Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Happened to the History Channel?

I was thrilled when the History Channel went on the air. History is one of my great loves and to have an entire television channel devoted to history was divine. Unfortunately, I believe that the History Channel and its parent company A&E have lost their rudder. They used to have great programs and now a lot of it is schlock.

In poking around the Internet I discovered that I am not the only person who is unhappy with the History Channel’s current programming. I am far from the first to decide to post a blog about it. One person titled their post “Histerical Channel.” I like that and wish I would have thought of it.

My husband says that reality programming is cheap and seems to be what the public wants. What in the heck is wrong with the American public? But to get back to the History Channel, I was appalled when for Memorial Weekend, with all the programs they have achieved from the days when they actually were a history channel; they chose to have a “Monster Quest” marathon. A part from the fact that I would argue that a program devoted to the mythology of monsters in various cultures hardly qualifies as history in the first place, I cannot imagine why the History Channel would devote three days to showing it 24/7 for something like Memorial Weekend.

I would also argue that “Axe Men,” a program about present day loggers, and “Ice Road Truckers,” about truck drivers who drive big rigs over arctic ice for a living, is not history. A little of it is interesting, but it is not history. Their new “African Expedition” is also interesting, but only a half-step up from “Survivor” and “The Great Race,” two more programs I do not watch. The only reality programming I found engaging had a beginning, middle and end. Those were some BBC and PBS series that set volunteers into situation meant to recreate various periods of history and follow how they dealt with it. Watching people have to build dwellings from scratch on the American plains or deal with the class structure of Victorian England was compelling to me, but it didn’t drag on forever.

The anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow. I’ve checked and the History Channel has some little programming devoted to it. Maybe the email I sent then on Memorial Day had an effect. I may actually turn on the History Channel this weekend, but judging by their line up, I won’t be going back to being a regular viewer any time soon. Thank goodness for books!
If you are unhappy with the History Channel's current offerings, click here and tell them so.

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