Rick Moran

Jack Bauer’s Loneley Crusade Continues

2010 January 18

Jack is back! The eighth season of 24 got underway last night and promises the usual chills and thrills for fans of the long running drama.

But it is the character of Jack Bauer that fascinates us – has fascinated America – in that the changes undergone by Bauer in the previous seven incarnations of the show have mirrored our own conflicts and doubts that have arisen since the debut of the show a few weeks before 9/11/01. read more…

Of Ax Men and Astro Babes: The Decline of the History Channel, Part 2

2010 January 9

Read Part 1 of this essay here

But it is the historical documentary that has drawn us to History over the years and the general excellence of these all too infrequent programs causes the buff to ask why more of this kind of intelligent, high quality fare can’t be produced. For instance, the recentWorld War II in HD transcended its documentary format and became history itself. Years in the making, the film makers lovingly crafted 10 hours of gripping, and entertaining full color home movies, archived military footage, and period stills from thousands of submissions into a not to be forgotten mix of pride, patriotism, and pathos – all in glorious HD.

It is unrealistic to expect such excellence on a nightly or even weekly basis. But History has shown in the past that the long form documentary not only makes for compelling TV but also is able to gather an audience. Film maker Ken Burns has been quite successful in weaving stories and pictures into a seamless tapestry that is both achingly beautiful and a treat for the mind. read more…

Of Ax Men and Astro Babes: The Decline of the History Channel, Part 1

2010 January 8

The network formerly known as The History Channel has come a long way from its start up back in 1995. At that time, there were questions about how big an audience there would be for a network that dealt with a subject most Americans find irrelevant or boring.

They needn’t have worried. Now dubbed simply History, the Arts and Entertainment network offshoot regularly outperforms its flagship channel and is poised to improve upon its top ten ranking in the all important 25-54 age group this year with a mix of reality TV, first class documentaries, and audience grabbing psuedo-history programming on everything from UFO’s to the coming “Apocalypse” in 2012.

But the question in my mind, and one that should concern those of us who love history and revere the past, is how far afield the network can wander from its roots and still hold its base audience of history nuts? read more…

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