Norway’s Slow TV encounters a weird problem: TV that’s too slow
The producers of Norway’s smash-hit “Slow TV” genre have captivated audiences with videos of a 134-hour-long cruise voyage and 13 hours of people knitting.
But sometimes even Slow TV can be too slow.
The latest addition to this hypnotizing genre followed the spring migration of reindeer from their winter home on the inland Finnmark plains to the coastal summer grazing areas on Kvaløya island.
The non-stop transmission, entitled Reinflytting: Minutt for Minutt, was meant to culminate on April 28, with the animals swimming from the mainland to the island.
But the reindeer started their journey later than expected and took a longer route. On the day of what was supposed to be the last broadcast, the 31-member production crew didn’t see any signs of movement. So NRK decided to put the transmission on hold for now, according to Aftenposten.
Slow TV was a surprising sensation in 2009 when NRK aired Bergensbanen minutt for minutt, a 7.5-hour train journey across the southern part of Norway, from Bergen to Oslo.
The documentary drew an impressive 1.2 million viewers when it aired.
Rune Moklebust and Thomas Hellum were the brains behind the train video, and they’ve helped churn out a slew of luxuriously long films since then.
Moklebust, the head of programming at NRK in Bergen, said he had “no idea” eight years ago the genre would be such a success.
“It’s normally one of those ideas you get late night after a couple of beers in the bar, and when you wake up the next day, ‘Ahh, it’s not a good idea after all,'” he told CBS News in an interview on Sunday.
But their bosses at NRK were sold, and soon Moklebust and Hellum got the green light to produce the train documentary.
In 2013, a 12-hour program on firewood attracted nearly a million people — about 20 percent of Norway’s population — throughout the broadcast. Four hours of the program included produced content, while the remaining eight hours showed a fireplace live.
“National Knitting Night,” a 13-hour broadcast, opened with scenes of shearing sheep and closed with people knitting sweaters. An 18-hour long broadcasted called “Salmon Swimming Upstream” featured precisely what the title promised.
Then there’s a five-and-a-half-day-long cruise along Norway’s coast. At one point, almost half of the Scandinavian country was watching.
Hellum, an NRK production manager in Hordaland, admitted that Slow TV — no surprise — can be pretty boring.
“Much of life itself is boring,” he told CBS News. “But in-between, there are some exciting moments, and you just have to wait for them.”
He noted that, “If the viewers laugh, or think, Wow, this is too crazy, that’s basically the kind of reaction you really want from the viewers.”