New fad of ‘unhurried television’

The cultural phenomenon of ‘unhurried television’ is now available to stream in more than 190 countries.

By Michael d’Estries

Need a break from the superhero trials and tribulations of “Jessica Jones” or the dark and twisted politics of “House of Cards?” If you’re addicted to Netflix but need a cleansing respite from the drama du jour, perhaps a little Slow TV is in order.

Netflix recently became the first streaming service to tap into the “unhurried television” phenomenon that has taken Nordic countries like Norway, Sweden, and Iceland by storm. The concept revolves around spotlighting a particular activity or trip through the countryside for hours on end. Examples of marathon broadcasts in the past have included a two-hour canal rides through Norway, a 24-hour car trip around Iceland, and a soul-stirring 60-hour broadcast of the “Hymn Book, minute by minute” involving more than 200 choirs and 4,000 singers.

“Slow TV is very different from the way everybody — including myself, to be honest — has always thought that TV should be made,” Norwegian broadcast producer Rune Moklebust remarked in 2014. “TV has mostly been produced the same way everywhere with just changes in subjects and themes. This is a different way of telling a story. It is more strange. The more wrong it gets, the more right it is.”

Introducing its 83 million subscribers in 190 countries to the concept, Netflix has decided to start off with a mix of programs ranging from less than an hour to about seven hours long. Among the more intriguing are Norway’s six-hour “National Firewood Night,” which covers chopping, and stacking firewood, a seven-hour beautiful “Train Ride Bergen to Oslo,” and the 3.5-hour “National Knitting Evening,” in which a group of knitting enthusiasts attempt to break the speed record for “shearing, spinning and knitting wool into a men’s sweater.”

Of course, if you’d rather just grab a cup of coffee and watch some wood burn, Netflix has you covered there too. The two-hour “National Firewood Morning” is just a bunch of logs slowly burning into glowing ash. For those who wait long enough, there’s even some marshmallow roasting. Sure, it’s no “Stranger Things,” but if you need a break from the world and can’t escape to somewhere green and quiet, Slow TV may just offer a relaxing getaway from the comfort of your couch.