20 of the most relaxing reality TV shows to watch right now

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6. Victorian Farm

The Victorians made much of the supposedly relaxing values inherent in 19th-century farm life. While city dwellers choked on smoggy, coal-infused air and consumed tainted food and drink, many imagined that country folk thrived on clean air, unadulterated eats, and the physical labor of farm work.

The reality of Victorian farming was, of course, quite a bit different than this fantasy. Even today, farming typically demands hard labor and often produces costs and budgets that will make a farmer sweat bullets. Add in a lack of consistent medical care, unreliable education, and the pure dirt and filth of a barnyard, and you start to realize that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. That’s not even considering all of the work that goes into working with a humongous iron cookstove.

It can be hard for modern people to really grasp it all, so it’s helpful to have Victorian Farm to view. This is actually a six-part miniseries that originally aired on BBC Two in 2009. It follows three people – historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn – as they recreate everyday life on a Victorian farm. The trio was housed at the Acton Scott Historic Working Farm in the British county of Shropshire.

They all must farm the land, maintain the household, and generally live their lives in the way that mid-19th-century farmers would have in the region. That means big dresses and that iron cook stove for Goodman, while Langlands has to sweat over a horse-drawn plow. Later on, Langlands and Ginn even have to deliver lambs and pigs on the farm.

If that sounds stressful, don’t worry too much. Sure, the three people actually involved in the show may have been anxious and sweaty by the end of the day, but you don’t have to be. It’s a fascinating look into history that, at least on your end, doesn’t involve any real labor or worry.