What is slow TV? Originating in Norway, the concept highlights a specific location or great experience in great detail. Read on to find out why it's so popular!
Fed up of reality TV, endless repeats of old movies and depressing news? So were television producers in Norway. In recent years, this concept has taken the country by storm. Now, it's popularity is spreading overseas.
Read on to learn all about one of the most curious things about watching TV in Norway.
Slow TV explained
The simple concept is the total opposite of the instant gratification style of reality TV. Producers pick a topic and spend hours, days, even weeks digging into it in excruciating detail.
Typically, a live stream is available on TV and online with a highlights show broadcast each evening. Live footage is interspersed with interviews and other features relevant to the theme. These are also included in the highlights show.
The idea isn't to sit and watch the broadcast around the clock, but to enjoy as and when you need to relax.
The slow TV debut: Oslo to Bergen
State broadcaster pioneered the concept in 2009 with the live broadcast of the famous Oslo to Bergen railway journey, filmed from the perspective of the driver at the front of the train.
The famous 500km railway reaches over 1,200 metres above sea level as it crosses the Hardangervidda plateau in central Norway. When the scenic views were interrupted by the 182 tunnels on the line, the show broadcast interviews with passengers, former workers and historians.
It is estimated that at least 25% of Norwegians watched at least part of the broadcast!
Since then, shows have included the full length of the Hurtigruten coastal ferry journey, a knitting marathon, and an oddly compelling all-night bonfire.
Slow TV is coming to a TV set near you
Those outside of Norway have struggled to access some of the biggest hits of slow TV, even though British Airways recently included the Oslo to Bergen railway journey on their long-haul flights. But now, the full range of Norway's slow TV hits are available on Netflix in the United States, and several other countries.
The full list of available slow TV shows:
- National Firewood Evening
- National Firewood Morning
- National Firewood Night
- National Knitting Evening
- National Knitting Morning
- National Knitting Night
- Northern Passage
- Northern Railway
- Salmon Fishing
- The Telemark Canal
- Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
The last one on Svalbard is the most recent, having been broadcast on NRK in February 2020. The journey by boat around the perimeter of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago, took place last August. It profiled the spectacular scenery, the endless light of the summer, and fascinating wildlife.
I do hope you enjoy one of Norway's cultural treasures!