A sunny park in Japan with blooming cherry blossom trees
Still from “Cherry Blossoms Compilation,” a slow TV segment created by Nippon Wandering TV. (Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV)

Wind Down to the Meditative Wonders of Slow TV

Slow TV documents seemingly mundane occurrences at the rate they are actually experienced.
By Kathryn O’Shea-Evans
November 21, 2020
1 minute read

Sometimes—especially in moments of political strife, pandemics, hurricanes, or all of the above—a television plotline can be too much drama to bear, even if it’s frothy and light. In those instances, we suggest getting lost in “slow television”: coverage of seemingly mundane occurrences at the rate they are actually experienced. Watch a train wend its way around the fjords and farms of the Norwegian countryside over the course of seven hours, or see a sweater get made, in the time of a typical work day, from A to Z (beginning with shearing a sheep’s wool), set to the tune of cheery folk music. Other bountiful slow TV options to stream: dogs frolicking on a beach, a meandering stroll among flowering cherry blossoms in Japan, and a sailing trip to Tobago, accompanied by the soothing sounds of waves lapping against a boat’s exterior.

The format can arguably be traced to none other than Andy Warhol, whose 1963 film “Sleep” consisted entirely of his lover, the poet and performance artist John Giorno, napping. Regardless of its subject matter, slow TV demonstrates how everyday, drawn-out activities can be a form of meditation—even if experienced from a fly-on-the-wall perspective and through a screen. We’re feeling calmer already.