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The weird and wonderful world of Norsk TV

Posted by weehaggis on Monday, November 6, 2006

One of the great things about being a native English speaking (note to those who don’t think I do – I’m one of those with the more refined Scottish accent) expat living in Norway is that you don’t have to suffer badly dubbed TV shows, or even well dubbed ones for that matter. Assuming that you have a semi decent cable or satellite TV package, anytime you switch on the box you should be able to find something understandable to watch. The exception is normally when you can’t. This isn’t to say that Norwegian TV isn’t without its challenges.

The first thing to figure out is the scheduling. Let me try to explain.

You may have the first run of a TV show in a prime time slot on one Norwegian channel, a later showing of the same episode at a later time the same week (usually on the same channel), and reruns of previous seasons at various times on other channels. That’s only on Norwegian TV. When you bring in Swedish TV, it gets a little more confusing. They can be showing the same first run of a TV show, but with episodes out of synch and on different nights.

Take for example, The West Wing. Here we are currently mid season 7, and the latest episode is on tonight, Monday, at 20.05 on NRK 2. Then there is the rerun at 23.45 on Thursdays on NRK 1. NRK1 and NRK2 are the state owned channels, similar to the BBC in the UK. Currently there are also reruns of some much older season over on Hallmark. Yeah I know, what does Hallmark think it’s playing at, actually showing some half decent TV. Anyways, I digress…until recently SVT1 (Swedish TV) was also showing season 7. Its run has now finished.

Now you might say, just make sure you study the TV listings. That would make things too easy. On NRK the show is called Presidenten (The President), on SVT its Vita Huset (The White House), and on Hallmark, The West Wing. So even with some basic Norwegian, its still easy to get confused. This brings me on to the second challenge.

There appears to be no rhyme nor reason to the naming of foreign TV shows, at least for the British/American ones. Sometimes we get the original English name, sometimes a Norwegian translation of the original name, and then there’s the Norwegian translation of some other show name??? “Everyone Loves Raymond” becomes “Alle elsker Raymond” and “King of Queens” becomes “Kongen av Queens“. Those you easily get. But when “Home Improvements” translates to “Ti Tommeltotter, literally “10 Thumbs“, you soon realise that some lateral thinking is also required when translating the TV guide.

Of course, the icing on the cake is when all these TV shows come out on DVD. The titles always seem to revert to English…..to coin an Americanism…..go figure!!

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One Response to “The weird and wonderful world of Norsk TV”

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder

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