarrely shot sex video or an engrossing drama that demands that you not look away for a second. Either way, you’re not disturbed and you get to watch a great TV show at the same time! / Sam Brooks

Commute: Driving from Auckland to Wellington

Duration: Nine hours, eleven if you’re bad.

Solution: All three Lord of the Rings films.

If this is your commute and for some reason you’re deciding not to fly, what’s your inner life? Can we talk? Please email me on sam@thespinoff.co.nz because you need more than advice on what to watch on your commute. But if this is your commute, and you’re not driving but have somebody who drives for you, and you want to enjoy the idyllic New Zealand environments on a screen inside your car rather than looking outside the window, I’ve got you sorted. These films hold up especially the first one, which still has the ability to make me shake with anticipation and emotion like I did when I was eleven. And that drive can get really long at times (and I can imagine even moreso if this is your standard commute for some reason) so why not distract yourself with the travails of some homosexual hobbits? / SB

Commute: Bus from Britomart to Albany

Duration: 30ish minutes

Solution: Parks and Recreation

The Northern Express is a delightful bus ride and a delightful bus ride deserves a delightful show. Parks and Recreation is simply one of the most joyful shows I’ve ever seen. With 22 minute episodes it’s the perfect length for a standard commute home, while still allowing for a few minutes’ break to enjoy the view as you go over the Harbour Bridge. Bus journeys are naturally less smooth than train rides but with Parks and Rec being a network sitcom, the episodes are made to be interrupted (with ads), and make for easy and truncated viewing. You could get distracted by something out the window for a few minutes and easily slip back into an episode without barely having missed a beat. / MC


This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.


This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

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