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What's on Swedish Television as America Votes

By Alexander Joenks | Politics | November 8, 2016 |

By Alexander Joenks | Politics | November 8, 2016 |

So, I moved to Sweden a couple of months ago for the year. No, I’m not a preemptive President Trump refugee (yet, I guess we’ll see how the evening goes), I just got a fellowship for the year and am living the glorious expat life of snow and research. But that means I can give you the most important and critical information on the evening of this election: what is on Swedish television during the last few hours that American polls are still open.

I’ve got 19 channels. With typical Swedish efficiency, they’re numbered 1 through 18. And with typical Swedish arbitrariness, the last channel is jumped up to 25. What’s on channels 19 through 24? Only Ikea knows for sure.

1. Three hours of coverage of the American election in Swedish! The current headline is “Clinton: E-postkandalen tynger”. Oh good, the email fiasco has gone completely international.

2. An English-language documentary on crowdfunding. I just learned how Wasteland 2 got made, and it turns out it wasn’t just a story of Trump’s America.

3. Paradise Hotel: Swedish reality television show about gorgeous people in swimsuits living in a swank hotel on a private island. It’s HUGE here. So this was originally a show on Fox for a single season in like 2003, but the Swedish version is now in its seventh season. It is evidence that language is not a barrier for understanding everything that happens on a reality television show. This is the current cast:


It’s really intellectual.

4. Väder: I think this is a news program. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with Star Wars despite the name. Currently covering the American election, with Swedish reporters on the scene at a couple of different locations in the US.

5. Reruns of The Middle

6. A four-hour marathon of Simpsons episodes having to do with elections. Called Simpsons for President in the program guide.

7. Swedish language procedural. It’s dark and snowing and there are dead people. Two of the three are my commute twice a day, guess which?

8. A British version of something like Househunters

9. Gordon Ramsey yelling at people on Hotel Hell. Okay, I stopped and watched this for like fifteen minutes because the hotel had a dog and it was the happiest creature on Earth and even Ramsey couldn’t be angry at it. Then he brought his own dog to play with it, and his dog is an ancient cranky bulldog with the attitude of a cat. Way better than election coverage.

10. World War II: In HD Color. It’s like 50/50 whether this channel has World War II documentaries or true crime documentaries about American gangs.

11. As nearly as I can tell: a Swedish language documentary about STDs, in which everyone they interview is a British teenager. Memorable because of the ginger kid who yelled “And I said, ‘oi!’, what’s this spot on my dick?”

12. Like the most celebrated Canadian alt-rock band of the 90s, Harrison Ford is getting Frantic

13. Sociala Monster: a multi-episode documentary series in Swedish about the effects of social media on society.

14. Documentary about the rise of Trump in American politics. It’s … not positive of the man. This station’s been running hour-long documentaries of each of the American presidential elections for the last thirty years, almost every day for the last week.

15. Democracy Now. Yeah, they’re interviewing Michael Moore about the election.

16. Familjen Shtisel. An Israeli drama series about orthodox Jews, that I think is in Hebrew, subtitled into Swedish. Much more difficult to follow than Paradise Hotel.

17. CNN. Yep, the same one you’re getting.

18. BBC News. This is the international feed, so I’m getting the truth that they’re hiding from Petr.

25. Scorpion. I refuse to believe this is actually on the air anywhere in the world, and that I’m clearly having a bad reaction to eating all the meatballs in the country.

Dr. Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at You can email him here.