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A Historical Rant

I don't watch much television. There's just too much mindless programming.

However, the content I do enjoy watching is mainly non-fictional in content. Science, history, biographies, nature.

And nowhere was there a better resource for such indulgence than the History Channel.

That's why I am just befuddled at what the History Channel has morphed into.

It used to be a bastion of worthy information. Programming included old war footage and documentaries, information about the Roman and Greek Empires, spotlights on the building of marvelous structures built around the world at different points in time. Space, world conflicts, American and Western civilization were all of immense interest.

My, how things have changed.

Now we have marathons of "Ice Road Truckers" or "UFO Hunters". "MonsterQuest" and "Extreme Trains". "Ax-Men", for God's sake..

What the hell happened?

This stuff isn't history! It's just "spectacle filler". It's crap. And it's a shame.

Same thing with A&E.. I mean, I love the Sopranos, but, on A&E?

Am I the only one who has seen the decline in content? Is this just another example of the "dumbing down" of our culture?

Oh well.. Rant off..


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Comments (27)

It's a bunch of network exe... (Below threshold)
David Marcoe:

It's a bunch of network execs looking for a quick boost in profits, hoping to diversify the audience by filling time slots with schlock TV shows. Of course their diluting their brand turning away segments of the audience, costing them long term profitability for short term gain.

correction: they're dilutin... (Below threshold)
David Marcoe:

correction: they're diluting

Hey I'll be the first to ad... (Below threshold)
Brett Michaels:

Hey I'll be the first to admit it. We all have our guilty pleasures. I try and try to turn off those ridiculous reality shows and swear I'll never watch another one ever again... but it's like a car accident you just can't look away. I will agree this is just a new way to glorify trash and make it the new acceptable way of life. I'll apologize now for contributing to it.

You think that's bad? How ... (Below threshold)

You think that's bad? How about the hokey professional wrestling they've been running on the SciFi Channel? They used to have some good programming for semi-trekkies like me, and now they start running that crap when I'm look for a little escapism? Meh.

No your not off the mark. ... (Below threshold)

No your not off the mark. I've sent several letters to them asking who the hell they put in charge of programing, and that I thought it SUCKED! Not much to watch on the boob-tube any more.

Worst yet is their politica... (Below threshold)

Worst yet is their political angle toward history - they had a show on called "Crash: the Next Great Depression." They tried poorly to draw comparisons between now and 1929 - blithely slipping in imagery equating Hoover with Bush, and gratuitous images of Obama tied to FDR...

Except they gutted their own imagery. The supposed cause of the great Depression was lack of government intervention; FDR saved the day. Quick interaction was pushed by Bush, and touted by the experts as what was necessary, but the show ended with the smirking visage of Obama.

No mention of the fraud from the heads of Fannie and Freddie; no mention of the impact of the "Community Reinvestment Act" at strong-arming banks; no mention of Dodd and Frank.

History Channel earns a coveted 5 douchebags out of 5 for this piece of lightweight drivel. No doubt the 'believers' will eat it up.

"You've got 1 message.<br /... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

"You've got 1 message.
Open Message now."

You would do well to keep that crappy shit off your website.

As a rule, the ultimate goa... (Below threshold)

As a rule, the ultimate goal of any TV network is to entertain people so that they will stay tuned long enough to watch the commercials, because the commercials are the source of revenue for the network. If enough people aren't watching, to the satisfaction of the sponsors, then the network has to change the programming in order to lure more viewers.

The History Channel isn't exempt from this rule.

Those of us who like the History Channel's original programming wish to be informed, which is why we watch, but we are outnumbered by viewers who only want to be entertained.

ECW on SCIFI channel. Go f... (Below threshold)
retired military:

ECW on SCIFI channel. Go figure

Commercials will continue t... (Below threshold)

Commercials will continue their decline in importance, with TIVOs and other PVRs being the main agents of their death.

We'll move more to a subscription world in the future; this will be a good change. And it will seem, as did the Internet for example, to appear almost out of nowhere, but in reality it's well underway.

/humble prediction

Well, the bright sid... (Below threshold)

Well, the bright side it's not "Member Supported" It's hard to watch get through a program with nonstop begging.

Wat irks me are the ghost a... (Below threshold)

Wat irks me are the ghost and paranormal shows that appear on science channels.

Same thing has happened to ... (Below threshold)

Same thing has happened to SoapNet, which has become less about soaps and more about rerunning teen dramas (the original 90210, One Tree Hill, etc), shows ABC (the parent company) is trying to get more people to watch, and bad movies of the week. One of the original selling points to a lot of soap fans was not only watching "today's episodes tonight" but weekend marathons of all the week's episodes if you missed any.

Netflix. Cheaper, Better. F... (Below threshold)
Mrs. Davis:

Netflix. Cheaper, Better. Fast? Two out of three ain't bad.

The Military Channel kicks ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

The Military Channel kicks ass. Discovery still does some good work, How It's Made is pretty cool and Planet Earth is awesome.

What drives me batty is how four or five channels all go to commercials at same time. What are the odds? Even worse on a Saturday when six football games are all on commercial at the same time. How?

Even worse on a Saturday wh... (Below threshold)

Even worse on a Saturday when six football games are all on commercial at the same time. How?

Seems like every time you go to a cable channel, 1st thing you hit is a commercial. What are the odds of that?

I felt the same way with Br... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I felt the same way with Bravo...when it went from Arts and Culture to the All Gay channel, it lost me completely.

"How about the hokey profes... (Below threshold)

"How about the hokey professional wrestling they've been running on the SciFi Channel?"

That's bad enough, but what about all the other non-SciFi programming popping up on the channel over the years? I'm not talkin' about stuff with a more fantasy or horror bent that have aired on the channel throughout the years like the original "Twilight Zone" or "Hercules" or "Xena" - stuff that could at least somewhat fit somehow. I'm talkin' about straight out non-SciFi stuff like "National Treasure", "Psych", "Law & Order: SVU", "Braveheart", "Saw"!

Sheesh, what's next - live-action programming on *Cartoon* Network? Oh, wait...

You mean 'Ice Road Truckers... (Below threshold)

You mean 'Ice Road Truckers' isn't on the SATs? Whoa!

"What drives me batty is... (Below threshold)

"What drives me batty is how four or five channels all go to commercials at same time. What are the odds?"

Not surprising at all when you consider that a full one third of each hour of programming is commercials. I've counted as many as ten commercials in a row.

But yeah, it irks me to no end what they consider informative programming so far off from what the channel name implies. And the Biography channel? Somehow they're under the impression that the only people in the world who have lives worth exploring are vapid movie and TV stars.

You're probably not watchin... (Below threshold)

You're probably not watching Armageddon Week. Me neither.

Totally agree with your ran... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Totally agree with your rant. As a history buff, I find the History channel less and less useful. It was much better when it first started, even though at that time it had the reputation of being the "all-WWII, all the time" channel.

There are so many programs on History now that have nothing to do with history, but would have a terrific home on some of the other networks. Ice Road Truckers IS fascinating, but it isn't history. Neither is History's version of "after man," a speculation into what would happen to civilization if mankind disappeared.

Military Channel is terrific, and has many things that History used to be. Still, History does occasionally show decent programming. If they got rid of the UFO garbage, they might get me back as a reular viewer. Until then, I'll go to Military, National Geographic and Discovery for serious, scientific and historical programming.

I had this complaint about ... (Below threshold)

I had this complaint about TLC (The *Learning* Channel) several years ago. I used to watch Discovery, History, TLC and a little network TV. Then TLC went to the chicks and networks started showing all "reality tv" drivel.

This is why I haven't invested in a nice flat panel TV yet. I might have to get rid of the TV altogether soon.

Even Charter's "on demand" ... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Even Charter's "on demand" offerings from History Channel are almost all about UFOs. Crap.

Though, to be fair, the cha... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Though, to be fair, the channel does offer some decent history-oriented programming, such as:

•Cities of the Underworld
•Modern Marvels
•Man, Moment, Machine
•Deep Sea Detectives

I have to admit, I LOVE VH1... (Below threshold)

I have to admit, I LOVE VH1 and their reality shows. I dont know what it is, but I just cant turn away from Rock of Love, Charm School, Real Chance of Love(thats my favorite as the 2 guys just seem like genuine funny guys having a good time.) I just cant stop. I have them all set up to DVR.

But I also have the Military Channel DVRing
which is the greatest channel ever. Ive seen almost every show they have on airpower from WWI to modern fighters and they blow my mind all the time.

Some of the good History Ch... (Below threshold)

Some of the good History Channel stuff is now on History International. It's part of an upgrade package on my DirecTV, e.g.

It is getting tougher to get this quality of programming. Remember 'The Day The Universe Changed'? Nice show premise, that.






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