I know, I’m a bit old-fashioned. I like history, I visit historical places, I read about history and write about it too and when I switch on the History TV channel, I kind of expect history too. I used to find it too until a few years ago.
When the History Channel started, it was one of the best channels on television. Imagine, a television channel that didn’t dumb down that much and just showed history shows and documentaries. There are so many people who like history that it seemed only natural to have a channel dedicated to it.
True, it seemed to show various things on Romans and ancient Egypt rather than say the very interesting but totally unpublicised 18th century Egypt and more than the odd world war documentary. Generally though, at least on the British channel you could find something interesting to watch whenever you switched over.
A few years later things went ever so little downhill when they started showing, presumably very cheap American black and white documentaries on WW2 which relied on a few maps, a voice over and endless repeated footage of Panzer tanks going through forests, fleeing civilians, concentration camps and Russian rockets firing mercilessly at Berlin. It wasn’t known as Hitler TV for nothing.
Okay thought I, it is history for the masses but still history and a lot better than those celebrity shows everywhere and even those stupid Alien type shows that were appearing on History itself.
I’d always thought that History doesn’t have to be about wars. History can be about lots of things, change, lack of change, ideas, culture, food, languages, houses, clothes. Why the obsession with war why not the history of the evolution of different and more advanced pens in Syria? Alien history and speculation was another matter. Despite believing in the possibility of alien life itself, there is a big difference between it being a possibility and wheeling out experts on Aliens and making our history relate to Aliens.
The History Channel had for over 10 years produced a really good and free of charge magazine that they sent to its devotees. Lots of us were saddened when it closed but not too surprised as it was far and beyond what was expected of a cable channel anyway.
Then for some unknown reason, the History Channel or History as it now called itself did to history what MTV did to music, it stopped showing history. Not all at once, but in the prime hours and then gradually throughout the days and weekends and until finally there was nothing historic on it at all.
Even the poor Military History Channel which had excellent documentaries got re-branded into H2. Not to worry, the channel publicists said, it means we can continue watching our favourite shows that used to be on History. Only after about 2 weeks that no longer happened. Now all the History Channels and their other channels no longer show anything at all to do with their original channel remits.
Luckily we have Discovery History which is usually, sometimes okay and in Britain the BBC which can make the best documentaries when it wants to but they aren’t on all day long.
So what do we have on History these days instead of history? To avoid swearing, we have nothing at all worth watching on history. Programmes about Pawn shops or junk shops as we would call them here. Run by people who know less about history than anyone I know and with objects only slightly older than what I had to eat at lunch time and certainly less interesting.
Axe Men, wahoo big deal. You have beards, wear chequered shirts and cut down trees. I cut down half a dozen trees in my garden after the storm in November and I’m not going to boast about it. If it was a TV show about the development of axe heads from stone-age onwards then we would have a history show.
Ice-Road Truckers, who gives a whatever about them. We have trucks on our roads every day, sometimes there is ice too. It’s not history unless it is about the biggest crash of trucks on ice in history and even then it would be worth maybe 5 minutes of one history show about the development of logging in the 20th Century and its impact on climate change. As for danger, they should try the M25 in torrential rain or snow in the dark in conditions with zero visibility and full of 10,000’s of drivers with limited talent who only want to get to work without dying.
As for Alligators or anything to do with Alligators. This is the History Channel. Who cares less about Alligators or swamp people. We have neither swamps or alligators in the U.K. Just marshes and eels which would lead in to some great history programmes about Ely or Hereward The Wake.
I don’t want to know about American Pickers, I don’t know what they pick, only that I was always told I should use tissue paper or a handkerchief if my nose was blocked. There are lots of history shows I would love to see about America. The Founding Fathers, bios on the first and then prominent Presidents. Histories of how certain cities came to be or various social histories and movements but not American Pickers.
Life After People, isn’t that entirely the opposite of History? Even before this, some of their over-hyped docudrama contained historic analysis by non-experts. Crazy, mind you even the BBC now has plenty of history shows by presenters rather than historians. They clearly know very little of the subject as they have to speak to specialists when talking about anything more complicated than their favourite colour.
Mud Men just sounds stupid and Storage Wars and Shipping Wars. I’ve worked in shipping before and it was as boring a job as you can have. You print out a shipping note, put the goods in a bag, box or envelope and then either post it or ring up a courier and a big van will come and a really bored looking driver will take your stuff to its destination. Not exciting at all and not history.
I used to watch History Channel a lot, now I can’t remember watching a documentary there for several years. Even the adverts for their upcoming shows put me off. It has gone from being the best channel to one of the very worst.
The history channel should be shut down, it has nothing to do with history whatsoever. It’s TV shows are dumb and do nothing at all to help people learn which is surely a prerequisite for a history channel. Obviously somewhere around 2 or 3 years ago the channel must have got taken over or fallen under new management who were only interested in cheap reality shows that appeal to brain-dead type folks.
History Channel is now owned by A&E which stands for arts and entertainments. Where are the arts? In Britain, A&E has another meaning, it’s what you see in and around hospitals, Accidents & Emergencies and this TV channel should have been sent to A&E years ago.
I don’t mind you transmitting this worthless pile of poo but just change your channel name. Cr@p TV might be a good one.
Sorry History Channel but in my house, you’re history!
Today is also my 2nd year blogging anniversary. Thank-you to every one has joined me on my blogging road, I’m truly grateful that you find any of what I write to be worthy of your time and interest. It’s been really nice to have made some great friends along the way too.
Don’t forget to check out my new book ‘The Promise, the first book in the Timeless Trilogy that will be released this summer. You can read more about it here or be even more daring and visit my Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk stores and maybe make a purchase!