The next time someone says that something is slower than watching paint dry or watching grass grow, don’t just laugh and pass it off, as you might be able to turn that thing into the next big television phenomenon. The concept of slow TV is a burgeoning one, and it’s quite possibly the most unpredictable sub-genre of programming at the moment, as literally anything on Earth can count as subject matter. Case in point: an event program is in development right now that will focus solely on watching reindeer migrating. Sweeps week, this isn’t.
The slow TV pioneers over in Norway have come up with their most antler-filled idea yet for this, as the production company NRK Hordaland is working on a future project that would put a dedicated film team with the indigenous Sami (or Laplanders) as they go on their yearly trek of herding large numbers of reindeer from the plains to the coastal pastures. Though the actual migrating process takes weeks, plans are to keep the potential telecast limited to around seven days.
You’d think that a project like this would be a fairly basic one to put together, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The migration periods for reindeer vary from year to year, so the actual production would have to be pre-planned and then started up on the fly. (Pun possibly intended.) As well, the technical aspects will have to be worked out to make sure satellite coverage that far north in Norway is even strong enough to keep a live feed transmitting for the amount of time needed to make this marathon telecast a feasible reality.
The point is obviously not to deliver high-octane thrills, but to give people something meditative to engage with that doesn’t rely on plot and characters. As project leader Thomas Hellum told the newspaper Aftenposten, this kind of “hardcore slow TV” is about taking people back to nature. When you consider what kinds of other subjects have been showcased through slow TV marathons – such as a ship’s Norwegian voyage, a fireplace burning, a night of knitting and more –seeing animals make a trek from one lovely location to the next seems kind of normal.
Check out some peaceful footage from a Norwegian train ride below.
NRK is aiming to get this project figured out and live on TVs in the early part of 2017, with a test run to be performed in early 2016. Are you guys interested in joining these reindeer non-games?