Saturday, May 1, 2010
The Sad Demise of the "History" Channel
I love history. When I was a kid, I'd spend hours poring over old history textbooks, looking for maps, graphs and charts and reading about Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, and Andrew Jackson. I'd draw maps of imaginary battle sites and imagine that I was the general leading troops to victory. I'd give speeches like I was Henry Clay addressing the Senate. I was what you'd call a geek, I guess- still am.
There used to be a cable channel made just for people like me. It was called The History Channel. Sure, it was overladen with World War II footage- there are only so many times I really care to see "Hitler's Generals" and "Dogfights!" and interviews with ancient vets, but I understood that the channel's archives contained several million miles of footage so what the heck? And sure, the channel's producers seemed to have a bit of an obsession with the occult- multiple "Salem Witch Trials" and "Secrets of Nostradamus" (and "Secrets of Nostradamus's SON") programs got a bit wearisome.
But something very tragic has happened to this history geek's favorite cable channel. It's simply not about "History" anymore. Check out this lineup: Axe Men, Pawn Stars, Monster Quest, Ancient Aliens: The Series, UFO Hunters, That's Impossible, Gangland, Ice Road Truckers (on the air roughly six hours a day.) I mean, what the hell? When did The History Channel decide to pick up programming ideas found in the dumpsters behind USA and TBS?
It's really depressing when your odds of finding a HISTORY program on The History Channel are only slightly better than your odds of finding a music video on MTV. I can't imagine why history geeks would want to watch the current version of The History Channel. Or non-history geeks, for that matter.
Hey, History Channel- how about getting back to showing us, you know, History? I imagine it's cheaper and safer to just copy the other lame, shoestring-budget cable offerings out there, but as one of the Axe Men opines into the camera you shoved in his face, "Life without Risks is Mediocre." So is your current lineup. Mediocre, and not History.