Dammit, History Channel, will you please just stop?

The other day, I was just wasting time watching one of those “Ancient Aliens” shows on the History H2 channel, and putting aside all the other absurdities of such woowoo speculation I found myself contemplating one simple question: Why would beings scientifically advanced enough to defeat the speed of light limitation, with untold numbers of galaxies to explore, waste their time playing deity to backwards savages, building pyramids and mounds and all sorts of other mysterious structures beyond the capabilities of the lumbering indigenes they instructed, on an obscure planet circling a run-of-the-mill sun way out on an undistinguished arm of a pipsqueak galaxy?

Crap espousing such nonsense is bad enough on any network; it’s particularly disheartening to see such garbage on a channel that supposedly seeks to enlighten its viewers about history – especially when the preceding program that day on H2 was a two-hour exploration of the engineering marvels of ancient Egypt, with thoughtful explanations of precisely how those long-ago people – supposedly unable (if you buy the ancient aliens theory of antiquity’s achievements) to have constructed their massive monuments without starfolks’ assistance – went about doing just that despite their lack of modern machinery. Turns out that those ancient Egyptians were endowed with the necessary smarts and skills to do it all themselves.

And that’s what really pisses me off, when you get right down to it – the underlying idea that human beings, especially those not blessed with all our modern apparatus, were simply too dumb and incompetent to figure out anything more complex than mud huts; that “primitive” peoples were – and still are – lesser beings than our smugly smart current selves. So Neolithic man wouldn’t have a clue what to do with a computer or a backhoe? Big whoop – your average modern man wouldn’t have a clue how to survive, let alone thrive, in the Neolithic world. It’s just different skill sets, not a quantum leap in intelligence. And it sure as hell isn’t the guiding hand of mystical beings from a galaxy far, far away.

So come on, History Channel! You can do better. Sometimes you actually do. Please, please knock off this ancient aliens shit – it’s embarrassing. And dumb.

Insert gif of mustached man in audience slowly applauding here

ancient aliens providing technology and the basis of religions is plausible and reasonable.

the ancient aliens got their technology from some even more ancient aliens who came to their planet.

That particular network hopped the hammerhead a long time ago. Far too late now to remedy.

Evidently the technology to produce Engineering an Empire is lost to history.

The problem with History Channel (and pretty much TV in general) is that it went from active to passive programming. It went from show/educating/enlightening us, the viewers, of new and interesting topics to being reactionary to current trends and trying to placate the tastes of people who really don’t know what they want to begin with.

I think they should change their name to “The Ancient Aliens Channel” and then have Pawn Stars and American Pickers speculate that each item was crafted by Ancient Aliens and then try to haggle over the cost of the extra-terrestrial artifacts.

Can they bargain in quatloos?

I don’t want to take away from the overall theme of your criticism because I agree with it but I think the above quote is the wrong argument. I can easily imagine super-advanced humans getting jollies by playing deity to a backward people, especially if it got them great sex. I think it’s a mistake to assume that super advanced societies will be completely and totally rational (unless they’re from Vulcan).

It’s aliens all the way down!

A channel’s name is not its description.

Yeah, it was more interesting when it was the Hitler Channel.

Be serious, Rick Harris would have to bring in his “buddy expert” first.

If you want the answer to all of these ancient alien questions, read “The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut.

And, not least as we’re unfortunately located in an unfashionable arm of said pipsqueak galaxy…

I’ve long since given up on the History Channel living up to its name in any way shape or form. As for the ancient aliens woowoo I regard it as light entertainment, nothing more. I actually enjoy Chariots Of The Gods and similar “documentaries” of the era because of the overblown scoring and narration.

I was wondering how Fox was able to keep going 24/7 with such a small focus . . .

We all know who else found it more interesting when it was The Hitler Channel.

Wasn’t it Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who said that UFO sightings were caused by bored thrill-seeking teenage aliens buzzing the planet for kicks?

Adding: found it!

But how did you get there in the first place?!

Oh easy! I got a lift with a Teaser. You don’t know what a Teaser is, I - I’ll tell you. Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around looking for planets which haven’t made interstellar contact yet and buzz them.

Ah. “Buzz them”?

Yeah. They find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul, who no one’s ever going to believe, and then strut up and down in front of ‘em wearing silly antennae on their head and making “beep, beep” noises. Huh, rather childish really.

Winston Churchill, that’s who.

That made me visualize Little Orphan Annie exclaiming, “Hoppin’ Hammerheads, Trixie!”

You’re not wrong, precisely, but you’re skating around the real issue. These channels are profit-driven and only a marginal amount of their profit comes from cable licensing revenue. They have become the bulk filler in the channel lineup. They are as dependent on their ad revenue as any NBC affiliate, so what you are seeing is the nodal point between what advertisers will pay to reach their audience and what their audience will tune in to see. The cheapest drek that brings in the largest number of eyeballs is what runs. The minimax point for most channels is reality shows; not much that’s cheaper and right now not much that will draw a bigger audience. (In another time, it was talk shows.)

It is very much a case of “giving the audience what they want”… but instead of selecting the audience and then giving that selection what they want, it devolves to simply giving ANY audience - the largest one that can be captured - WHATEVER they want. Which likely no longer has anything to do with History, Arts & Entertainment, or the Discovery of anything but, well, things people will pull out their Discovery cards for.