"The History Channel" Is Being (Poorly) Written By the Victors

Categories: Film and TV

Arr...what did you do to all the Hitler documentaries?
For the past few weeks, I have been examining the evolution of cable television channels. Some channels have amped up their game, while others have fallen into the depths of despair. But no channel that I've stumbled upon, thus far, has completely lost its original sense of identity while still holding onto its name on the same level as the History channel.

History channel, what the hell happened to you? You are a former shell of yourself. Naturally, networks must change and progress along with the times, for better or for worse. Certain channels completely rebrand and rename and whether we enjoy their new iteration, at least they are admitting they're something new. The History channel did some minor rebranding in 2008, but that was only to drop from their name "the" and "channel," making it just "History," which hasn't even stuck. This move is completely illogical. The History channel is still a television channel, it's just not about history anymore!

In the mid-1990s, The History Channel was launched and posed a bit of a threat to public television, which had previously cornered the market on stuffy historical documentaries about relatively boring events in time. The History Channel quickly became a major cable player.

Of their programming, one of History's mainstays was a show called Biography, which would eventually splinter off into its own network. During those salad days of the History channel, there appeared to be an overwhelming amount of programming dedicated to World War II, which eventually led the network to get saddled with the unfortunate title "the Hitler Channel."

It's been somewhat stuck with that name since, which perhaps it should have embraced. I don't want to point out the obvious, but WWII was kind of a big deal.

The past few years, it has been noted that the History channel has stopped airing programs about history altogether, which is not actually the case; they've been airing nonhistorical shows for years!

In 1995-96, the channel began airing Modern Marvels, which would prove to be one of its most popular shows of all time. Each episode takes an interesting aspect of science and/or technology and depicts how it affects our daily lives. That's not history, that's now stuff.

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MadMac topcommenter

Biography originated on A&E. While I agree with most of the rest, I also think it's tone of the times. SciFi--sorry--Syfy--The Syphilic Funyun--Channel's most popular show is "wras-lin'" and I haven't seen anything funny on Comedy Network since MTV played music videos.

The "Hitler Channel," moniker, though, is perfectly suited to the white-supremacist-lite programming. The only non-USA/Euro programs were "The 300," stylized takes on Moses. While WWII was kinda a big deal, so was the formation and comedy of errors that was the UN, our misadventures in the Third World, and it seems like there were no women until Hugh Heffner invent them? Someone should look into the history of that. I also hear there's a wall in China that was meant to do something. And, supposedly, something once happened in Arabia and India but that was probably made up by the English.

Fun stuff, Ms. Koenig.

gossamersixteen topcommenter

Men who built America was actually really good, counting cars, swamp people or whatever it's called, etc I can live without.


@MadMac You are totally right about Biography! That's what I get from reporting from my poor memory.

MadMac topcommenter

I remember important stuff like this but don't ask me about my LSAT scores.

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