History Bites (TV Series 1998–2008) Poster

(1998–2008)

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9/10
Surprisingly excellent!
rowain2 October 2006
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.
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History class meets SCTV
rvm-219 February 2001
This is a brilliant combination of comedy and interesting history. Try to imagine the result of the SCTV cast (John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, etc.) taking on the 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."
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Lightning has struck twice!
jessewillis27 January 2001
Lightning has struck twice! Rick Green has again turned a no-budget television program into comedy/learning gold AGAIN! Rick Green was fantastic as the host of "Prisoners of Gravity" now he's hosting "History Bites" a wickedly funny history lesson program airing on Canada's History Television.

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!
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8/10
Everything History class wasn't, but should have been!
thud-525 January 2006
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).
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clever
Raleon29 April 2003
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.
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10/10
History, Made Humorous
Justin Crann2 September 2006
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.

10/10.
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10/10
Brilliant!
Karolina15 March 2007
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.)
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8/10
Edutainment
Dani Pace10 January 2014
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!
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10/10
Very Very Excellent...
rpereira-45 April 2008
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?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJNAoqy2SRw
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7/10
Amusing Yet Useful
Filmy202011 March 2008
It is true that a lot of important points in history can be presented as only so interesting. This show manages to take the less exciting points (and some of the really exciting ones too) and turn them into quite enjoyable 30 min lessons.

Of course time constraints limits the amount of details that are able to be presented, but most of the subject matter is there.

While the show is not laugh-out-loud hilarious, it is still amusing to watch. Some of the pop culture impersonations are quite well done. Good examples are Howard Stern, Barbara Walters and Judge Judy.

This show is especially great for teens, who might have a resistance to studying history. They will get most of the impersonations and skits, and the show moves quickly enough to keep their attention.

Over all, pretty well done.
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Additional comments
brett017419 January 2006
This show is now running on two networks in Canada, the History Channel and the Comedy network. The episodes running on the History Channel are the original episodes from 1998, although later episodes may crop up later.

A few pieces of interesting trivia for fans of the show. It was created by Rick Green, who co-created [ and guest-stars in ] The Red Green show. Steve Smith's [ Red Green ] company produced the show.

One episode I was watching earlier today seemed to feature an appearance by Jessica Holmes, before she starred in her own series and in Air Farce. Has anyone else seen this episode to confirm it?
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1/10
This show "Bites."
zergling_seb20 February 2007
I'm all for preserving our proud history but this show just flops horribly. Teeming with references to television shows that are pretty lame all on their own, then adding an extra E to the end to make it fit the desired era. The entire crew is spoon fed their roles and the scenes in general are pretty poorly done with jokes you can see a mile away.

Sufficient to say it's a great show if you are a historian who finds the "Passage of the Gamoriates across the passage of Lucian Versais." hilarious. For those of us lacking in the knowledge of twelfth century German history, it's not that much fun to watch. And I swear to god if I have to stand for another Teressa Pavilik lip biting character, I'm going to boycott the damn show.

Falls in a hiatus, just above Royal Canadian Air Farce, but way below The Red Green Show.
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