14 June 2020

No history on History (Channel)

Anything that's ancient will likely have some element of history (and possibly even some degree of historical significance) attached to it.

Is that a fair statement?  

By every conceivable academic and social norm of understanding, I'd say yes.  I mean, if a subject is ancient, chances are it's historical, right?  And if it possesses especial historical value, one could reasonably assume that it may even feature on the History Channel (or simply "History" as it's known these days).  After all, isn't that what history's largely all about?  Ancient civilisations, ancient cultures, ancient battles, ancient artifacts, ancient folklore, ancient aliens; historical things and events which we ought to appreci....  Hang on!  Ancient aliens?!

For the better part of the past decade, the contents of my once-favourite documentary channel have to me become so alien (sorry, couldn't help the pun) that whenever I watch it, I can't help but ask: Have we run out of history?  No, seriously, if you browsed through the next 12 hours' TV schedule for History, it would likely look something like this:

18:00-20:00    Ancient Aliens

20:00-21:00    UFOs: Dangerous Encounters Exposed
21:00-22:00    The Curse of Oak Island
22:00-23.00    American Pickers
23:00-00:00    Ancient Aliens (again)
00:00-01:00    Mountain Men
01:00-02:00    Forged In Fire
02:00-03:00    Pawn Stars
03:00-04:00    (... and again) Ancient Aliens
04:00-05:00    Ancient MonsterQuest
05:00-06:00    Swamp People

As you can see, these days we're literally swamped (again, mind the pun) by a laughable variety of heavily-dramatised, sensationalised reality TV serials, none of which carry even a speck of real or decent - never mind significant - history-related content.

The way I see it, the channel has become a money-spinning network that showcases almost solely pseudo-documentaries and unsubstantiated investigative programming - ones targetted at audiences who are more interested in how much a restored 1977 Evel Knievel-themed pinball machine would fetch on the open market than they are in the Normandy landings, The Reformation or China's Cultural Revolution.

1977 Evel Knievel pinball machine; truly historic material, according to History

I mean, seriously, what on earth have History done?  Have they sold all their real history programmes to some suspect Vegas pawn shop that's run by three generations of fat, blood-sucking pawnbrokers in exchange for an incessant, ever-increasing stream of reality TV shows that often insult the intelligence?

Or, more ominously, are History now run by a bunch of gator-hunt'n bayou millionaires who probably believe Queen Elizabeth II and George W. Bush are in fact reptilian aliens - or that Genghis Khan is the prime minister of Pakistan?

Gator-huntin' swamp folks; historically more significant than Columbus or FDR
Oh, how I miss those days when the History Channel was actually about history - not little green men, dubious Bigfoot sightings, eclectic treasure hunters, lazy pawn shop assistants, wannabe Samurai swordsmiths, overzealous trapper-hunters, mimicking duck calls and shooting s**t.

Of course I could just choose to not watch the channel.  The problem is, it comes in a package on cable TV that includes some really sound documentary channels (Discovery sadly isn't one of them - not anymore) and I'm paying good money for it.  So c'mon, History; stop doing to history what Discovery did to science and give us our proper money's worth of REAL history!  Or is that history?

What are you thoughts about what I've just written?  Have History (or have I) lost the plot?  Do you enjoy watching the current shows on History or do you prefer the genuinely history-related programmes of old? 


  1. Couldn't agree more. Cable TV for me bears no relevance to anything I want to watch.

  2. I want my money back, Alister... calculated retrospectively from '09.

  3. I agree, it's definitely gone down hill. Very disappointing these days :-(

    1. Disappointing is an understatement, Kay Dee.

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