Pitch the Perfect History Channel Show

May 10, 2011

So, I’ve been thinking about the History Channel (or the “History” Channel or the Pseudo-History Channel) and wondering if I could come up with the perfect History Channel show. I suppose it would probably be a reality show featuring mostly unpleasant people doing dangerous and/or stupid things and arguing a lot. But I’m thinking about shows that involve actual history (or “history”). Among the shows listed on the website are such gems as:

I am only including shows listed on the website which have “about the show” information available. I’m not including History International.

A couple of other shows are listed which I hadn’t seen before. First is Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. I watched the episode on the Georgia Guidestones to see what it was about. Well, it’s awkward, with way too much time spent on shots of the investigators giving each other looks when they are interviewing someone. I haven’t quite figured out the relevance of the investigators’ qualifications: one’s a lawyer, one’s an engineer, and one is a journalist described as an “English professor.”  When they get to the guidestones and see all the languages, the English professor whips out his phone and Googles to see what the languages are. Really? Really? That’s your research? You wait until you get there and then start Googling? Not to mention he’s Googling information that is provided at the monument.

During the investigation, they interview various people and uncover various conspiracy theories: evil Rosicrucians planning genocide and using mind control and other occult gifts; good Rosicrucians warning us of global catastrophe. Occasionally Meltzer pops up in the studio like a deus ex machina and dismisses a particular theory (spoiler alert: Rosicrucians aren’t evil). And in the end, he puts the guidestones into the context of the Cold War, when they were built. His explanation is one of the least loopy; however, he does give a certain amount of credence to some of the theories (catastrophic solar flares! asteroids! 2012! Mayans!). Based on the one episode I’ve seen, it’s a conspiracy theory show for people who aren’t quite Jesse Ventura/Alex Jones crazy.

And then there’s MysteryQuest. Again, I was willing to sit through one episode. The episode I chose is called “Return of the Amityville Horror.”

I wasn’t encouraged by the opening, which summarized the story of the Amityville Horror without so much as mentioning the possibility that it was a hoax. Also, someone was bibbling about demons and vortices. But, while I was banging my head against the desk, I saw something out of the corner of my eye: did that bespectacled bald man have a Radfordian look to him? Why yes, that’s Ben Radford, well-known paranormal investigator and skeptic. It was at this moment that my often absent and frequently drunk spirit guide Sir Percival Piddlestew smacked me on the head and showed me a psychic vision: “Ben Radford’s point of view will get short-shrift.” If you don’t believe I made this prediction, ask Bob. (Spoiler alert 2–James Randi owes me a cool million).

So, is the Amityville house still (or again, or for the first time) haunted? Nope, it’s fine. Apparently the ghosts and demons and assorted paranormal whatnot have packed up and moved across the country to Wolfe Manor in Clovis, CA. What the supposed haunting at Amityville has to do with the supposed haunting at Wolfe Manor, I have no idea, unless it be the terrifying Ghost of Marketing come to call.

The investigative team includes a paranormal investigator and a demonologist joined by a medium and a scientist/engineer who makes ghost-hunting gadgets. No Ben Radford. The owner of Wolfe Manor shows them a picture of what could be a ghost or a demon:

Personally, I think it’s a velociraptor in ceremonial robes, possibly a reptilian mason. Or the Egyptian god Horus. Pareidolia‘s fun. As for the investigation, if you’ve ever seen Ghost Hunters, or Ghost Adventures, or Ghost Lab, you might as well have seen this investigation, except that Ghost Hunters are paragons of skepticism compared to these people.

Once the investigation is over, they take their data to analyze at the scientist’s lab–which is also haunted. This is where Radford comes in. There is security video of a desk chair rotating and a cubicle wall falling down on the same night six hours apart. Radford investigates that, and comes up with possible natural explanations. The scientist agrees that these explanations are plausible or would be, if both events hadn’t occurred during the same night. That’s it. Radford isn’t part of the main investigation, and he doesn’t get to comment on the practices used by the team. The team goes on to investigate the lab/warehouse. Upshot: at both locations there are “heat anomalies.” At Wolfe Manor, there is a possible vortex. They aren’t sure if the lab is haunted, but Wolfe Manor definitely is.

So, here’s your challenge: come up with the perfect idea for a History Channel show. Include title and description, if the spirit moves you. Try to incorporate as many of the following as possible:

  • Nostradamus
  • 2012
  • Mayans
  • DOOM!
  • Ancient aliens
  • Lost civilizations
  • Bigfoot
  • Freemasons
  • Reptilians
  • Illuminati

And anything else you can think of. Extra points if you can work in Hitler somewhere (nostalgia for the days when the History Channel was the Hitler Channel).

Grand prize: one shiny new Internets!