I love a good conspiracy theory, but usually they fizzle out within a few minutes of web searching about them. Want to get the other side? Just search for whatever it is plus “debunk.”
The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch on History, for example, doesn’t hold up very well. In the season two finale, they fly a helicopter around to take sensor readings. The radar altimeter starts alerting them that the ground is less than 50 feet below, when they were 1500 or more above it.
The helicopter pilot was (pretending to be?) mystified. It was as if there was something just below the aircraft that no one could see.
A quick search reveals tons of documentation on things that mess up radar based altimeters and give them false low readings.
I was really hoping for an invisible UFO flying around below them.
But, do your own research. Though, it may be a funner show if you don’t.
I really liked the History channel a couple decades ago. No it’s just another mainstream channel designed to insult out intelligence, and keep the stupid entertained.
Don’t get me wrong – I quite enjoy the occasional ancient astronaut or Bigfoot show, but I don’t see what those have to do with History. I would argue that Hunting Hitler, which I really liked, could fit on the channel since it was exploring speculative history. I bet that’s how it all got started – ancient astronauts being speculative history. I’m just not sure what a cattle ranch in Utah in 2020 has to do with history, beyond tiny segments in the show that discussed the indigenous people that used to live there. But hey, Music Television stopped playing music decades ago, so…
The problem for documentary/history channels nowadays is probably that people post equally good content for free (with advertisements) on YouTube and whatnot.
Sure, it might not always have the professional touch that a regular TV production has, but on the other hand it can be more thorough with details that would never make it into regular TV programmes, even though the details might be of great interest to some viewers.
Not specific to History Channel, but an example of a TV show that couldn’t be made in 2022 is Mythbusters or Scrapheap Challenge. Sure, there might not be Youtube channels that do exactly the same, but you for sure can find people doing all sorts of experiments and also people who create all sorts of makeshift things out of whatever material they have at hand. I also think that Youtube or streaming services in general are more suitable for this type of content than regular TV shows and the reason is simply that each instance of whatever gets done will not easily fit a predefined time span. On Youtube people can post videos with whatever length they want. Some are a bit longer and some are a bit shorter. It’s more or less easy to get a sense of when a regular TV show either rushes through something due to lack of time, or drags out something due to lack of enough content.
The only thing that pre-online type of media still does a way better job at is making movies and tv shows that are fiction. Sure, there are some content creators that make fiction as web series and whatnot but that is still a niche thing.
I think YouTubers do a great job of telling people stuff that is already known. The vast majority of videos I watch about theme parks or retro computing are by people too young to have ever experienced what they are covering, and are basically just collecting information and regurgitating it. This is research, of course, but there is no first hand verification.
Many “ten things you didn’t know about…” videos have things that are wrong, just because the wrong information is so widespread on the internet.
With that said, I think money is the only advantage big media has for documentaries. Anyone with the energy can research all the rumors about Hitler’s final days, but most could never afford the budget to fly around the world, conduct interviews, do original research, etc.
Ratings must have been great for the Skinwalker show to get a second season. It certainly seems like they are spending money on nothing.