January 25, 2012

The Decline and Fall of History Channel

I’m a history nut.  Leave me in a bookstore for any length of time, and I’ll eventually mosey my way from the F&SF section to the photography section and finally to the history section.  I read the History of Herodotus when I was ten or so.  When History Channel debuted here in my country, I was naturally overjoyed.

There were great shows on ancient military gear and tactics, specially the ones with Mike Loades, showing historical fighting styles.  There were well-researched features on ancient civilizations and cultures.  History Channel was truly international in its outlook. It was the time when History Channel was a true geek’s channel.

What do we get now? Pawn Stars.  ‘Factual’ documentaries about aliens on Earth during ancient times.  MonsterQuest, a cryptozoology show that features endless re-runs of the same video clips within the same episode.  Ancients Behaving Badly, covering historical personalities Boy Abunda-gossip show style. 

Well done, History Channel.  Very. Well. Done. Indeed.

5 comments:

  1. Well, that's America for you. Our proud tradition of anti-intellectualism and believing all manner of utter bullshit--from creationism to John Edward--corrupts everything, especially when there is money to be made.

    Stupidity sells.

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  2. Hear Hear! The travel channel is another running joke. Somewhere along the line they figure out that they get just as many or more advertisers if they put on junk programs as they do if they actually put on shows that are on topic.

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  3. The History Channel used to have the running joke that it was the World War 2 Channel, because they had so many WW II documentaries running all the time; if I had known then what I know now I'd have praised them for actually running on topic content, now it's just fallen to the lowest common denominator theory of programming.

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  4. Yup. So sad. And IIRC the shows I did like back then were BBC productions. Can anybody confirm whether History Channel has a different, British edition?

    On a side note, my dad, who survived WWII as a sort of guerilla auxiliary, loves the WWII shows. :)

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  5. The WWII shows (and in fact a lot of the military stuff) were pretty good.

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