Friday, February 10, 2012

What Happened to the History on the History Channel?

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

I remember it well...the day way back in 1995 when I learned that A&E Networks were going to launch the History Channel. I was about as excited as a history guy could be. Back in those days, they actually had some shows that dealt with history. Not the deeply analytical kind you can find rocketing out of the hallowed halls of academia, but history nonetheless.

What happened? Heading over to the History Channel website, here is what I see. Swamp People, Full Metal Jousting, Pawn Stars, Pickers, Restorers, and a lot of other "reality" type shows (appealing to the lowest common denominator) that deal more with people who "wrastle" alligators than with any topics of historical interest. And for the cherry on top - you can always watch America's favorite insipid pinhead, Larry the Cable Guy. His show...Only in America features moose kissing and various other asinine activities that apparently only take place here in the good 'ole US of A. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we are idiots.

I challenge the History Channel to air something of historical value. It doesn't have to be heavy-handed academics - just history. Or...maybe it would just be better if you changed your name to something else.




  1. Well, I was watching it earlier today and they had a show about the bottom of the ocean and one of their talking heads made a point that "the reason it is so old is that it was born long ago."

    I'm paraphrasing of course, but it did involve this feature being so old because "it was born long ago." I know that "born long ago" was the phrase used to describe why it was so old.

    Of course, it's hard to argue against that point, I suppose. Being born long ago would tend to make something old.

    (I think it was one of the How the Earth Was Made shows, which I guess does involve history, though it seems more closer to science. )

    Oh well...

  2. And regarding Larry the Cable Guy, he did actually make one historically relevant comment on the episode I (for some reason) watched a few days ago. See my comments linked below. I still wonder who researched & wrote it for him

  3. I think you're being too harsh. Their prime-time lineup is definitely full of 'reality' shows. But I'd say they have had more real historical programming earlier in the day: Vietnam in HD, WWII in HD, The Third Reich, Gettysburg, How the States Got their Shape, Modern Marvels, Dogfights, and Patton 360. Every morning, they start off with "The Real West" and "Civil War Journal" and I wish they'd show more of them. Yet, your main point is true. They could and should show a lot more documentaries like those produced by the BBC (some of which are excellent), and even movies.

  4. Yes - I suppose that during the day when people are at work (by the way, Scott...when do you find to watch all this TV?) they show a few things that might be construed as historical - kind of anyway. But they promote their prime-time lineup. Their site focuses on it - they are clearly behind the nitwit reality concept. Seriously - they spend a lot of money advertising this poor excuse for entertainment...there are billboards all over LA!

  5. Richard. This makes me sad inside.

  6. Keith asked: "by the way, Scott�when do you find to watch all this TV?"

    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, no comment. I don't watch any of this - but I can read a website.

  7. Personally I enjoy the History Channel's money making reality tv shows. They still do history sometimes, but everyone has got to pay the bills too. More power to them.

  8. Haha Scott - I didn't think so. I never had the time to watch TV when I was in grad school!! :)

  9. I actually enjoy watching American Pickers and Pawn Stars, but calling it history is ludicrous. I understand that that is where the $$$ comes from, but I wish they would use the income to produce some quality original programming instead of just running rehashed productions made by other networks.