OPINION: I can’t think of anything worse than watching Slow TV
As SBS gears up to slow things down, I'm preparing to switch the channel
- byStephen Downie
Apparently, slow television has fast become a phenomenon. Personally, I’d rather stick scorpions in my ears. The idea that anyone would choose to watch a train chundering through the heart of Australia hour after brain-sapping hour is beyond me. And it would seem I’m not alone.
After SBS last year screened The Ghan’s journey from Adelaide to Darwin, viewers labelled it “boring TV”. My favourite comment: “Yawn … I’m Ghan to bed.” Yet, there are obviously those who disagree. The Ghan was an oasis in a desert of dire ratings for SBS.
That’s why this year they’ve wheeled out four new slow TV documentaries for you to drool like an insomniac over. There’s The Indian Pacific: Australia’s Longest Train Journey (Sun., Jan. 6 at 7.30pm; SBS, for the three-hour version). Here’s a spoiler: nothing happens. Three hours not enough? On Sat., Jan. 12, you can watch the Indian Pacific’s trip all day on SBS Viceland.
The Indian Pacific: Australia’s Longest Train Journey
On Sun., Jan 13 at 7.30pm, SBS has The Kimberley Cruise: Australia’s Last Great Wilderness, with an extended version on SBS Viceland on Sat., Jan. 19. Put a rubber duck in a bathtub – same thing.
Next, you can putter through Britain’s waterways in All Aboard! The Canal Trip (Sun., Jan. 20, 7.30pm; SBS – mercifully, this one’s only two hours long and there’s no extended cut).
The Kimberley Cruise: Australia’s Last Great Wilderness
Finally, North To South (Sun., Jan. 27 at 7.30pm; SBS, and the extended version all day on Sat., Feb. 2; SBS Viceland) takes us around New Zealand’s north and south islands. Seriously, catch a plane and do it for real, you lazy buggers.
Of course, slow TV is nothing new. After all, we’ve watched Test cricket for years. Five days – take that, SBS – of TV punctuated by the occasional “Howzat?!” SBS may be on to a winner with their version, but I won’t be on that train.