An Undergrad's Perspective on Archaeology, Academia and Anything Else

Posts tagged “ice road truckers

The Sad State of “Educational” Television

The state of “educational” television is, I feel, atrocious. Only some of the channels that are slightly educational actual have content that could be deemed educational. PBS, you’re off the hook. TLC, too ridiculous to even start on. It is in now way a “learning channel,” and to call it that is ridiculous. The top shows? Jon & Kate Plus 8, Cake Boss, 18 Kids and Counting and What Not to Wear. Need I say more?

Discovery Channel I take little beef with. The major complaint is they own TLC and let those ridiculous shows go on. The network does have shows that get money flowing in avenues that would normally be hard pressed to raise funds.

History Channel. Oh, excuse me it’s no longer History Channel but just “History.” Bull. If you watch it during the day half the shows are about Aliens or Monsters. As an archaeology student that pisses me off. Claiming aliens built ancient formations is up there with one of the most offensive things you can tell me. Then half of their actual “history” shows are either wrong or just ridiculous. Chasing Mummies? Come on Zahi, you’re a joke (the people didn’t want you back, they either don’t know you or hate you). Then the top shows on the network- Pawn Stars, Ice Road Truckers and American Pickers. For one, Ice Road Truckers has nothing to do with history AT ALL, it was just an attempt to compete with Deadliest Catch. Pawn Stars… ok it shows history in a weird, weird distorted way. American Pickers I appreciate because it appreciates early American history. The problem with those two shows though is the focus on $$$$.

A few weeks ago I saw a speaker at Boston University- he was the creator of the British show “Time Team.” The show follows an archaeological dig for 5 days and is, for TV, very accurate. Before going to the lecture I had watched a few episodes to get a feel for the show. Archaeologically, it is very interesting. For a pure entertainment perspective, interesting too! He told us all how he tried to sell it to the major networks (it was on PBS for a season but did fairly badly) and all the executives told him, you have to put at dollar value on the items. The room of archaeologists laughed because its a ridiculous thought- most of the things being dug up have very little monetary value but have a great deal of academic value. The saddest part of that is in the UK the show has been on for a long, long time and is extremely popular. America and Britain are not so different that it’s appeal wouldn’t cross over, I believe. The networks though, refuse to put these types of shows on, which is an extreme pity. Hopefully they’ll see the error in their ways.