Slow TV is a wildly successful phenomenon in its home country of Norway and it’s something we can totally see exploding in popularity here in the states. Essentially, Norwegian television crews strap cameras to various forms of transportation or insert them into activities and record hours-long programs. There’s no plot, cast, or season premieres and finales. Yet millions of people tune in to watch.
There’s plenty of speculation as to why people enjoy the programming. Some say Norwegians have far more patience than the average person thanks to the length of their winter. Norwegians say they like the change of pace, saying TV is speeding up, so they need something that will slow them down. We like the idea of the latter.
This is absolutely something more people need to experience, so we’re bringing you some opportunities. Everything we link to is on Netflix and might be the easiest series Netflix has ever picked up. Here’s the best Slow TV to help you slow down.
Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
The nine-hour train ride from Oslo to Bergen is tourist attraction enough for some people and is often touted as one of the high water marks of Norwegian scenery. That’s most likely why they chose it as the first experimental broadcast for the format. They knew it was something people loved to see in real life, so it should be as safe a bet as they could get for an untested broadcast.
Obviously it was a hit, or else we wouldn’t be writing about it now. More than a million Norwegians watched at least part of the train ride, though it’s a guarantee at least a few thousand watched all nine hours. You can catch seven hours of it on Netflix, though this version is a bit different from the original in that it starts in Bergen and ends in Oslo. Watch
National Firewood Night
You’ve definitely caught on that the titles here are going to be fairly self explanatory. This is a night of programming devoted entirely to firewood. Norwegians chop it, stack it, then burn it. It’s as relaxing as they come. Or so you’d think. Apparently, the first time something like this was broadcast, Norwegians were infuriated with how the choppers were stacking the wood. If you put it with the bark up, people would text in seething. If the bark was down, everyone else yelled at you. They couldn’t win either way and we still don’t fully understand if this is a personal preference debate or if there are benefits to one way versus the other. Watch
National Firewood Morning
Yeah, they did one for the morning too. No word on how the wood stacking issue was resolved for this. Watch
National Firewood Evening
Because Norwegians aren’t content to limit their firewood chopping, stacking, and burning to the beginning and end of the day. Strap in for another trip into the simplest communal activity humans ever invented. Watch
The Telemark Canal
It’s a toss up between trains and boats as to which of them better lend themselves to the Slow TV format. Both are reasonably relaxing ways to travel, if you have the stomach and legs to survive a boat. Whether you like the boat or the train broadcast more probably comes down to your own personal taste, but fighting about it also seems counterproductive. At least for the purposes of Slow TV. It’s better to watch what you want and leave everyone alone about it. Watch
Salmon fishing is arguably the most action packed iteration of Slow TV, with Norwegians casting long lines on the opening day of salmon fishing season in the Gaula River. Sometimes they even catch something. This is also the best program to pair with beer and we recommend going to your local importer and seeing if you can’t pick up something Norwegian. Or at least Icelandic. Watch