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A TV channel that broadcasts programs about history and metaphysical phenomena

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Not as good as it used to be.

  • Jun 28, 2009
  • by
While perusing the prime time lineup of History (formerly The History Channel) one has to wonder where did all the history go?  With programs like "Ice Road Truckers",  "Modern Marvels", and "Life After People" one wonders why programming like this even appears on a network that is purportedly devoted to the subject of history.  Some of this programming is OK but I find it a bit of a stretch to make an entire series about truck drivers dodging the elements.  Meanwhile, I got to sample the series "Life After People" for the very first time this week.  Seemed quite silly to me and a monumental waste of my time.  I do enjoy an episode of "Modern Marvels" every now and again but once again what does this have to do with history?

The advent of cable television in the 1980's brought the promise of a wide variety of programming.  Certainly there would be plenty of entertainment to be had but those who were so inclined could also find more serious programming on networks like The History Channel.  But alas, it seems that just about everything on television now has to be entertaining.  Yes, some of the old History Channel programming still pops up on this network from time to time but usually during off-peak hours.  I suppose if you are willing to pay the exorbitant price for digital cable you can still find the type of programming that used to appear on the old History Channel among the umpteen hundred channels available there.  But I for one have no interest in moving up to that level of service.  I really don't think I get my money's worth anymore with extended basic.  Way too much mediocrity for me.  

So at the end of the day my main gripe with History is the name itself.  I suppose if I thought about it long enough I could come up with an appropriate name.  For me networks like History and it's sister network A & E are just a shell of their former selves. I hardly ever watch.

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August 09, 2010
Well said, drifter. The only history shown anymore is old reruns.
July 13, 2009
Couldn't agree more. The History Channel was slammed a few years by advertisers and and other stakeholders for being so focused on WWII and consequently having to shake their "Hitler Channel" reputation. Advertisers seem to shy away from goose-stepping and jack boots next to the Hamburger Helper.... they went too far and evolved from a network of consequenece and quality to nothing special. Too bad.
July 04, 2009

I too, bemoan the loss of quality programming. Every program and every series seems to be tied to a market focus group or  a copy-cat production. It is unfortunate that those interested in quality history shows now won't be able to access them without excess cost. I agree that we should be able to pay for exactly what we want with cable and not always have to submit to a standard package that includes content that is useless. I think your idea about customized & specific basic cable packages could be a way of the future. In my opinion, the more personalized the content, the better.

June 28, 2009
To me the biggest problem with cable is that we are forced to pay for all the junk. People should be offered the opportunity to purchase basic cable and then add what I would call "six packs" of networks such as "sports", "news and information", "music channels", "lifestyle" etc. That way the market would rule and reward better programming while at the same time eliminating those channels that most folks are not willing to pay for. I'm sure this was impossible to do when cable first emerged but I am confident that the technology now exists to make this possible. We should live so long. So much for the "free market".
June 28, 2009
Good review Paul. We very rarely watch the History Channel now because of the programs you mention above. Ice Road Truckers certainly has nothing to do with history and could very well air on a variety of channels. The History Channel is not the only one who has deviated from its original mission statement....among others are Arts and Entertainment, Lifetime and so on. I think what it boils down to is money and ratings as usual and these stations don't want to get lost in the crowd, so they come up with all this "common" programming. You bring up a good point....mediocrity, or as I say, commonality has become all too common. Another good point you bring up is the idea that cable would give us more options.....they're on more hours and so. But instead of creating vibrant new programming, we get a rehash of the progams that weren't that good in the first place. Sometimes the learning channel airs shows that are 30 years old. Why? Where are all the good programmers who have vision and imagination?? My guess is that they cost too much, but really we pay the price, don't we?? Frankly, I wish we had fewer channels and higher quality of programming. Less is more, as the saying goes, and yes, I do wish television would go back to the way it used to be, but I guess those days are gone.
More History (TV Channel) reviews
Quick Tip by . February 28, 2012
I really love watching History Channel around the holidays. They always have some great programs about each holiday's origin. I especially enjoy their Halloween special.
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
Awesome book and history, Good read.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Launched on January 1, 1995, the channel is owned by A&E joint venture (Hearst, Disney, NBC)[1] and operates, in various forms, in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Israel, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, and Latin America. The network was also available in South Asia under a deal between STAR TV and AETN International until November 21, 2008. The channel has consistently produced prime time ratings in the U.S. comparable to or higher than the A&E Network itself.

In 2007 The History Channel launched "Take a Veteran to School Day," designed to foster relationships between U.S. military veterans and students; R. Lee Ermey is the spokesman for the initiative.

On February 16, 2008, a new logo was launched on the flagship American network. While keeping their trademark "H", the triangle shape on the left acts as a play button for animation and fly-outs during commercials and shows. The former logo form remains in place for the rest of the world. On March 20, 2008, The History Channel dropped the "The" and the "Channel" parts of its name to become History.

Programming covers a wide array of periods and topics, while similar topics are often organized into themed weeks or daily marathons. Subjects include military history, medieval history, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, modern engineering, historical biographies, metaphysical subjects and disaster scenarios; a number of these documentaries ...

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