The history channel has been one of my favorite stations for a good amount of my adult life. For some reason, I feel more like learning now that I don't have to anymore. These days, you won't really find a lot to learn on the history channel though. Where we used to see documentaries on anything from Greek mythology to how a star is born, we now have hillbillies and moon shine. Many of the newer shows on the history channel are being passed off as "making history", but let's be honest. Real history and toothless red necks trying to catch alligators are not even close to the same thing. This whole situation is very similar to what happened to Mtv between the late nineties and early two thousands. Mtv doesn't really play music anymore or certainly not the music videos it became famous for in its early days and definitely not music related material to the extent that its name would imply or that it once did. That's where the connection comes in here. The history channel has gone from mostly well thought out documentaries to reality television. There are actually a few of these shows which if they were being shown at a less frequent rate, I believe would still be mostly fitting with what the history channel once was and in my opinion should be. Those are "Pawn Stars", "American Restoration", and "American Pickers". The reason I say that about these shows is because they all deal with historical memorabelia. It's almost like "Antiques Roadshow" which could probably fit well with the channel as well by the way. It's not just the shows that are coming onto the channel now though that's the problem. It's the shows that they're getting rid of and either sending to "H2" their offshoot channel or scrapping all together. In the following two sections, I will point out some shows that have left the history channel whici I feel should have stayed and some newer shows which shold probably never have been on the channel in the first place.
Shows That Should Never Have Left
Decoding the Past: To be fair, I don't know for sure that this show isn't cancelled all together at this point and I do still see it once in a while on the channel, but certainly not to the extent it once was and not on a regular basis.
Ancient Discoveries: This show was really cool. It showed all kinds of ancient technology from around the world and often times taught the viewer things that they don't always teach us in school these days. It was the essence of why I liked the channel in the first place. And now it's on H2.
The Universe: This show deals with all kinds of scientific discoveries, observations, and theories dealling with our solar system, galaxies, and in fact the entire universe as the title states. There were some hit and miss episodes of this one, but for the most part it was an entertaining show. And it was definitely educational and very much the kind of show you'd expect on the history channel.
Ancient Aliens: I know a lot of people bashed this show and called it "psuedo history", but the fact remains that this show brought light on several aspects of different ancient civilizations that nobody else was showing. It's not just their theories. You got to see ruins that you weren't being shown anywhere else. One in particular that I liked was called something like "Puma Punku". This place was carved out of diarite with a uniformity and minute enough detail that it was said it could not be recreated with our modern technology and nobody could figure out how they made it for sure in the first place. Now, I'm not using this article to debate whether or not ETs did that, but it shows a pretty awesome side to ancient civilizations and often times that our ancestors were not as primitive as we like to think. And that, to me, is important history. This by the way is another show which has recently moved to H2.
Shows That Need To Go
I know these shows must be doing relatively well in the ratings, because the history channel seems to be trying to force feed them to us every time I look at the tv listings, but they still have no reasonable place on the channel in my opinion.
Ax Men: This show not only doesn't put an educational light on history. It's dedicated to destroying it a little at a time. While the history channel dares to have slogens like "save our history", they also have a show like this.
Swamp People: This show is just as bad if not worse than Ax People. They hunt alligators. What makes this historical? The fact that it runs in the family of these undereducated backwoods people?
Top Gear: I'm not going to say that this is a bad show. It's actually okay. I've watched it a few times and was surprised at how much I liked it. But it's still not history. It becomes especially frustrating when you stop to think that you're now watching a race between a camaro and a porsche as opposed to learning about JFK or the fall of Rome on a channel that's supposed to be about history.
The show with Larry the cable guy: I don't even remember the full name of this show and I don't care enough to look it up. This show demonstrates modern day America at its dumbest. Not only should it not be on the history channel, it probably shouldn't be on any channel.
In closing, I want to point out that there are those occasional days of actual documentaries and historically relevant shows which still make it to air on the history channel. But they're no where near as prominently featured as these nonhistorical shows which I have listed. And in a time of marathons almost constantly aired on the cable networks, you're not getting a little of "Swamp people" or "Ax Men". You're getting entire days of worth of them at a time.