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.