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
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.
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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.