8 History-less History Channel Shows

Wednesday, March 3 by

In March of 2008, The History Channel shortened its name to History. It would have made more sense if it had shortened its name to The Channel. Over the past few years, the network has stopped pretending to give a damn about history and now traffics mainly in crappy reality television. Sure, it can be entertaining, but history it ain’t!

Remember when The History Channel used to enlighten its viewers with quality historical documentaries and relevant original programming? Yeah, neither do we. The network has always been a sad mix of poor-quality World War II stock footage and shoddy battle reenactments. But for all its faults, at least it used to take its name somewhat seriously. Sure, “UFO Hunters: Nazi UFOs” wasn’t the most historically accurate documentary, but at least it had Hitler as opposed to some hillbilly running around in a swamp.

With those simpler times in mind, here are eight History Channel shows that have nothing to do with history.

(Note: I continue to refer to it as The History Channel instead of History because I’m living in the past.)

8. “Ax Men”

According to an unsourced website I found using Google, Napoleon once described history as “a myth that men agree to believe.” Notice he didn’t say anything about a bunch of toothless hill-jacks running around the woods cutting down trees. Despite this fact, The History Channel has been filming various logging crews across the country. And as the following clip of a dumbass sitting on a bee’s nest demonstrates, their efforts to chronicle important historical events have not been in vain.

7. “MadHouse”

Hillbillies have a long and storied history in these United States. From slavery to moonshine to those fake testicles that hang off of trucks, white trash has left an unmistakable mark on our society. MadHouse chronicles the latest chapter in redneck history by filming four teams of modified race-car drivers as they work on their cars and drive around in circles. Future generations are in your debt, History Channel.

6. “Ice Road Truckers”

When the Soviet Union blockaded the city of Berlin in 1948, the Allies organized the Berlin Airlift, flying in 13,000 tons of food per day for almost a year. In 2006, when winter blockaded some diamond mines in Canada (just like it does every year), the company running the mines organized a bunch of trucks to haul in some supplies. One of these events is of historical significance while the other is not. See if you can figure out which is which.

5. “Extreme Marksmen” and “More Extreme Marksmen”

If there’s one thing to be said for “Extreme Marksmen,” it’s that the show does deal with marksmen. If there’s a second thing to be said, it’s that these marksmen are totally extreme! If there’s a third thing to say, it’s that this show is friggin’ retarded.

To be fair, the guy in the following clip is wearing a cowboy hat, which is kind of history-ish.

4. “How Bruce Lee Changed the World”

As the title suggests, this History Channel documentary chronicles the ways in which Bruce Lee changed the world. There’s only one problem: despite what historians LL Cool J and Brett Ratner might tell you, Bruce Lee didn’t change jack sh*t!

I’ll give this one credit since it actually explores something that took place in the past. But Jesus H. Christ, Bruce Lee didn’t cure Polio or invent the Internet. He stared in Kung Fu movies. Yeah, nothing breaks down Asian stereotypes like a good Kung Fu movie.

3. “MonsterQuest”

If this show chronicled “monsters” like Hitler or Mao or Justin Bieber, it might belong on The History Channel. But this show chronicles “monsters” like “Mega Hog” and “Birdzilla,” so it doesn’t (except for the episode on “Stalin’s Ape Man”). In fact, the only thing this show has to do with history is the fact that it went back to the 70’s to steal ideas from “In Search Of,” just like I went to Wikipedia to steal that joke.

2. “Life After People”

In all fairness, The History Channel does have a get out of jail free card, albeit a stupid one. Technically speaking, all of the shows I’ve described thus far were dealing with the past in the sense that they were prerecorded. Even if the shows were broadcast live, they would be delayed by a few seconds, thereby making them history. The network’s marketing department is aware of this preposterous copout, as evidenced by the channel’s ridiculous new slogan, “History Made Every Day.”

But even with this absurd amount of wiggle room, The History Channel still manages to screw sh*t up. Not content to wallow in the present, the network decided to take their programming to the one place history, by definition, cannot go: the future!

“Life After People” attempts to answer a question man has pondered from time immemorial: in the future, after we’re gone, how long will it take for huge bridges to fall apart?

1. “Apocalypse Man”

When your show starts out with the disclaimer “The events you are about to see have not yet happened,” that should be your first clue that it doesn’t belong on The History Channel. That point aside, “Apocalypse Man” is by far the dumbest show on this list. By dumb, I mean totally freaking awesome.

U.S. Marine and survival expert Rudy Reyes shows viewers how to survive Armageddon by navigating the closest thing we have to a post apocalyptic world: Detroit. If you’re a survivalist (like me) or a Christian Fundamentalist (like me), you will not find a better show on television.

The only problem with the show is that it lets the cat out of the bag. Sure, the library might have been a good place to hide during society’s collapse. But now that you’ve broadcast that secret on the History Channel, I’ll have to fight every gun-toting bible thumper in a five-mile radius for a spot in the reference section. Thanks for nothing, Rudy.

Honorable Mention – “Pawn Stars”


I wanted to include "Pawn Stars" on this list, but as the clip below demonstrates, every once in a while they actually discuss something related to history.

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  1. March 3, 2010 9:15 am


    Thank you, I feel a little less alone. I am not one of those who believe everything it ever said but it used to be my default channel. Now I couldn’t tell you the last time I bothered checking it. SO sad, I loved the programs about the Vikings, Barbarians and Land of the Tsars. I wished they would add more like that about other time periods and different parts of the world, but alas I am left wanting.

  2. March 3, 2010 9:15 am

    Cleburne: The Graphic Novel

    I quit watching the History Channel years ago for the same reasons you mentioned. Now I watch History International and the Military Channel. They still show some decent documentaries and not all that reality crap.

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