Discovery Channel Turns Trash
The Discovery Channel used to be one of my favorites. I remember when it actually had interesting, informative shows that I could actually learn something from. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years Discovery has thrown itself into a trash TV caricature. There is nothing worse when formerly interesting, engaging shows give way to fake and tedious dramas about families who build choppers; fisherman who are glorified for doing something at the own risk and for their own profit; psychotic sociopaths who build themselves dooms day bunkers; and grown people carrying out ridiculous experiments which always involve blowing something up in the name if "science"; gun toting maniacs who glorify having guns for the sake of having them; and disturbed swamp dwellers who work in logging.
Plus most of these shows are shown back-to-back in 3-4 hour blocks. There is nothing to learn about in these programs. They are just soap operas for "real men" who enjoy loud motorcycles, tattoos, guns and conspiracy theories. The only show worth mentioning recently has been the series about nature and wildlife at the poles. Not surprisingly these were filmed by Europeans. Discovery USA seems to be trying too hard in showing reality show type shows involving macho men. The Deadliest Catch especially enjoys pointing out what dangerous, "heroic" work those fishermen are doing catching crabs in the Bering Strait. Those men are doing that work of their own free will for lots of money, which does not make them heroes. Providing crabs is not a necessity. If people can't buy crabs, they won't eat them, that simple.
American Chopper is another one that makes my stomach turn. Sr. versus Jr. is a very sad attempt at making a show that deals with building motorcycles into a family drama, replete with trying to show that a big, hairy tattooed man has a heart and feelings for his son. Gut wrenching to be sure, but not in a good way.
Doomsday Bunkers is another fun one. Everyone is macho and gung-ho in this show. They guys making the bunkers look like Mid Western used car salesmen on a golf outing, whilst the buyers are all rich, survivalist meatheads who think that shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars on bunkers and guns will save them from some supposedly inevitable future cataclysm where everyone but them will turn into brain hungry zombies out to take over massive suburban homes with 5 car garages, jacuzzis, and SUVs. Maybe they expect their bunkers to save them in case the world explodes too, as they get hurled into outer space with their families, guns, grenades and 6 month supply of Costco "food". Mark my words, soon enough there'll be a show with people building their own space ships for colonizing other planets as well.
Mythbusters is also an annoying one. Two people that unpleasant to look at should not be on TV anywhere, not even rural Flatfoot, Missouri local access TV. They myths they "bust" are oftentimes myths that they themselves have created. There aren't enough myths to break after a while, so they have a brainstorming session at headquarters to create ones to "bust", like "Is it really true that toothpicks can be used to channel oil directly from Saudi Arabia to your car?" And then they get into some really "cool" experiments that eventually prove that this myth is in fact false. Awesome job guys.
Sons of Guns was another genius idea. Here is a description of some of the episodes from Discover itself:
"Will and the RJ crew resurrect an 82MM Russian mortar, and push its limits going H.E. -high explosive- while testing. Then, tempers flare when Kris has trouble building the new, RJ Desert AR. Also, Ted Nugent stops by for some belt fed, full auto madness."
"Will and the RJ crew create a muscled up, silenced, night stalking AR to take down the wild hogs that are tearing up Louisiana farm land. Also, Charlie scores big when he finds rare, pinfire ammo for a 150-year-old, $7500, 20-round French revolver."
"In this explosive season finale, Will, Steph and Kris head to Vegas to demo the Red Jacket Desert AR - an American gun built to challenge the AK during all-conditions desert warfare. Then, everyone is stunned when Red Jacket loses a valued member."
Does any of this sound interesting? Ted Nugent stops by for "full auto madness"? That will be educational, no doubt.
So my point is that there is nothing new to discover on Discovery Channel anymore. It has become reality trash TV with a slap-dash veneer of being interesting and educational. Their target audience seems to have turned towards red necks with 99% of their programming, and their old audience in 1% of their programming. It's a shame that they have lost their unique edge and have decided to try to ride the reality TV wave in an attempt to stay current. Once the reality and trash TV bubble bursts - if it ever will - the channel will either have to go back to its roots or go under.