Now there’s one thing I’m sure of: that I like reading about history. It’s quite a sad fact that I chose Accountancy at school over History. A long story, that goes all the way back to writing an essay in a History exam, where our class had not been even shown how to ride an essay, let alone one arguing historical fact. I don’t know why accountancy: I couldn’t ever balance the balance sheets for the exercises and tests we were given…
Anyways, I also like watching history programmes, especially the ones churned out by the BBC (BBC4, mostly). I tend to go to the documentary channels that are on. They even had a channel called “The History Channel”, which should loads of interesting series and programmes, and even repeated classics like the seminal “World At War”. They’d organised a “History +1″ channel, which eventually morphed into “The Military Channel”, as about 40% of the output was about warfare.
About 18 months ago (maybe more, maybe less), this all changed. They started showing “Ice Road Truckers”, a reality series, on History Channel. It was quite a hit at the time. And then more and more reality-based programmes came on. Now the History Channel is full of them – “Storage Wars” (about buying other peoples possesions which have been left in storage companies), “Car Wars” (renovating and fixing cars) , “Ax Men” (what lumberjacks do all day) etc etc.
I absolutely hate reality programmes, loath them with a passion. I honestly do not see the point of them. I’d read somewhere that there are fewer American sitcoms now than what there ever has been because the cost of producing them is expensive, whereas reality programs are cheap to make. I understand this because of the economic situation, but still.
The Military channel changed itself into “H2″, no doubt meaning “History 2″. This channel shows the occasional history programme, and war programme like the Military Channel and the original History Channel did. But then you have “Ancient Aliens”, “UFO Files”, “Conspiracies: Unsealed” and “Alien Files: Unsealed” – or something like that. They are all a load of crap. You have to assume that aliens exist, and also that conspiracies exisit at every turn, and that the Ancient Egyptians were really worshipping aliens, and that just about every other ancient civilisation worshipped aliens too.
One of the main people they interview is George Gsoukalos, a guy who, quite frankly, is a bit of a phoney. I suppose he’s trying to do his best with very little proof, but everything he sees, oh, it’s aliens. His favourite phrase is “Is such a thing possible. Yes, it is.” Everything has to do with aliens, and worshipping things from the sky. But where he thinks it’s all aliens, the rest of us are thinking, well, maybe we need proof, which we are unlikely to get, so you dismiss it from your thinking.
I wish it would stop. You find the documentaries you want to watch, but these, where they are nothing but fantasy, I can do without.
So, why then is the History Channel called The History Channel, if there is no history on it.
But, I’ll have to admit. H2 is trying it’s best, when it does do History. “Americal Presidents.” and also a series about how recent movies were made. I suppose it’s how far back you want your history to start – recent or further back.
And I wonder why I don’t watch that much TV…