What do you think about Discovery Channel's fake 'documentaries'?

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.

Leifer

Senior Member.
I've become very disappointed in cable network programming.
Recently there have been several lead programming personnel changes and "theme" changes.
They promised better ratings to to their new corporate bosses.....and it's working.
Entertainment sells better than educational TV.

Where I work.....a production company team followed us around with cameras, to make a 7 minute "sizzle reel" ....to sell us as a new reality program.
I spoke with the producer....she said (promised) "We don't do scripted reality shows".
Within 1 hour, they were having us "stage" events, and developing falsehoods in our real characters.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I don't have cable at home. I have had a couple of out of town shows (for my art) and I have spent several nights in motels with cable. I was very disappointed at the shows I tried to watch. Discovery, History, Animal Planet and the Weather channel were all full of reality shows of one type or another. The Weather channel was slightly more interesting. I don't tend to watch a lot of dramas or comedies or movies, so I will keep my money and not order cable.
 

pseacraft

Active Member
TLC and Discovery have lost their way, last I saw History Channel was venturing close to that path too...glad I can no longer watch them. Fortunately, the UFC isn't fake...yet!
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
TLC and Discovery have lost their way, last I saw History Channel was venturing close to that path too...glad I can no longer watch them. Fortunately, the UFC isn't fake...yet!

Dude, History Channel went there REAL bad. They have their show Ancient Aliens, which as the title suggests is total bullshit. I'm currently in a lawsuit with all those channels for the various irony meters they have broken in my house. History Channel, excuse me, THE History Channel (which makes it worse) has various weird reality shows. One of the big ones is American Pickers, which is just Antiques Road Show, but they actually go to your house to buy it. It's OK and has that current historical trend of showing everyday history, but come on, it really is actually Antiques Road Show mixed with Pawn Stars.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
On our trip, my friend kept asking me what station I had on and how did the program have anything to do with History or Discovery.
 

jvnk08

Senior Member.
I haven't seen Witness in a long time, but I was under the impression it was a respectful portrayal of the Amish. Maybe I need to watch it again. I have a lot of respect for the Amish myself. Here is a stupendously interesting read about just how clever the Amish are at solving problems without most conventional technology: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/02/amish_hackers_a.php

I recommend the Science and National Geographic channels if you can get them. The Science Channel does have some silly shows like the aforementioned but I think it balances out with some other cool, more in-depth stuff. Ultimately though I would suggest simply not watching TV for these sorts of things since the paradigm of viewership = advertising revenue is really all that's driving the starved TV production market anymore.

If you're interested in discovering some documentary films, there's a great subreddit dedicated to them. Most of them are links to youtube or other streaming sites where you can watch them online. Whenever I'm in the mood for something along those lines I'll check it out and there's usually something on the front page I'd like to see. If not there is the "top" tab with the most popular submissions in the last day/week/month/year.

http://reddit.com/r/documentaries
 
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Cairenn

Senior Member.
This is sort of sidenote here, but I have lost a lot of respect for Amish over the way they treat their animals. Their horses are sent to the slaughter houses in Canada when they are too old to work. The Amish are well known for their puppy mills also. When a bitch stops being able to have puppies, the lucky ones get shot, the unlucky ones are dumped elsewhere. This is after years of living in a small cage with a wire floor.

The treatment of the horses is representative of a different time. In the 1800s no one would have expected retirement homes for elder horses.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Unfortunately, NatGeo gave in to tinfoil some time ago. Occasionally you can find decent shows, but their once-decent skeptical programs like Is It Real? have been replaced by crap like UFO Chasers. I think people tune in to the network expecting
the National Geographic Society, but in reality it's just the Fox Network Group casting as wide a net as possible. No good can come of that in the long run.

I think the Smithsonian Channel is the only remaining paranormal-free source of decent programming.
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
You hit the nail on the head cosmic. So many channels are making paranormal woo more "valid" by showing it. It's one of those false teach the controversy things, wherein both sides are equal, but in reality ghosts have never been conclusively proven and neither has ESP or other parawoo vs real science.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
I think the Smithsonian Channel is the only remaining paranormal-free source of decent programming.

Unfortunately, I don't get the Smithsonian Channel, but PBS hosts paranormal-free shows like Nova and Frontline.
 
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cosmic

Senior Member.
Unfortunately, I don't get the Smithsonian Channel, but PBS hosts paranormal-free shows like Nova and Frontline.

PBS and its flagship programs are most excellent, I just had network cable in mind when I'd mentioned Smithsonian. You can watch a fair amount of full episodes online (link).
 

scombrid

Senior Member.
I often wonder if it is just pandering to what the average consumer really wants for ratings and ad dollars or if the mega corporate media groups that have bought out the previously independent channels are deliberately trying to legitimize woo and magical thinking in an effort to further stifle critical thinking in the population.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
I often wonder if it is just pandering to what the average consumer really wants for ratings and ad dollars or if the mega corporate media groups that have bought out the previously independent channels are deliberately trying to legitimize woo and magical thinking in an effort to further stifle critical thinking in the population.

I think the former is the more straightforward explanation. Skepticism has typically been a hard sell and is perceived as boring, most viewers prefer comparatively exciting or escapist fantasies even if they're manufactured from pure nonsense. It's also easy to produce since most woo programs really don't require anything extensively new in terms of writing. Even Ancient Aliens is just a regurgitated version of crockumentaries which originally aired on NBC in 1973 (link) and ultimately spawned the series In Search Of...

This is still applicable nearly forty years later:

Full article: NBC Fudges Fact and Fantasy
 

sgirl

New Member
Dude, History Channel went there REAL bad. They have their show Ancient Aliens, which as the title suggests is total bullshit. I'm currently in a lawsuit with all those channels for the various irony meters they have broken in my house. History Channel, excuse me, THE History Channel (which makes it worse) has various weird reality shows. One of the big ones is American Pickers, which is just Antiques Road Show, but they actually go to your house to buy it. It's OK and has that current historical trend of showing everyday history, but come on, it really is actually Antiques Road Show mixed with Pawn Stars.


Ancient aliens isn't bullshit. They have proof! lol
Seriously though the History Channel barely has any actual history on it anymore. How can they even call themselves the History Channel?
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Nice post, Cosmic.
Interestingly enough, Carl Sagan's PBS series "Cosmos" was made at about the same time....
....but didn't air until 1980.
Even Cosmos had it's share of "what if's"....but rounded off the corners with plausible knowns and future unknowns.
I'm not a TV historian, but one could describe a "battle" of sorts beginning to form about that time....a ratings/popularity war between the scientific, and fantastic possibilities.
Perhaps this is what led to the 1988 "Power of Myth" show, by Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell. This show included both explanations...the myth + the historical and political reasons why such myths persisted, and often continue to live and grow.

Art bell started his first "Coast to Coast AM" broadcast in 1988....originally as a call-in political talk show, but slowly developed into what it is now...
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
A thought occurred to me today......I'm guessing that the average person is exposed to more fiction, than non-fiction.
If that's the case, it's not hard to imagine that many people in some way view their entire world as an internal fictional narrative.
I'm brushing lightly over a vast subject here.

Media driven "transference"......."suspension of disbelief"...."cognitive estrangement"...."role-playing"....etc....
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Nice post, Cosmic.

Thanks.

Interestingly enough, Carl Sagan's PBS series "Cosmos" was made at about the same time.... ....but didn't air until 1980.
Even Cosmos had it's share of "what if's"....but rounded off the corners with plausible knowns and future unknowns.

Not only that, but Sagan so exquisitely extolled the virtues of scientific skepticism while drawing viewers into truly awe-inspiring, thought-provoking topics. It's the sort of thing I obviously never would have recognized as a nine-year-old watching the series when it was new -- but I not only appreciate it, I really marvel at it as an adult. If only Demon-Haunted World could have been made into a similar series and presented in such an engaging fashion.

I'm not a TV historian, but one could describe a "battle" of sorts beginning to form about that time....a ratings/popularity war between the scientific, and fantastic possibilities.

Me either, though I feel like science-oriented shows didn't achieve anywhere near the same degree of airtime, at least in anything close to prime-time television. Though, science education programming targeting children increased, especially on PBS and/or independent stations as satellite TV got off the ground, and that was a good thing -- though that's probably just a consequence of targeting an emerging market and unrelated to any specific "battle."
 
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