What country comes to mind when you think of people needing a break from the fast pace and incessant excitement of daily life? The United States, and its politics, sports, economics and long work days? Japan, and the endless pressures to perform in every aspect of life? Australia, and the omnipresent dangers of venomous and sharp-toothed creatures ready to end someone’s lexistence?
How about Norway?
Norwegians, in an effort to leave behind the stresses of the day, have signed on in large numbers to what is called the “Slow TV” movement. It consists of television broadcasts, typically in real time, of comparatively dull events.
If you’re wondering what type of events, imagine the old “yule log” broadcast which used to be provided every Christmas Eve by some local television channels. This is stuff that makes C-Span look blindingly exciting by comparison.
The first of these modern shows was 2009’s Bergensbanen – minutt for minutt, a multi-hour broadcast of a train travelling across southern Norway.
The ratings were phenomenal. Since then, the station has shown travels by other trains, boats, and even an eight-hour knitting binge.
It has its benefits. The scenery is beautiful, there’s no plot or characterization that anyone needs to follow, and it’s about as family-friendly as can be imagined.
It hasn’t really caught on in the rest of the world, though. Maybe this year, if the Yule Log returns with ratings that beat that last episode of Big Bang Theory.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite current television show?