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I love history with a passion and often the History Channel has let me down. Although Ax Men is entertaining, I don't think a channel about History really should have a reality show. Battles BC is a truly entertaining and educational show. Here we learn about these ancient battles and the mighty leaders and warriors who helped create empires and wage war. They blend riveting historical accuracy with flashy new age imagery. Now obviously the fighting scenes they have aren't totally accurate, but they weren't meant to be. They are there to put fast paced action alongside this magnificent history lesson. This show is a real treat to watch and I am really thankful that the History Channel finally has something really entertaining and educational to watch. I only hope this program doesn't go the way of Decisive Battles and Command Decisions. The History Channel needs to keep great programming like this on and forget about reality shows and programs about monsters and UFOs. Please History Channel, keep this amazing show on and teach us all more about the legendary Battles BC.
This show takes some of the well known conflicts of ancient
civilizations and adds a modern flare to them. An obvious attempt to
make history more appealing to the current generation of viewers, the
focus here is on entertainment. Real historical figures are given a
weapon in each hand with no shield and are seen wading through and
besting countless foes from the opposing armies in usually single
combat. The fight scenes are interspersed with expert historian
commentators who have many interesting things to say about the
particular conflict and its participants.
While I applaud the History Channel for attempting to make history more accessible and interesting to the modern viewer, much realism has to be sacrificed in the attempt. The depiction of combat here may be somewhat exciting, but to the more seasoned viewer like myself it is absurd and ironically a bit monotonous in its tight and predictable choreography. Enemies are usually dispatched with a flash of cartoon blood at the end, making it appear to be a comic strip more than a historic battle. The only view of the battle is at ground level - no bird's eye views of the developing battle here. Rough diagrams are shown of troop dispositions, but I expect more in this age of readily accessible computer simulations.
The accompanying commentary is excellent, and one of the best parts of the show. The commentators help to flesh out the rationale behind the conflict, goals of the commanders, and progress of the battles. They help to fill in the details that are lacking in the re-enactments.
Although I do enjoy the show, I cannot recommend it to the more serious historian. This show is for those who have only a marginal interest in history, and demand entertainment over a realistic depiction of battle. "Warrior Queen Boudicca" is one example of a History Channel program that has some man-to-man fighting but is supplemented by great bird's eye views of the battle, and both conducted in a more realistic manner. Perhaps the finest example of how to do this sort of show right is "Battlefied Britain" from a few years back, but it is not airing any longer to my knowledge, although it is available on DVD.
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