|Index||7 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I give it 3 stars for it's comedic value but it really doesn't belong
on any network calling itself "The History Channel"! This is really
just one more stage in the dumbing down of what used to be a great
network. The episode "Area 51" is largely a dressed up regurgitation of
all the rumors, gossip and conspiracy theories circulating around the
Perhaps the most ridiculous is continuing to give airtime to the "fake moon landing" nuts whose claims have been consistently refuted and proved wrong.
- "flag waving in the wind" ignores a basic tenant of physics, that a body in motion, remains in motion unless acted upon by an opposite force - in a vacuum, there is no air pressure to dampen the movement created by planting the flag.
- "objects in shadow would be completely black" ignores what anyone who has ever taken a walk on a moonlit night in the snow knows... that light colored surfaces reflect light, making everything much brighter.
This episode also presented claims that the rapid technological developments since the 1950's must be due to "reverse engineering alien technology" because previous development happened much more slowly. But this ignores the reality that throughout history, there are a number of key discoveries which spurred rapid development.
Think of the discovery of fire, the printing press, electricity, the incandescent bulb, internal combustion engines, the electron microscope and the splitting of the atom. These all spawned dramatic change. The 1950's started with German rocketry, jet engines and the computer... the Cold War and the race to the moon. It was those discoveries and projects which have fueled modern technology. All of which was conveniently ignored and dismissed with the flippant "man isn't smart enough to have done all this on his own..." comment.
The History Channel has clearly forgotten its roots and its mission and has chosen to pursue the ratings game of "reality TV" and fantasy. One can only hope that they are no longer being used in our public classrooms as there is no longer anything educational about 80% of their programming.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
History Channel (and H2) once got a bad reputation for being the "All
Nazi ALL The Time" or The Hitler Channel. They have overcome that,
which at least was based on actual history, by veering into every
ridiculous conspiracy theory currently running. UFOS (numerous shows),
Bigfoot (at least 2 or maybe three), Knights Templar/Holy grail, and of
course the evil government. America's Book Of Secrets falls into the
They wander around the edges of the real world. The kicker for me was a recent episode about **possible spoilers (sadly)** a supposed vast network of underground trains between military bases, and the topper, a secret passage for submarines from a lake in Nevada to the Pacific Ocean. This supposedly natural formation crosses at least 6 major faults (which are really not faults, I learn) and somehow manages to maintain near hydrostatic equilibrium despite the fact that the surface of the lake is **4000 feet** above sea level. If true, it would drain itself like a toilet, in about the same time!
Things like this don't seem to phase any of the deeply inquiring minds interviewed on the show. They drone on like Art Bell callers, mixing their strange delusions and perfect conviction. One is left with the impression that they genuinely believe what they are saying. That's either Sir Laurence Olivier-level acting, or they are frighteningly deluded.
In a way, of course, it's entertaining, but not in a good way.
Occasionally they have good stuff about cults etc. But then they go
right back around and make some stuff up just for the ratings.
They continue to talk about conspiracy theories that have been debunked like "Fake moon landing" and "freemasons" and "Gold conspiracies" and EVEN BIGFOOT. I MEAN SERIOUSLY?!?!
Bringing up nut cases like Ron Paul. Talking about Fort Knox conspiracies. It's just things they don't know so they make up a story behind it.
It's so easy when someone doesn't give you access to something so these people make up stories about these things for fun and there's always an audience to believe in it. Just gotta find the right audience.
These theories and ideas accomplish nothing. It's like Nostradamus predictions. Even if Nostradamus got one thing right so what? He made thousands of guesses--you're bound to get SOMETHING right just by GUESSING.
But you don't guess for entertainment, that's just pointless waste of everyone's time if you turn out to be wrong.
I saw the original, 2-hour feature of the same title, upon which the
series is very loosely based, circa 2011. I thought it was interesting.
Like other curious people, I'd like to know about the secret inner
workings of various institutions, be it the World Bank or my local
cable company. And as is the case with all people who have their sanity
and a lick of common sense, I realize that the odds of any actual
secrets being revealed via the mass media is slim to none.
It's amusing to speculate about what might go on behind closed doors, but I wouldn't be so foolish as to think that I'm actually getting privileged information (along with millions of other miscellaneous persons) simply by turning on the TV. That's really obvious, right? Well, if you're one of the not-so-few who really and truly believe that a couple of middle-aged radio "shock jocks" whose careers have been based solely on saying literally anything to get attention have, for reasons unknown, have been made privy to "all the world's secrets -- and have an important message just for you"...this may well be the show of your dreams. If you've traded your tinfoil hat for a tricorn model with tea bags stapled to the brim, this series is for you. If you believe that the world is made up of only two types of people: those who know the *real* truth, and the fascist commies who are trying to separate you from this precious "knowledge", then it's a show that cannot be missed!
If, on the other hand, you have had your fill of the paranoid rantings of America's Republican Party pundits, you can save yourself from many hours of wasted time by finding something better to watch.
As other reviewers have noted, this series is completely devoid of any documentary content whatsoever. It's a pathetic compilation of whatever loony conspiracy theories are currently trending, slathered in a whole lot of highly partisan politics. The show's "experts" include Erich "Man-Cow" Muller, one of the many imitators who flocked to Chicago in "me too" fashion in the wake of the success of FM radio personalities Steve Dahl and Garry Meier. Muller apparently gained brief fame there, mainly by committing petty crimes on-air. Recently Muller has attempted to resurrect his career with a short-lived "reality" TV show featuring his brother, a used car salesman.
The other "expert", Alex Jones, also has a radio background as a "me too" clone of Rush Limbaugh. As with Muller, Jones' primary "talent" on this show is regurgitating GOP-sponsored hate/conspiracy theories. While content like this may have enough of a following to generate ad revenue for the History Channel, it's not actually history...or news...or even mildly interesting.
Fundamentally, the programme seemed to provide a dumb-ed down version
of previous History Channel (now plain "History," according to my
Wikipedia glance) programming on the same subjects. As an example, I'll
cite the "Ku Klux Klan" episode. History did a fairly thorough show
about the Klan years ago. The "Book of Secrets" episode recycled some
footage from the older show--some charming Klansmen yelling about
having all non WASP types using colourful language. The "Book of
Secrets" Klan programme also used a lot of archival footage having
nothing to do with the actual group. There were "God Hates Obama" signs
clearly designed by the Westboro Baptist Church. Similarly, the
programme used generic footage from right-wing groups who I think would
be appalled to be cited as Klansmen.
Also, the narrator/narration had an irritating habit of rhetorically asking whether X had a more sinister/secret/special reason for occurring. As an example, using the Klan episode, the narrator asked about why the FBI only investigated Klan-linked murders starting in 2007. However, the show then moved on past this apparent triviality.
Yes, it would be relatively easy to quickly and significantly increase America's average Intelligence Quotient. Here it is. Select people by finding if any person believes in ONE item presented on the H2 series America's Book of Secrets. A supposed fact, a conspiracy theory, any one thing at all. Belief in anything involving extraterrestrials counts as especially qualifying. Take these people and periodically deport them to Cuba, a sort of Marielista Exodus in reverse. But instead of getting criminals, perverts, and psychopaths like those sent here by Fidel, they'd get persons of proved idiocy! I would not be vindictive, I'd limit the minimum age of deportees to 13yo. But you young folks reaching the teen years had better beware! Oh, and make the port of embarkation Area 51 in Nevada... That would be so ironically appropriate, wouldn't it?
This is a really educational and fun show. I wouldn't say most of it's really a secret, it's just a lot of conspiracy theory and odd type of stuff you don't hear about every day. To give you an idea, some titles of the episode are Secrets of Fort Knox, the White House, the mafia, the CIA etc. Most of it, as I said it stuff you may have read in the paper or seen on the news, but there are some juicy tid-bits thrown in each episode, enough to keep me coming back for more. If you are interest in American history, this is just the show for you. Unfortunately, I think there was only about 20 episodes or so. The History Channel has shows in this vein all the time though. I think there's one coming out called "The United Stuff of America"
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