Like, What Happened to The History Channel?

As I was idly watching TV with my friends last night, The History Channel happened to pop up. While I have been aware of the changes that the channel has been making over the last few years, it didn’t really hit home how much the channel had strayed until I saw what looked like a West Coast Choppers spin off. And then I sighed as it really hit home.

If you dare to watch, The History Channel has become a breeding ground for cheap reality shows that have little to do with anything. In fact, most of the shows seem to delight just how low budget they are.

American Pickers? Swamp People? Top Shot? All are utterly forgettable and replaceable. And really not good, either.

Not to sound too dated or anything, but even up to a few years ago, The History Channel was completely about history. There were constant specials about famous historical figures and archaeological expeditions and anthropological studies. There were interviews with experts and recreations of famous events.

The old History Channel managed to get me interested about thing I didn’t even know I was remotely interested in. I really wasn’t too passionate about the Sutton Hoo dig site, but I sure was after it popped up! I did not remotely care about Greek architecture, until I suddenly became fascinated with it because it looked neat and there was a British guy doing narration!!

That was what was great about the old History Channel! No matter when you tuned in, there was something interesting that people put a lot of academic effort into. You could learn while still being interested in whatever they were talking about.

I dunno. It’s kind of like how the SciFi Channel became “Syfy” and actively tries to distance itself from good science fiction now. The trendy and diluted experience is a betrayal of roots and an audience.  I just think that the new hybrid reality show format of the History Channel is stupid, especially when there are “better” shows that can be found on much less respectable stations.

Give me back mah Genghis Khan retrospectives, History Channel! Those of us who actually enjoy history presented somewhat academically kind of have a hole in our lives that no amount of crappy reality TV can fill. And no, your “What if Aliens Built the Pyramids???” thing does NOT count as decent programming.

X-Men: First Class Review

Well, I saw X-Men: First Class over the weekend, and I went in bracing for the worst. After being slammed with a franchise that rapidly revered direction and began to be horrible 6 years ago, X-Men fans had largely resigned themselves to a constant slew of crappy movies.

That expectation has been changed. The movie is a wonderfully fun adventure taken with Xavier and Magneto as young men, fatefully meeting and joining up in order to find other mutants and save the world from itself, despite their differences in motive. The action is intense, the stories are well told, and the theme is wonderfully stylized.

If there is one thing that has plagued the genre for over a decade, it’s an abundance of dark and gritty “realism” that featueres drab colors, depressing situations, and awful people. X-Men forgoes that tired cliche, preferring to inject life and color and energy and hope into the proceedings.

Exceptional performances by the leads certainly help. Micheal Fassbender and James McAvoy are awesome in portraying Magneto and Xavier, two men sharing a powerful friendship that is doomed by their wildly different ideals. Everyone will say this, but some seriously good acting there.

What’s more , the movie embraces its identity and has fun with it. For the first time in a long time, you feel that the production leads actually know something about the characters and care about them, instead of bombarding us with useless henchmen and killing off some of the most beloved characters at whim. (Looking at YOU, X-Men 3.)

X-Men: First Class is great. It actually is one of those movies that reminds you that superhero films can be character driven and emotionally gripping while still giving a good thrill.

Quite frankly, most superhero movies have been a mixed bag of bad acting, bad effects, and bad writing, while being saddled with poor direction. The ones that stand out as being genuinely good are few in number, but shine on as prime examples of the potential fo the genre.

X-Men: First Class is a revitalization of the concept, and does it awesomely well. There are some movies that leave you babbling excitedly as you leave the theater, and this movie is definitely one of them.

How Do You Know Review

How Do You Know Review

With Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd, you would think the movie would be hilarious… sorry to disappoint but it was anything but that.

The movie starts off showing Lisa (Witherspoon) as a softball player that got cut off the team while her friends stayed on.. It was dumb how they were all sad for her and she brushed them off and tried not to think about it. You would expect the movie would expand on her trying to get back into the team (I mean.. it was obviously implied that she has nothing else besides softball) but instead it focused completely on her two very strange, no-chemistry and just plain weird relationships with George (Rudd), a corporate man in the middle of a crisis and Matty (Wilson), a professional baseball player.

Don’t get me wrong, I love romantic comedies-they’re one of my favorite type of movies but the relationships just wasn’t appealing to me in this movie. There was no spark between any of the characters and it was hard to choose which man you wanted her to go with-not because they’re both great guys but because I really couldn’t figure out which one was worse. George was just…beyond awkward let’s put it that way and Mattie while sometimes sweet is the capital I in Insensitive. During the movie I even wondered if there was going to be a THIRD guy who would knock these two guys off the screen..but much to my disappointment, no such guy ever appeared.

Witherspoon’s character was cute and whimsical at best. The good things are she has her own mind and always positive but when it came to the two men (which is most of the movie), it just seems like she was floating around both guys. The movie hardly featured her with her friends or any other people…it was like a three-man show.

To be fair, there were funny and cute moments in the movie. Witherspoon, Rudd and Wilson are among my favorite actors and actresses and I know that they’re talented individuals. However, I wasn’t so crazy about the plot as it was underdeveloped and wasn’t complex enough. As talented as these actors are, sometimes some combination just don’t sparkle.

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