8.5 Hours of Knitting and 5 Other Shows from Norway's Slow TV Revolution

Most North Americans are aware of the Fireplace Channel, which usually appears at some point in December and plays nothing but an infinitely looping video of a crackling fireplace. In recent years, we’ve also been gifted with Swiss Chalet’s Rotisserie Channel, which is a rotating rotisserie chicken 24/7.

Norway’s public TV company, NRK, has taken this style of TV to the next level with a movement that’s been dubbed Slow TV. Unlike the action-packed, drama-filled television we’re accustomed to, Slow TV is plotless, ambient, and basically endless. For example:

A train ride

It started in 2009, when the channel celebrated the 100th anniversary of Norway’s Bergen Railway by airing a video of a 7 hour and 16 minute train ride from Bergen to Oslo. The success of the show prompted NRK to film journeys on two other train lines in 2010.

A cruise ship

In 2011, NRK aired 134 hours of footage of a cruise ship on its journey along the Norwegian coastline, which was also streamed online.

A fireplace

In February 2013, the channel ran a show called National Wood Fire Night, which consisted of 4 hours of people talking about firewood, followed by 8 hours of your traditional Fireplace Channel-style footage. Here is a real quote from one of the show’s creators, from the New York Times:

“We received about 60 text messages from people complaining about the stacking in the programme. Fifty per cent complained that the bark was facing up, and the rest complained that the bark was facing down. One thing that really divides Norway is bark.”

An interview

In May 2013, Norwegian channel VGTV aired a 30-hour interview with Hans Olav Lahlum, a writer, historian, politician, and chess player. It currently holds the world record for longest interview.

A salmon swimming

Recently, an 18-hour production depicting a salmon swimming upstream was criticized by viewers for being too short.

A sweater being knit

More recently a show comprised of 4 hours of people talking about knitting, followed by 8.5 hours of a sweater being knit in real time, drew in 1.3 million viewers.

So, are Norwegian TV viewers just weird, or is Slow TV something you’d like to see over here too?

(via the Guardian)

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