We’re watching a modestly interesting documentary on the History Channel called “Axe Men”. It’s about lumberjacks in the Pacific Northwest. Once I got beyond wondering when they would sing Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song (they didn’t, by the way), I started wondering about a much bigger and more important question.
This is a routine documentary on contemporary events, the sort of thing that has long been the staple of the Discovery Channel or the National Geographic channel. It’s NOT history. What is this doing on the History Channel? Or “Ice Road Truckers”? Again, interesting, but not history.
I can remember a time when the History Channel actually showed quality history programming. It carried the excellent “Civil War Journal” series. It has done some really interesting programming on the presidents of the United States. Or “History’s Mysteries”, another favorite of mine. There was a time when this channel was history, 24/7/365, and that’s what made it unique. You could always find something that was purely historical and often really interesting on the History Channel.
Now, it’s the UFO/paranormal channel, with lots of of programs about Adolf Hitler and Nostradamus, and these stupid documentaries that have nothing to do with history. Now, I completely understand that television programming is a business and that networks are going to air what makes money for them. I get that. It makes sense.
Here’s the description of another new series:
Gangland, the new series on The History Channel, takes you inside prisons and on the streets of America to view the most violent and influential gangs in our modern times.
The key to that description is the word “modern”. Again, it’s contemporary stuff and NOT history.
However, why not just be honest about it and give up the charade that this is still supposed to be a network that carries legitimate, serious programming about history. Just change the name and stop defrauding the public as to the nature of the content by calling yourself a “history channel” when it is now far, far from being that.
I miss the real History Channel, and I despise the crap that has taken its place.Scridb filter