Focused on giving viewers long, relaxing, and drawn out tours through things like the Norwegian coast, the train ride from Bergen to Oslo or Trondheim to Bodø, or the process of chopping wood before stretching out in front of a fireplace. Though they’re all a part of the same series, the available episodes of Slow TV are wildly different. Here’s what they’re all about.
A relatively short installment given the length of some of the other episodes, Northern Passage is a 59-minute highlight reel of an extremely long program from NRK called Minutt for Minutt, which it meant quite literally. That program was a live broadcast of the voyage of a Hurtigruten cruise along the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes that was on 24 hours-a-day for six days. Hurtigruten is a staple of Norwegian transportation and tourism, and this captures just a small piece of it, showing some stunning shots of fjords, mountains, small coastal communities, and stunning islands. It’s not all scenic shots here, though. Narration and interviews give some context and background on the Norway’s people, natural features, and history.
Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
This is the behemoth of the bunch. A pretty much real-time ride from Bergen to Oslo, this episode is just over 7 hours long and features no background music, narration, or sound of any kind aside from conductor announcements, distant chatter, “dings” signifying the stops and the sound of the train car moving along the tracks. (In other words, just mute it.)
It’s super long, but there’s something deeply relaxing and almost hypnotic about the smooth motion (and it is super smooth) of the train as it makes its way through diverse landscapes in the southern part of Norway. It doesn’t have the stunning camera quality of some of the other episodes (think GoPro mounted on the front of the train), but it still captures the beauty of Norway’s landscape and gives you a great wide-angle view of the mountains, forests, lakes, and water.
The shortest episode of the bunch, Northern Railway follows the train journey from Trondheim to Bodø in the northern region of Norway. Its a 52-minute condensed version of what was originally a 10-hour documentary broadcast in Norway by NRK. It includes some really stunning scenery and is peppered with interviews with people on the train and some historical, geographical, and ecological context for some of the locations along the way.
National Firewood: Morning, Evening and Night
With three available episodes, the National Firewood episodes are actually pretty different, even though they share the same name. The Morning edition is essentially a fireplace for your screen. It’s certainly relaxing, watching the logs burn and hearing the crackle, but you’ve probably seen something like it before.
Evening, however, takes you on a tour of the proper methods for cutting and stacking wood for a big ol’ fire (and listen, Norwegians know how to make a big-ass fire). You’re going to learn a thing or two about making and maintaining a decent fire, so if you’re looking to impress someone next time the need for a small, controlled and efficient fire presents itself, this is the episode to check out. Evening is relaxing in its own way — it’s a nearly 4-hour stream of pretty easily-digestible information and a lot of pretty pictures of logs and wood and fire.
Night is something like a hybrid of Evening and Morning. For the majority of the six-hour episode, the camera is trained on the fireplace. But, at times, there’s conversation happening in the background. If you want to feel like you’re kind of a part of a conversation that you can dip in and out of and not contribute to without feeling like a jerk, this is a good pick. The anecdotes are interesting and varied and you might even learn something without the need to actually devote your undivided attention to the screen.
National Knitting: Evening
You want to know a lot about knitting? Like, everything about knitting? This is the 3 hour and 55 minute episode for you. If you wished HGTV shows moved slower and were several hours longer, look no further. You’ll learn about the history of patterns and pieces, watch some of the process of making yarn, and hear some stories from big-time knitters.