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The History Channel: As Told By Those Who Watch It


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#31

Zzingerific

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Posted Jan 11, 2008 @ 8:21 AM

Black and White war footage IS The History Channel. I want more of it. 24/7 would be about right.


Those were the good ole' days, i am rick. Does anyone remember that bizarre series a while ago with World War One footage that had been colorized? I thought maybe Ted Turner had taken over!

That WWI series reminds me of another pet peeve I have. Their recent series (I'm thinking of The Revolution and The French Revolution specifically) show the same reenactments again and again! They were trumpeting shooting on location for weeks and weeks, yet only manage to show five minutes over the course of a multi-episode series.
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#32

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Posted Jan 12, 2008 @ 11:23 AM

I don't care what color The History Channel shows stuff in, but I would prefer it not be colorized. But I don't watch the History Channel to watch reality shows like Ice Road Truckers. I want to watch stuff about famous battles. I loved the series on the Revolution and the French Revolution. I think my favorite thing in the last few years was Russia: Land of the Czars. Oh and I loved the Rome: Engineering an Empire. Those were two areas of history where I've had little formal education so I found it new and interesting.

Over the holidays I noticed on THC and other channels a lot of shows about biblical history and how it fit with histories of other religions and I really enjoyed them. I personally don't think I learned enough of World History in public school, and didn't pursue much further knowledge of it in college because I hadn't developed the interest. So really, most of my knowledge of this stuff now comes from watching things on The History Channel, developing an interest and pursuing it further by reading or seeking out more specials on THC or other channels.

I like all of the World War II stuff, but honestly I think World War I gets less attention and I'd kind of like to see more stuff from that. I remember when I first got History-International, I used to call it "The Hitler Channel" too.
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#33

chancellorjake

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Posted Jan 12, 2008 @ 11:37 PM

I'm really loving the new How Far We've Come promos, for the upcoming shows that are going to air in 2008.
Battle 360 and Life After People look very interesting. I didn't care for Ice Road Truckers (Why don't they just build a damn series of bridges?), so I don't really care that Ice Road Truckers 2 is coming this year.
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#34

bimbo du jour

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Posted Jan 14, 2008 @ 2:52 PM

Those were two areas of history where I've had little formal education

This is where I use the History channel, as well. To fill in the gaps in my public-school education.

I didn't care for Ice Road Truckers (Why don't they just build a damn series of bridges?)

I liked IRT, but I think the series would be well served to include more information about diamond mining. It was only after I watched a brief history of diamond mining (on Hist Int'l), and saw the discussion about new discoveries of diamonds in Canada and how they drained the existing lakes in order to establish mines ... only then did IRT become a lot more interesting. It's not just about the trucking.
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#35

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Posted Jan 15, 2008 @ 5:52 AM

For a while there, the History Channel had gone by the nickname "Hitler Channel" becase of the overabundance of WW2 shows.

I've gotten away from watching History Channel because I think they've forgotten their greater mission: History. There's some 5,000 years of history in the world and it all doesn't have to do with war. I know it's what sells, but there's other stuff out there. All one has to do is wander through a library's history section to see the variety of stuff that's out there. Unfortunately, we've dumbed down our society so much that 'Tales of the Gun' and Hitler is what sells.
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#36

i am rick

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Posted Jan 15, 2008 @ 7:22 PM

Unfortunately, we've dumbed down our society so much that 'Tales of the Gun' and Hitler is what sells.

Hey! I resemble that remark!
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#37

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Posted Jan 21, 2008 @ 4:04 PM

I am very touched by the History Channel's programming for MLK Jr. Day--a 30 minute special at 7:30am, followed by a marathon of Monster Quest.

I am curious about Life After People, but to be honest, the commercials for it scare me a little. I've traveled around and seeing landmarks I've been to crumble and fall is very disconcerting.
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#38

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Posted Jan 22, 2008 @ 7:40 AM

I am very touched by the History Channel's programming for MLK Jr. Day--a 30 minute special at 7:30am, followed by a marathon of Monster Quest.

Ouch!
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#39

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Posted Jan 23, 2008 @ 1:16 AM

The History Channel has shown a lot of doomsday shows lately. The one preceding Life Without People focused on the Mayan Calendar's supposed prediction that the world "as we know it" would end on Dec. 21, 2012. They began with the Webbot computer program predicting momentous events on that exact date. What bugged me was that the computer guy said Webbot scoured the Internet for words, phrases, news stories, and just about everything. So wouldn't the computer simply be picking up all the buzz the End is Near folks are putting out? All these apocalyptic predictions annoy the hell out of me, but that one seemed even more far-fetched than most.
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#40

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Posted Jan 27, 2008 @ 4:46 PM

There's two sides to History Channel. You've got the legit shows like Modern Marvels and other shows that actually deal with history, and then you've got the horrible side with Bible Code and UFO's and Monster Quest and the stuff that has nothing to do with history and everything with sensationalism. I can't watch Bible Code or UFO's or any of that. I don't watch History Channel to see shows from the Sci-Fi channel.
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#41

Rabrab

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Posted Jan 27, 2008 @ 5:43 PM

What bugged me was that the computer guy said Webbot scoured the Internet for words, phrases, news stories, and just about everything. So wouldn't the computer simply be picking up all the buzz the End is Near folks are putting out? All these apocalyptic predictions annoy the hell out of me, but that one seemed even more far-fetched than most.


I just caught that one today, and yes, it sounded like it was just looking for words from a list, and counting them, regardless of context. So if I blogged that "A pipe broke and I had a flood in my utility room; it hit the stuff on the floor pretty badly, but everything came out all right in the end.", it would come up with three hits on that sentence, even though it has nothing to do with the end of the world.

It's even more skewed, though: it's only looking for the words on the list that they wrote. Using the exact same program, but a different word list, you could probably "prove" anything you wanted to -- even that there are invisible pink unicorns.
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#42

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Posted Jan 27, 2008 @ 6:19 PM

Question: Does anyone have the information or guess of the number of "feet" of film on the European World War? The Japanese WW? Where is the film being preserved or "made" into another medium, such as CD's?
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#43

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Posted Jan 28, 2008 @ 4:44 PM

So wouldn't the computer simply be picking up all the buzz the End is Near folks are putting out? All these apocalyptic predictions annoy the hell out of me, but that one seemed even more far-fetched than most.

Saw that show this weekend and it shoved me over the edge. Are the execs of this channel isn some strange cult together? Whats with all the doomsday stuff?

I agree that webbots could be picking up anything and I don't really need the panic attack. You would think in this wild ride of an election season they might dig up some footage about Presidents or past elections or the history of the caucus and primary system, the history of the parties. Sure they have some of that stuff.
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#44

shockermolar

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Posted Jan 28, 2008 @ 5:56 PM

I too watch more History International than History Channel, but I do like History's Mysteries quite a bit. I like to think of the HC programming as the springboard. When I was a kid I used to see something in movies or tv and latch onto it. Then I'd research and study it at the school or public library. I probably owe by B.A. in History to that, and in a way HC serves the same purpose for me now. In general, if there's a show about something I've studied I watch it - either to get a new tidbit I can further research, or to heckle at the poor history or vagueness of the show.

Now, am I wrong in thinking that Engineering an Empire is an HC program? I do like that one, because Peter Weller adds commentary in an interesting way. I think he must be a very engaging prof. Also, he's RoboCop, so what's not to like.

I am not sure if this was an episode of Engineering an Empire, but there was an interesting bit of CGI when depicting how the Romans built a bridge walked across the Rhine, camped, completely demoralized the Gauls, and crossed back over, and dismantled the bridge entirely in something like 2 weeks.
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#45

DocHopper

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Posted Jan 28, 2008 @ 10:05 PM

That was Rome: Engineering an Empire. I loved it because of the way it mixed the history of the Roman Empire with all of the interesting architectural and engineering facts. I think that and Russia: Land of the Czars have been my two favorite HC specials, I loved that one. I wish they would play it again.
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#46

Gharlane

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Posted Jan 29, 2008 @ 10:03 AM

I think that and Russia: Land of the Czars have been my two favorite HC specials, I loved that one. I wish they would play it again.

Is that the two-parter with the entire history of Russia? I enjoyed that and understood why they're such pessimists.
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#47

Kev

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Posted Feb 5, 2008 @ 5:39 AM

Is that the two-parter with the entire history of Russia?


Yep. I was pretty fascinated by those eps.

Peter Weller would be the best Prof. ever!

Edited by Kev, Feb 5, 2008 @ 5:44 AM.

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#48

DocHopper

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Posted Feb 5, 2008 @ 7:56 PM

Yeah, Peter Weller rocks.

And I have to give it up to anything narrated by Edward Hermann. I just love his voice.
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#49

Jacob's Hair Dye

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Posted Feb 7, 2008 @ 4:26 PM

That was Rome: Engineering an Empire.

That was the original special, but shockermolar is right - Engineering an Empire got turned into a full series by HC. There were 13 other episodes that covered the Mayans, the ancient Greeks, and ancient Egyptians, the Persians, the English empire, the Chinese empire, the Russians, Renaissance Italy, Carthage, the Aztecs, the Byzantine Empire, and Napoleonic France.

It shows up every now and then on History International.

Edited by Jacob's Hair Dye, Feb 7, 2008 @ 4:27 PM.

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#50

GeoBQn

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Posted Feb 14, 2008 @ 11:09 PM

I guess it was too much for me to expect the History Channel to cancel the airing of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre special . . .
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#51

Bubbles81

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Posted Feb 15, 2008 @ 1:12 PM

Land of the Csars is availible on amazon pretty resonably priced. I got it for Chirstmas. And a big appeal is Ed Herrman. He is the voice of the history channel.
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#52

MethodActor05

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Posted Feb 15, 2008 @ 3:27 PM

That is rather unfortunate timing, I guess.

I really am fricking sick of Modern Marvels. Enough, already. Let's get out the old ones, like the stuff about drug use in America.

Gangland does seem like a good series, though. I've caught a few episodes. It's edgy, but it doesn't feel like it's trying too hard. The one about the girl who was involved with the gang and got killed for ratting on them pissed me off- what part of "they kill people who rat" didn't she understand? If you're being put in witness protection, there's a pretty good chance they think you are due for a hit. Geez.
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#53

amnesia

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Posted Feb 19, 2008 @ 11:13 AM

I've gotten away from watching History Channel because I think they've forgotten their greater mission: History. There's some 5,000 years of history in the world and it all doesn't have to do with war. I know it's what sells, but there's other stuff out there. All one has to do is wander through a library's history section to see the variety of stuff that's out there. Unfortunately, we've dumbed down our society so much that 'Tales of the Gun' and Hitler is what sells.

You've hit on what bothers me the most about History Channel: they only talk about tiny little slivers of history. It's basically 19th-20th century American history (heavy on WWII) with an occasional sprinkling of Rome and the early Christian era.

All the UFO programming baffles me. WHAT is that crap doing on the History Channel? Lately it seems like every time I turn on HC, there's some self-appointed "expert" yammering on about how some dirt found at the site of a UFO landing is like no other dirt on earth. Blech.
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#54

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Posted Feb 19, 2008 @ 12:28 PM

Last night, they ran a 2-hour program on the History of the Joke. I like Lewis Black a lot for his humor and he was hosting the thing, but I watched about 45 minutes of it and got bored with it to some degree. It didn't seem like it belonged on History Channel, especially given the racy nature of the comedians on the show. Comedy Central, maybe, but not History channel.
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#55

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Posted Feb 19, 2008 @ 1:27 PM

I watched "History of the Joke" last night, too, and loved it. Laughed so hard I almost woke WordTot up at one point. They definitely could have used more "history" in it, and where the heck was Mel Brooks (to me, Mel Brooks is the DEFINITION of funny), but all in all I really enjoyed it. Except for that one guy they showed doing an open mic night - his joke about the Priest, Rabbi and Humpback whale was beyond awful -- and so predictable I actually said the punchline before he did. And since I love awful jokes, proceeded to giggle over it until the next commercial break.
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#56

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Posted Feb 19, 2008 @ 1:31 PM

I saw the first half of "History of the Joke" and laughed my ass off, but then felt kind of guilty because there was hardly any history there, which is pretty much the problem with the direction the channel is taking.
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#57

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Posted Feb 21, 2008 @ 12:45 AM

Compared with "Monster Quest" and the UFO stuff and Modern Marvels, I'll take History of the Joke as a concept, but it wasn't really well done, and I usually like Lewis Black.

But what I really want to see is historical stuff that's less covered, or that has relevance to current events. I'd like to see more on World War I, or the Depression. I love WWII history, but it's well covered.

Or I'd love to see some documentaries on prior U.S. presidential elections. Like how the process has changed over the country's history. I think a special on some of the old campaigns could be a lot of fun. I had a class once where a prof played some of the campaign songs from the 1800's and it was so cool and bizarre to imagine what campaigns were like then.

It just seems like more and more I'm turning to the Discovery Channel, or National Geographic for something interesting to listen to in bed.
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#58

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Posted Feb 21, 2008 @ 10:10 AM

I'm downright furious with this channel for the absolute and utter lack of programming related to Black History Month. There are so many great options. You don't even have to be too creative. If nothing else they could run Roots, Tuskegee Airmen, Amistad, Mississippi Burning, Separate But Equal, Dorothy Dandridge, Buffalo Soldiers, there are like a million choices. Come ON people.

many History Channel shows are sadly short on facts to back up what is presented, especially in the more offbeat shows. You couldn't show them in a class because many are either very elementary, if you already know the topic, or lacking key facts.

This made me remember that in high school we had a history teacher that used a lot of these video bits and I remember even then really knowing the difference between, wow I just watched one that really added new information to what we covered in class versus, well that was a lot of fluff and time filler for the teacher.

Or the "expert" presenters are completely dismissed by the academic community as uneducated kooks, and their theories can be easily disproven.

I'm just wondering, is their level of expertise directly proportional to how Bat Shit Crazy they look? I don't run in history expert circles but there have been several times, especially lately, when I saw one of these dudes and heard what sounded like a far fetched theory and thought, they can't be serious, this dude is clearly a crack pot. Its the hair, always the hair that makes me wonder. Does it need to be greasy or big and frizzy or in a riotous pony tail? Is crazy Einstein hair symbolic of genius in the academic community?
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#59

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Posted Feb 22, 2008 @ 11:03 AM

This is a shot in the dark, but maybe someone remembers this.
About 5-6 years ago, I think I saw this on the History Channel-it was sort of a docu-drama about a soldier who was hidden by a teacher during I believe World War II? Does anyone recall this at all?
It's been bugging me forever. I really liked it but wish I had thought to remember more details. My memory is awful.
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#60

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Posted Feb 25, 2008 @ 5:48 PM

There's two sides to History Channel. You've got the legit shows like Modern Marvels and other shows that actually deal with history, and then you've got the horrible side with Bible Code and UFO's and Monster Quest and the stuff that has nothing to do with history and everything with sensationalism. I can't watch Bible Code or UFO's or any of that. I don't watch History Channel to see shows from the Sci-Fi channel.


I hate Modern Marvels. Some of the episodes are interesting, but a lot of them profile things that are neither modern or marvelous. Bible Code fits in better than UFO shit and Monster Quest, neither of which I can stand.

I really do enjoy Cities of The Underworld and Lost Worlds though. Especially Lost Worlds. I love it when they reconstruct the well documented but long ago destroyed buildings, ships, etc. I have actually found that the most interesting things on the History Channel are often shown before 6 am and aren't reaired during the day. I will admit though, a lot of it is really watered down. But for me, if it's something that peaks my interest, I'll go out and get books or jump on the internet to find out more about it and I know that others do this as well.

I've always really liked The History of Sex, but I always feel weird watching it in the middle of the day. My TV is visible though my large picture window and I wonder what the neighbors think when they see the Kama Sutra and medieval sex illustrations on my tv at 2 o'clock on a Saturday.
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