Alright, I don't know how many of you go out of your way to watch the History Channel anymore, but there have been all manner of interesting shows to make their way to that network. Some of them have been really interesting and actually relevant to history...and some of them have been incredibly stupid. Beyond stupid.
There is some sort of new trend in "reality" tv that requires shows on all networks to have a ton of completely idiotic rednecks or some other sort of crazy kook. It's amazing that a channel called the History Channel manages to get away with some of the crazy sh*t it airs. That being said, there is certainly an endless amount of entertainment for people like me who get to write about how messed up they are.
This piece covers both sides of the coin. There are shows that are just very clearly fake and ridiculous, and there are shows that have at least some significant bit of truth in them. For example, Ancient Aliens is just dumb...because there are no aliens or at least no evidence of them being on Earth. So, it's fake. However, Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy, however stupid it may be, actually is based on the truth. It's really this awful comedian showing real things in America. Scroll down to learn about other Fake and Real shows.
16 FAKE: Alone
The funniest thing about just how fake this show is is in the title of the show. It's called Alone. Do you want to know what these people never are when they're surviving out in the woods during the shooting of a season? ALONE! Of course, they're not alone. They have camera crews all over the place, and those camera people have their craft services so they can get their good meals in. “Did you know that every one of the contestants was less than an hour’s walk from a road, town, or clearing? Did you know that some of them were in actual campsites?…Is that what you had in mind when you were watching the show?” These were some questions asked by a website that took aerial images of where the show is shot and expanded the area to discover where the show was actually being shot.
15 TRUE: Forged In Fire
Thank goodness this show is actually a good chunk of true. Sure, playing around with timelines and tools may make people a little skeptical, but it doesn't change the fact that the guys who appear on the show do know how to make blades. And the successes and failures of each of them are shown very clearly. It's not like a cooking show where they make the dish a million times with purposeful tampering from the producers. And after a while, the guys on this show finally stopped always chopping through a pig or whatever fun things that explode. They also now use a ballistics gel model of a person with bones set in it as well. This makes the testing of the blades far for realistic. And come on, it's kind of cool to see all of the interesting designs.
14 FAKE: Ancient Aliens
To start with this one...it's pretty simple. There aren't aliens out there. There just aren't Or, rather there is no evidence to actually suggest that there are some green stick men with oval eyes hovering around in the UFOs laughing at us while we try to find out how the pyramids were made. Those aliens don't exist. So, this series is immediately just completely fake. Sure, they don't always say it's fact that aliens built Stone Henge or the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico. But the fact that this show on THE HISTORY CHANNEL is on about how it seems likely that aliens gave us technology and built all of our most amazing ancient buildings is just ridiculous. The channel is for the learning of history. Not of bullsh*t. That's what Penn & Teller are for.
13 TRUE: Swamp People
I can't believe that I'm saying this...Swamp People is actually sort of true. It's unfortunately true in a very disgusting way. Ok, so old guys aren't hauling up 500-pound gators into their boats on their own. That just is not possible. But they really are pulling up gators and blasting them in the face with a bullet from a pistol...which is just friggin disgusting. I'm sure there are plenty of people who enjoy watching toothless rednecks shot gators in the face, but I'm just not into it. Another example of something that is definitely true is the death of one of the cast members on the show. At first, it was thought that the guy had a seizure, but it's been discovered that he had a heart attack while on his boat. Sure, there is some fakery in this show, but the most gruesome parts are true.
12 FAKE: Hunting Hitler
Give me a break! This is one of the most ridiculous shows to have ever aired on the History Channel. It's called Hunting Hitler. I imagine you have some sort of idea of just what it's about. But, for those of you who haven't seen it, or don't have enough of an imagination to think what it could be about...the whole show revolves around the idea that Hitler actually survived the war, managed to escape, and now people are searching for where he actually died...if he is even dead yet! So, basically, this show is promoting the idea that Hitler could still be alive, enjoying the good life somewhere in the world. Probably somewhere in South America like so many other Nazi leaders who managed to escape and avoid trial by the Allies. By the way...Hitler is dead.
11 TRUE: Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy
This show just makes me want to sigh and groan (and not in a good way). I hate having to admit that this show is at least somewhat true. It just goes to show how f*cked the History Channel is these days. Not only is it somewhat true...it's just completely based in fact. Larry The Cable Guy is actually a chubby redneck and sh*t comedian. And in the show, he actually travels the United States just to show off how there are some really fun, interesting, and crazy things kicking around the country. You can't get more real than Larry wandering around New York in nothing but briefs and a hat, playing guitar with the Naked Cowboy. It's very difficult to get that image out of your head, and it is unfortunately very real.
10 FAKE: American Pickers
Here are two guys who have known each other for decades who drive around in a Mercedes Sprinter, seeking out places to stop around America so they can negotiate buying antiques that they figure would be worth an incredible amount of money further down the road. But you know what? That's not entirely true. Neither of these guys actually drive that "picking" van. They drive to each location separately in their own cars. And they don't go alone either. They have a massive convoy of camera, lighting, and makeup crews to make sure that everything looks perfect. Oh, and those people they haggle with to find their wonderful antiques? Those negotiations are done months before the actual episodes are shot, just so they know they have what they need for the season. Come on, it's "reality" tv; they have to bullsh*t their way through it.
9 TRUE: Ice Road Truckers
“We had mixed feelings, because of how they sensationalized and portrayed the ice roads,” said the owner of a trucking company who travels the ice roads frequently. Essentially, Ice Road Truckers is true enough to not land in the fake pile in this article. They do make the job seem more dramatic in order to get some high ratings, so that's kind of silly. Ultimately, the process of running the ice roads is very controlled and there are hardly ever any trucks going through the ice. They do a reenactment of a truck breaking through the ice and sinking to the bottom. Now, that has happened before, just not where they were shooting the actual film. But hey, at least they're actually filming truckers driving the ice roads throughout the season. That's more real than most of the shows on the History Channel.
8 FAKE: Pawn Stars
This is part of an interview from a source close to the family stars of Pawn Stars. "Well they never come out to the front unless it's time to film, they sit in the back..all four of them and sign page after page of autographs for $25 a pop to a line up of people. And everything you see on TV is fake, what the offer will be and whether or not they will buy it is all set up, it's all a show...Sure they buy stuff, but its all determined well before the show after the studio interviews the people who want to go on the show...the people walking around the shop in the show are just extras." Basically, the rest of the interview with this source never needed to happen. This statement is more than enough to demonstrate how fake the show is.
7 TRUE: How The States Got Their Shapes
This is probably one of the more realistic shows on the History Channel. And it actually has to do with history! What a crazy thought. Brian Unger hosts the show and takes viewers on an adventure across the United States giving the history of how borders were drawn for certain states because of resources or peoples or geographical issues of one sort or another. Sadly, in a Ranker poll, this show is the 13th best show on the History Channel, beaten by shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and The Curse of Oak Island. It's pretty sad when bullsh*t "reality" tv shows beat out a show that is actually relevant to the title of the channel; an actual educational show about history! This is the kind of world we live in. People don't want to learn. They're just happy being stupid.
6 FAKE: Mountain Men
Mountain Men is full of all sorts of bullsh*t. Here's something a viewer once said about the show "The premise of [this] hoax show is that the "Mountain Men" (or whatever they are purported to be) are some sort of wilderness die-hards; however, none of these nit-wits has a generator, car, truck, snowmobile, aircraft or electric toothbrush that seems to work... everything they own -- and is vital to their survival-- is always on the edge of collapse. And the constant on-site interviews with the camera crews...? Jeesh! That really promotes the feeling that these "survivalists" are isolated or at risk." He's got a point. And this sort of thing has been admitted to by a number of the star of the show. The producers often make more drama out of a situation by tampering with something or getting the "mountain man" to react a certain way. They're trying to tell a story, not share reality.
5 TRUE: Ancient Discoveries
This is a great series. Why? Because it has nothing to with aliens or gods or some other non-existent thing helping us out with some cool high-tech stuff. It actually just has to do with how intelligent people have been all through history. Hey, there's that word again...HISTORY. It's like Ancient Discoveries is a show that actually belongs on a channel like the HISTORY CHANNEL! I'm sorry, I just get so angry when I think about how a show like this does so poorly in comparison to an idiotic show like American Pickers. I just can't grasp how it is that the History Channel would rather promote "reality" shows about two guys buying old things that they don't educate anyone about too much when they have a show like Ancient Discoveries which is entirely educational about history.
4 FAKE: The Curse Of Oak Island
"Wood? Buried underground? Could it be part of a treasure chest containing the lost works of William Shakespeare? The treasures of the Knights Templar? The Ark of the Covenant? The Holy Grail?!" Yeah, that's the sort of intro that this bullsh*t show had. First of all, what lost works of Shakespeare? Grow up. Secondly, there was wood underground because the little island has a number of sinkholes on it. Trees have withered away and have been sucked into the sinkholes. That's not incredibly exciting. Sure, there have been a couple of things found on the island, but none of the things found would indicate that there would be a huge treasure buried somewhere on the island. And if there ever was, it's definitely washed away through the sinkholes then the underground caverns.
3 TRUE: Battle 360
This is actually a really cool show that definitely has something to do with history. This show is all about the U.S.S. Enterprise. Now, when I say that, I don't mean the starship Enterprise. This isn't Star Trek. Sure, the show does have a lot of computer-generated sequences of the historical aircraft carrier, but only to demonstrate certain aspects of the ship's history. The show also has a bunch of actual footage of the carrier, archival images, interviews with former crew members and historians as well. The show was so highly rated as its very first episode landed 1.8 million viewers. This makes Battle 360 premiere the second highest viewed show on the History Channel...next to Ice Road Truckers...which is just pretty sad.
2 FAKE: Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence
This is a pretty ridiculous show. Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence. The lost evidence of what exactly? Of the alleged fact that Earhart didn't actually wind up dropping her plane in the Pacific and drowning after running out of gas in her circumnavigation of the Earth. Nope. Apparently, she actually ended up making an emergency landing on a Japanese island where she and her navigator were captured by the Japanese military and held prisoner until both of them eventually died. The only evidence that this show actually presents for this incredibly silly story is a photo where there seem to be two Caucasian people on a dock with some Japanese military personnel. Based on just looking at the size of the one assumed to be Earhart (whose back is facing the camera), these people conclude that she was captured by the Japanese. This is a bullsh*t show.
1 TRUE: WWII In HD
This is probably one of the most amazing, but also most depressing shows to have aired on the History Channel. The reason? Well, first of all, it's narrated by Lieutenant Dan...so that's awesome. Second of all, it is a documentary series which shows a ton of historical footage from World War II. There is some incredibly heavy stuff in this show. That being said, it is probably one of the few shows related to WWII that doesn't have to deal entirely with Hitler. And it's not a show that goes on about how Hitler was constantly on meth, actually made it out of Europe at the end of the war, and is still alive today. WWII In HD is actually just a cold-truth sort of documentary show about things that actually happened during the war.
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