The History Channel Blog

This is just a blog where we talk about the history thats supposed to be in History Channel and H2... it shouldn't take that long.

My Take On: World War 1: The First Modern War
Coming off my foul mood that was caused by Pawnography, World War 1: The First Modern War, could only be better. Thankfully, it was. Due to the lack of coverage of WW1 on this network, Because WW1 has been covered so little by the network in the past, compiling a series on this subject shouldn’t be too difficult.  Also, after seeing how fast ‘The World Wars’ breezed by WW1 its nice to see the ‘Great War’ finally get the attention it deserves. History Channel delivers on this promise with specials that focus on four specific life changing weapons used during the war. These weapons were: Tanks, Airships, Poison Gas, and Submarines.  If I had to recommend a single episode it would probably be the episode featuring airships and zeppelins. This topic has only been covered a couple times and I think that this episode went really in depth, covering rare new ground for History Channel. With everything taken into account, I can honestly say that ‘World War 1: The First Modern War’ is a delight. 
Stray Observations:
I really have no idea why this series was aired all at once. This could have been easily spread out over 2 days and would have been much more enjoyable.
My Take On: Pawnography
Sometimes, you just know when a show isn’t going to last long. There’s a reason I never made a review on ‘I Love The 1880’s’ and ‘Thingamabob’. Usually, I like to wait a while to see if a show will stick around before I review it. But this time it almost doesn’t really matter. This show features the Pawn Stars so its going to get a fair bit of attention. But even long after the initial buzz has dies down I don’t think that this show really has a chance of surviving. History Channel has tried its hand at game shows before and it has never really stuck, and in this case, i don’t think that the Pawn Stars are going to make the difference. Lets start with the obvious, even the most ardent Pawn Stars fan (if such exists) will admit that this show would have better profited back in 2010 or 2011 when the series was at the height of its power. Today the Pawn Stars fad has faded down. It doesn’t help that the host Christopher Titus comes off as immensely annoying with little to no charm. The show itself isn’t really fair when there is one contestant going against all three pawn stars in the final round. As a game show, Pawnography doesn’t have much appeal to me. Oh well, I’ll just wait for this show to fade into obscurity, hopefully as fast as ‘Picked Off’ did.
Final Grade: 62% or a D-.
Stray Observations:
The tagline for this series is ‘get your hands on their junk”. This is followed by a man saying “I’m coming for you Rick.” Need I say more?
Wow, i’m really going to have to eat my own words if this show is still on the the air one year from now. No matter, i’ll just block it from my mind just like I did with ‘Criptid: The Swamp Beast’.
Just the fact that most people don’t recognize many of History Channels more obscure shows referenced in this article really proves my point.

My Take On: Pawnography

Sometimes, you just know when a show isn’t going to last long. There’s a reason I never made a review on ‘I Love The 1880’s’ and ‘Thingamabob’. Usually, I like to wait a while to see if a show will stick around before I review it. But this time it almost doesn’t really matter. This show features the Pawn Stars so its going to get a fair bit of attention. But even long after the initial buzz has dies down I don’t think that this show really has a chance of surviving. History Channel has tried its hand at game shows before and it has never really stuck, and in this case, i don’t think that the Pawn Stars are going to make the difference. Lets start with the obvious, even the most ardent Pawn Stars fan (if such exists) will admit that this show would have better profited back in 2010 or 2011 when the series was at the height of its power. Today the Pawn Stars fad has faded down. It doesn’t help that the host Christopher Titus comes off as immensely annoying with little to no charm. The show itself isn’t really fair when there is one contestant going against all three pawn stars in the final round. As a game show, Pawnography doesn’t have much appeal to me. Oh well, I’ll just wait for this show to fade into obscurity, hopefully as fast as ‘Picked Off’ did.

Final Grade: 62% or a D-.

Stray Observations:

  • The tagline for this series is ‘get your hands on their junk”. This is followed by a man saying “I’m coming for you Rick.” Need I say more?
  • Wow, i’m really going to have to eat my own words if this show is still on the the air one year from now. No matter, i’ll just block it from my mind just like I did with ‘Criptid: The Swamp Beast’.
  • Just the fact that most people don’t recognize many of History Channels more obscure shows referenced in this article really proves my point.
New Special(s)!
Just a reminder that tonight is the premiere of4 new 1 hour specials entitled ‘World War 1: The First Modern War’ airs tonight at 8/7c.
The short series covers multiple topics:
The first hour covers tanks, the second hour covers airships, the third hour covers poison gas, and the forth hour covers submarines. I will eventually have a review on this.

huh.

My Take On: D-Day in HD
Airing only a week after ‘World Wars’ ended, History Channel decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion with a two part special honoring the ones who lived it. And,… It was good, Really good. I actually feel like this might have been better than all of ‘World Wars’. The reason for this is that it picked a specific event and decided to spend as much time as it needed to.  And it didn’t feel like it was in a rush. Remember, when I said that ‘World Wars’ could have easily been longer? Well this could very well be the best evidence I could have ever come up with. This special succeeds from the love that History Channel obviously has for todays remaining veterans. Both specials are meant to cover history, it just turns out that the smaller, softer, quieter special succeeds on the smaller scale while the larger special doesn’t succeed in any scale. Sometimes the tiny victories are better than nothing at all.
Stray observations:
This was good, I often feel that specials like this, are slowly being phased out in favor of the newer flashier miniseries. So when something like this comes out, I often find my self pleasantly surprised.
My Take On: ‘The World Wars’
Of all the reviews I’ve made thus far, this one could possibly be one of the toughest. This series could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. The newer fans who only watch History Channel for the miniseries might think this series is spot on, covering all of the basics and telling the stories of the people who shaped history. But the people like me who have been with History Channel from the very beginning might have expected something a little bit more in depth. However, there’s one complaint that seems universal to both parties. It should have been longer. The series uses 6 hours to talk about the most transformative years of the 20th century. The real question here is why? Everyone wants this series to be longer, even History Channel which has uploaded exclusive videos to youtube covering historical figures that weren’t covered in the series. If you need even more evidence, remember that one week ago H2 premiered the ‘More 2 Version’ of ‘The World Wars’ with more new footage. So its obvious that everyone (even HC) wanted this series to be longer. But unfortunately for World Wars, its not. Because if this, a lot of stories of pretty interesting figures were not told. Personally I would have liked to have heard more on Edmund Rommel’s campaign though Africa, or the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower, or any of the Japanese leaders and Generals. This might seem a bit specific, but seeing how HC has already covered the obvious let’s get on to the details.
'World Wars' truly shines when it isn't working against the clock or retreading old ground. I thought that it might be possible to tell some new insightful information on World War 2 that I haven't already seen on History Channel. And while we did get some new info (The stuff on Patton's early life was interesting), it still wasn't as much as I expected. Currently, I see this special as almost a wasted opportunity on HC's part. History Channel's always going to find away to cover WW2. But, I was hoping that this series would have been special/different. However as it stands 'World Wars' is just another war series in a sea of other war series previously covered on History Channel. I give this series the pretty OK grade of a 80% or a B-.
Favorite Moments:
The music sequence showing the destruction caused by the Night Of The Long Knives is very disturbing and History Channel doesn’t pull any punches when it shows the violence.
Similarly the montage showing Mussolini’s rise to power is equally stark and its matched with a nice operatic song.
Churchill, just all of him, maybe its because of the charisma of the man, but I kept hoping that there was more that the special would talk more about him.
Stray Observations:
Probably my biggest complaint is the lack of explanation for how World War 1 started. 
Sorry, I’ve been gone for the last month. I suppose you can blame that on being both busy and lazy if that makes sense. I seem to go on these hiatuses periodically every 6 months but I’ve come up with a plan for moving forward so this blog should be moving forward at least for the time being.
Seriously, I doubt that any one is going to remember this series one year from now, most of all History Channel who will probably find a way to cover the whole topic all over again.
I will give this series credit for not spending too much time on FDR and giving more time to other figures. 
I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on this miniseries! Please leave your own grade if you’d could.

My Take On: ‘The World Wars’

Of all the reviews I’ve made thus far, this one could possibly be one of the toughest. This series could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. The newer fans who only watch History Channel for the miniseries might think this series is spot on, covering all of the basics and telling the stories of the people who shaped history. But the people like me who have been with History Channel from the very beginning might have expected something a little bit more in depth. However, there’s one complaint that seems universal to both parties. It should have been longer. The series uses 6 hours to talk about the most transformative years of the 20th century. The real question here is why? Everyone wants this series to be longer, even History Channel which has uploaded exclusive videos to youtube covering historical figures that weren’t covered in the series. If you need even more evidence, remember that one week ago H2 premiered the ‘More 2 Version’ of ‘The World Wars’ with more new footage. So its obvious that everyone (even HC) wanted this series to be longer. But unfortunately for World Wars, its not. Because if this, a lot of stories of pretty interesting figures were not told. Personally I would have liked to have heard more on Edmund Rommel’s campaign though Africa, or the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower, or any of the Japanese leaders and Generals. This might seem a bit specific, but seeing how HC has already covered the obvious let’s get on to the details.

'World Wars' truly shines when it isn't working against the clock or retreading old ground. I thought that it might be possible to tell some new insightful information on World War 2 that I haven't already seen on History Channel. And while we did get some new info (The stuff on Patton's early life was interesting), it still wasn't as much as I expected. Currently, I see this special as almost a wasted opportunity on HC's part. History Channel's always going to find away to cover WW2. But, I was hoping that this series would have been special/different. However as it stands 'World Wars' is just another war series in a sea of other war series previously covered on History Channel. I give this series the pretty OK grade of a 80% or a B-.

Favorite Moments:

  • The music sequence showing the destruction caused by the Night Of The Long Knives is very disturbing and History Channel doesn’t pull any punches when it shows the violence.
  • Similarly the montage showing Mussolini’s rise to power is equally stark and its matched with a nice operatic song.
  • Churchill, just all of him, maybe its because of the charisma of the man, but I kept hoping that there was more that the special would talk more about him.

Stray Observations:

  • Probably my biggest complaint is the lack of explanation for how World War 1 started. 
  • Sorry, I’ve been gone for the last month. I suppose you can blame that on being both busy and lazy if that makes sense. I seem to go on these hiatuses periodically every 6 months but I’ve come up with a plan for moving forward so this blog should be moving forward at least for the time being.
  • Seriously, I doubt that any one is going to remember this series one year from now, most of all History Channel who will probably find a way to cover the whole topic all over again.
  • I will give this series credit for not spending too much time on FDR and giving more time to other figures. 
  • I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on this miniseries! Please leave your own grade if you’d could.

So, for all of you that haven’t seen it yet, this is the trailer for the new upcoming series ‘Houdini’ Starring Adrien Brody and premiering this Labor Day.

(Source: youtube.com)

D-Day In HD

Just a heads up for the new special entitled D-Day in HD, that airs tonight at 9/8 central. I will try to get a review as soon as possible, right after I make my post on The World Wars.

My Take On: Hidden History In Your House
When I first mentioned “Hidden History In Your House” I stated that I expected it to have a lot in common with ‘The Extraordinary History Of Everyday Things’, When in truth I can say it has a lot more in common with ‘How The States Got Their Shapes’. The host Kevin O’ Connor is right in his element as he jumps all around the country, describing all sections of the house from the garage to the bathroom without lingering on one area for too long. The last time I can remember a show of this type was covered on History Channel it was by the early seasons of ‘Modern Marvels’. But it was often covered in chunks covering only one room at a time. One room, per episode this concept could get tired. However, HHIYH succeeds from being neither too long nor too short. 
Stray Observations:
If you enjoyed this special, I suggest you check out Kevin O Connor’s other series ‘This Old House’ on PBS.
I was mostly surprised by the little things I didn’t know, for instance I  found it interesting that the first Kingsford grill was made from a buoy.
Yes, I will be reviewing ‘The World Wars’… sorry I’ve been so quiet about that.
Final Thoughts On: Vikings Season 2
When ‘Vikings’ re-premired earlier this year, the TV-historical-miniseries genre had become much more crowded. In the year and a half since ‘Hatfields And McCoys’, many shows had come into fill history channels shadow. History Channel was in competition, and in large scale too. History Channel faced upcoming competition from Discoveries Channel’s new miniseries ‘Klondike’ and AMC’s new series ‘Turn’. It didn’t help either when ‘Game Of Thrones’ premiered only a couple weeks after ‘Vikings’. It had become clear that there was money to be made in miniseries and the networks had began their cash in. 
And yet, ‘Vikings’ held its own. I have mentioned before how worried I was that ‘Vikings’ would hit something of a sophomore slump. As for the season itself, I can only speak good things. The ratings held strong and the storyline was just as interesting as last season. For most of the season the story lines revolved around the colonization of Wessex. That was until the the takeover of Kattegat by Jarl Borg. Unfortunately, I feel that the series hit its peak around ‘Blood Eagle’ and never fully recuperated. Still this season had several twists and turns that I didn’t expect and was truly shocked by. I give this season a 92% or an A-.
Favorite Moments:
Ragnar’s coping with Glyda’s death
Ragnar and Aslaug deciding not to kill Ivar the Boneless or leave him in the woods to die. -This scene alone made ‘Boneless’ worthwhile.
The death of Jarl Borg, just the whole thing was so perfect, and much more dramatic than the death of King Horrik.
The quiet reunion between Ragnar and Bjorn.
Lastly, the wedding between Floki and Helga, It was one of the few times where Floki seemed genuinely happy.
Stray Observations:
Vikings will rule! … in 2015.

Final Thoughts On: Vikings Season 2

When ‘Vikings’ re-premired earlier this year, the TV-historical-miniseries genre had become much more crowded. In the year and a half since ‘Hatfields And McCoys’, many shows had come into fill history channels shadow. History Channel was in competition, and in large scale too. History Channel faced upcoming competition from Discoveries Channel’s new miniseries ‘Klondike’ and AMC’s new series ‘Turn’. It didn’t help either when ‘Game Of Thrones’ premiered only a couple weeks after ‘Vikings’. It had become clear that there was money to be made in miniseries and the networks had began their cash in. 

And yet, ‘Vikings’ held its own. I have mentioned before how worried I was that ‘Vikings’ would hit something of a sophomore slump. As for the season itself, I can only speak good things. The ratings held strong and the storyline was just as interesting as last season. For most of the season the story lines revolved around the colonization of Wessex. That was until the the takeover of Kattegat by Jarl Borg. Unfortunately, I feel that the series hit its peak around ‘Blood Eagle’ and never fully recuperated. Still this season had several twists and turns that I didn’t expect and was truly shocked by. I give this season a 92% or an A-.

Favorite Moments:

  • Ragnar’s coping with Glyda’s death
  • Ragnar and Aslaug deciding not to kill Ivar the Boneless or leave him in the woods to die. -This scene alone made ‘Boneless’ worthwhile.
  • The death of Jarl Borg, just the whole thing was so perfect, and much more dramatic than the death of King Horrik.
  • The quiet reunion between Ragnar and Bjorn.
  • Lastly, the wedding between Floki and Helga, It was one of the few times where Floki seemed genuinely happy.

Stray Observations:

  • Vikings will rule! … in 2015.