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This is a real gem of a show that never got the widespread attention it
deserved. History Bites is the brainchild of Canadian comedy legend
Rick Green (of The Red Green Show fame). Essentially, it asks the
question "What if TV had been around for the last 5000 years?" Each
episode picks a major point or theme from history and then acts it out
as if our modern television and culture were back in that period. Rick
Green lends his talents in narration by offering up educational tidbits
in between skits.
The show could easily have stunk but instead shines thanks to absolutely stellar acting and writing. Each cast member is a genius in their own right in that they manage to pull of near flawless imitations of pop culture icons like Don Cherry, Jerry Seinfeld, Martha Stewart, Regis Philbin hell, even Judge Judy. You really have to see it to believe it.
Just another gem of Canadian TV that sadly will likely never get the fame it deserves.
Lightning has struck twice! Rick Green has again turned a no-budget
television program into comedy/learning gold AGAIN! Rick Green was
as the host of "Prisoners of Gravity" now he's hosting "History Bites" a
wickedly funny history lesson program airing on Canada's History
The premise of this innovative television show is based around the supisition that television has been around since the dawn of history; So why not watch some of those reruns?
Hilarious impersinations of Jeopardy, Martha Stewart, David Letterman, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and many, many, many, other shows allow instant accesability to famous and infamous historical events and persons. Barbara Walters interviewing Genghis Kahn. Ted Koppel interviewing Joan of Arc! So many events have been covered in the first three seasons, and I've learned so much laughing all the way! If at all possible check out this hilarious brainfest!
WARNING THIS PROGRAM IS NOT FOR THE STODGY!
Rick Green, co-creator of the wonderful Canadial show, The Red Green
Show, branched out in the early 90's to create and star in this "bet
you thought you knew what happened" history program. Combining a very
good ensemble cast along with the use of humor to get points across,
History Bites takes the premise of what might we know about certain
points in history if television had been there to record and report it?
Would the Hun really turn out to be a bunch of misunderstood guys who really thought they were doing a good thing by slaughtering thousands as their horde moved across Asia and Europe? Was Genghis just trying to live up to his father's image?
Were the Norsemen who conquered western France shocked when the French just gave them the land and told them the now THEY had to care for the population.
History Bites is a funny show. It should be mandatory viewing for 5th through 8th graders in all schools to help them understand that what me might think of as historical fact is often just what the winners wrote, not what happened. And humor is the best way to get across this kind of information.
Too bad the Canadians keep it to themselves. Or, too bad US networks like The History Channel or even Comedy Central haven't picked this up. There are more than enough individual shows to fill more than a year's programming (at one per week).
Pretty good way to trick people into learning- by entertaining them. Much more entertaining than educational, but they do their research well, though some of their joke are off the bat. They're not history teachers.
I was so bad at history, but putting it in a comedic context always helps it to seem interesting. You have to hand it to Rick Green for creating so many really clever projects.
This is a brilliant combination of comedy and interesting history. Try to
imagine the result of the SCTV cast (John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene
Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, etc.) taking on
teaching of history, and you have a good picture of the result.
The premise is "what if TV had been around for the last 5000 years?" and depicts modern shows (eg. Seinfeld, etc.) as if they had been done in those periods. The witty parody of these shows is reason enough to tune in. This is fine comedy.
Some of the topics are pretty specialized (Math Cults, for example), but the learning is painless, and will frequently have you laughing out loud.
As far as I can tell, this is only available on the Canadian History Television network, though you might want to check with the US History Television channel and your favorite PBS affiliate.
"Only in Canada, you say? Pity."
I acknowledge that I am a history geek, but even if I wasn't, I would
still love this show! Rick Green had the excellent idea of making
history fun for all those who hate it, and even better for those who
love it. While knowledge of the event in question is certainly helpful,
it isn't necessary to enjoy the show and understand the jokes - Rick
Green explains the event periodically throughout the show. However,
without any clue of the context of the episode (Middle Ages vs.
Mesopotamia, for example), it would probably be difficult to know what
they're talking about.
I highly recommend this to my fellow nerds (I know you're out there.)
I didn't think it possible-- a history program which sticks to the
relative truth and fact of the matter while simultaneously keeping
those with short attention spans interested.
Featuring hundreds of laughs an episode, and offering the kind of satirical wit that seems so very common in Canadian humor (Air Farce, 22 Minutes, and etcetera, anybody?), History Bites seems to hold its own as one of the more tasteful programs on television.
It certainly beats ninety percent of the programs appearing on the Comedy Network in terms of humor and taste.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This review contains spoilers
History Bites seems like a conceptually ambitious show that is pulled off through talent and high production standards. Although the free-wheeling, fast-edited pace of the show is a bit hard to latch onto at first, the format quickly becomes appealing. (although i admit the first time i saw it i had no idea what was going on)
The composite of parodied clips from pop tv shows, informing in some way on ancient history, are frequently hilarious and always informative. My personal favorite are the parodies of Barbara Walters interviews, as she walks around interviewing people (i.e. Genghis Khan) in soft filter while the rest of the frame looks normal.
I liked History Bites, it was a very fun show to watch but it was also educational. I like that it was able to be entertaining while it also informed. OK so it's not like it was teaching us a ton of great new information we couldn't learn on Wikipedia or that we don't already know from schools, but for a family show it is great and kids can get a lot out of this show. Likewise the comedy was not gold but this show was way way more entertaining than most educational history shows would be. The host Rick Green seems like a really nice person and he is likable, a very good host for a show like this. The actors all are fine for the roles they are doing, basically sending up historical figures with impressions. Totally worth seeing if you like history and or family friendly entertainment!
As Lawrence Welk once said to me "Very Very Excellent"...is the way I
would describe History Bites. All the bite, laughs, and more of SCTV.
Of course a show like this could only come out of Canada, excuse me,
Hamilton Ontario? Much like SCTV History Bites just skims below the
media radar but has developed a loyal following. There are so many
great characters with a wild mix and match of present references,
historical vignettes, and great impressions. Watch for David Letterman,
Doctor Phil, and even Prince Rupert!
Is it true that there are new episodes?
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