Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Treadmill TV: A Tribute to My Ten Favorite Shows

So you may be asking yourself, what is Treadmill TV?  It's pretty simple, treadmill TV is a show that you watch while working out.

Treadmill TV wasn't something that existed in my life until I got a home treadmill.  Back when I went to the gym, I listened to music and people watched.  It never got old.  But once I replaced a gym full of people with a basement wall, music didn't cut it any more.  I needed a companion to keep me on the treadmill and that's where Treadmill TV came in.

What makes a good treadmill show?
A treadmill show isn't a good TV show...it's a great TV show.  It's TV that's so compelling that you don't want to leave the treadmill.  It's TV that makes you yearn for your next workout so that you can continue watching.  Apart from that, there are no rules.  Some of my favorites are action heavy (The Professionals) and some are about English people drinking tea (Downtown Abbey).  In a perfect world, the length of each episode will match the length of your workout.

What doesn't make a good treadmill show?
The biggest no-no for Treadmill TV is a show that takes time to warm up.  Your show has to get up and go from minute one of episode one of season one.  My husband and I are watching Ozark and we like it, but man it's slow, so I wouldn't recommend it for the treadmill.  It's OK if your Treadmill TV show stumbles a bit once it gets going...season  4 of Lost...season 2 of Outlander when they hang out in France in powdered wigs...that's totally forgivable because the show has hooked you at that point.

For me personally, comedy on the treadmill is also a no-no.  It's very painful to laugh and run at the same time.  To a lesser extent, something that's very emotional and makes you cry can also be problematic (lookin' at you, season 7 finale of Call the Midwife).

Let's check out my favorite treadmill shows.

The Professionals

What is it?  A series you may not have heard of before.  A special government force takes on terrorism.  1970's - check.  Men with perms - check.  Hudson the Butler from Upstairs Downstairs as the boss - check.
Why did I start watching it? I was looking for shows similar to another British 70's police show that I had seen, The Sweeney.  I saw the first few episodes on the couch, and one day I was looking for something to watch with my workout and brought it down to the treadmill.  I felt like I was running alongside Brodie and Doyle as they chased the bad guys.  After that I couldn't watch the show sitting down and it became my first dedicated treadmill show.
Where to see it? Most of the episodes are on YouTube, and I found all of the ones that weren't on  Daily Motion.  Each episode is stand alone, so you don't have to watch the series in order.
How much is there of it? 5 seasons
Why is it a good treadmill show?  Solid action, funky music, a nice mix of vintage 1970's with terrorism plots that could be ripped from today's headlines.


What is it?  The series that everyone has heard of before.  A plane crashes on a mysterious island and the survivors have to figure out how to deal with a new world.
Why did I start watching it?  Believe it or not, I got the idea from an old radio serial, The Magic Island.  A wealthy woman loses her baby daughter in a shipwreck.  Rumors persist that the girl is alive on a mysterious island...14 years later a solid tip comes in and the mother assembles a crew and goes to check it out.  Wikipedia mentioned that the show had some plot points in common with Lost.  This was right around the time that I had finished The Professionals and needed something to take its place on the treadmill, so I started watching Lost to see if there was any connection to The Magic Island.
Where to see it?  Hulu
How much is there of it? 6 seasons
Why is it a good treadmill show?   Good characters and a story line that keeps you guessing.  Sure, season 4 gets a little nutty but by then you'll be hooked.  I didn't see it until six years after it went off the air, and I practically had to live off the grid to avoid spoilers.  This is the first show that I experienced going over my workout time because I got so involved in the show that I forgot I was on a treadmill.
So any connection between The Magic Island and Lost? Maybe...there are no polar bears in The Magic Island, but both shows have a long lost mother/daughter team, magnetism, and Ben and G47 have something in common.  I'd say that if you're a fan of either show that it's worth checking out the other show.


What is it? A WWII nurse on vacation in Scotland takes a trip to the past.  But can she come back?
Why did I start watching it? I heard good things.
Where to see it? Starz
How much is there of it? Season 4 just started
Why is this a good treadmill show? Good characters, the chemistry between Jamie and Clare, solid action, and a solid story line.  I will warn you that it's definitely on the violent side.  The only way that I got through the final episode of season 1 was to stare at the treadmill display for the entire time.

Downton Abbey

What is it? English people drink tea
Why did I start watching it? I heard good things, but I thought it was a reboot of Upstairs, Downstairs.  I didn't give it a chance until it came to mind one day on the treadmill.
Where to see it? Amazon Prime
How much is there of it? 6 seasons and the movie comes out next year.  TBD if I will see it in the theater or on the treadmill.
Why is this a good treadmill show? Because you fall in love with the characters and the story line.  

Call the Midwife

What is it? A young nurse in the 1950's goes to work in a convent midwife practice in a poor London neighborhood.
Why did I start watching it? It popped up on my Netflix feed.  Thank you Netflix!
Where to see it? Netflix.
How much is there of it? 7 seasons so far.
Why is this a good treadmill show? You get caught up in the characters and there's no shortage of story lines. Babies create their own drama.  Even after so many episodes, the formula isn't tired and this show could go on for years.


What is it? In small town Australia, six people rise from the dead.  They've all got unfinished business to take care of.  And a business that wants to take care of them...
Why did I start watching it? Young House Love raved about it.
Where to see it? Netflix
How much is there of it? 2 seasons with a third coming out sometime in 2019.
Why is this a good treadmill show? I didn't start this as a treadmill show, but it was so good that I couldn't stop watching and had to take it to the treadmill because it's not kid friendly.  This show started my love affair with Australian TV.  My only beef with is that you have to wait a long time between seasons and you only get six episodes apiece for your trouble.  They gave us lot of questions...we need answers.

A Place to Call Home

What is it? Think Downton Abbey gone under, 1950's edition.  A nurse with a mysterious past settles in Australia and crosses paths with the wealthy Bligh family.
Why did I start watching it? After Glitch I started looking around for other Australian shows and this one was recommended frequently.
Where to see it? I did it super old school and got the DVD's from the library.  It's also on Acorn.
How much is there of it? 6 seasons.  I've seen the first five seasons and just found out that the sixth is on Acorn.
Why is this a good treadmill show? The characters, the actors, the story.  I can't imagine how much more they can do with the story in season 6 but honestly at this point they could just read the phone book out loud for the entire season and I'd still think it was the greatest show ever.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What is it? A 1950s housewife gets dumped...and makes it big on the comedy scene.
Why did I start watching it? Peanut Butter Runner raved about it. I was in desperate need of a new treadmill show after finishing A Place to Call Home.
Where to see it? Amazon Prime
How much is there of it? One season now and season 2 comes out December 5th!
Why is this a good treadmill show? Best way to handle a breakup ever.  Love the characters, love the actors, love the writing.  This show is perfection.


What is it? Well, duh, it's about a bodyguard though no one sings And I Will Always Love You.  A police officer is mysteriously promoted to be the personal bodyguard of a high ranking politician.  They're two good looking people with different political beliefs who spend a lot of time together...what could go wrong?
Where to see it? Netflix
How much is there of it? Only one season, six episodes.
Why is this a good treadmill show? OMG the minute you start it, you're hooked. My workouts flew by so fast.  This is the show that got me through a 10 mile treadmill run.


What is it? Two strangers, a supermarket cashier and an accountant, witness a drug killing at their bus stop.  A series of unfortunate events unfolds and they end up on the run from the bad guys and the cops.
Where to see it? Netflix
How much is there of it? 2 seasons now and season 3 comes out on December 13th.  I just started season 2.
Why is this a good treadmill show? Good characters, good acting, good action, lots of "did not see that coming" moments.

Your Turn
Do you have dedicated treadmill shows?  Please share them in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I have seen none of these. Oops.
    I thought I'd become a TV treadmill person when marathon training, but I never could quite get into that. Different if at home maybe without gym noise