Monday, September 7, 2009

The Hysteric Channel

My convalescence has afforded me far too much time to sample some of the offerings of cable television. While I find that I would actually rather be back at my normal duties, if I have to be spending time at home, I would much rather be doing it reading (and I try to)

Unfortunately, I tend to fall asleep after a couple of pages and this makes for a rather laborious literary process. As a consequence, I have at least been trying to watch things that are educational (you know, the Discovery channel, the History Channel, and reruns of NCIS)

I have discovered however, that the History channel is no longer what it used to be. In years past, this offering was often known as the "Hitler Channel", as most of its offerings had to do with the history of World War II and the well documented ravings of the leader of the German people at the time. Today however, it might well be better known as the "Hysteric Channel". 

Acting as an electronic prophet of Armageddon, it seems today that the predominance of their programming is either presenting bizarre interpretations of existing facts (as I write this, there is speculation that aliens might have left us coded messages in the Bible) or predicting the potential end of the world through various planetary disasters as predicted by the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, or the prophecies of Nostradamus. Giant comets or meteors striking the planet, "Son of Krakatoa" or the giant caldera in Yosemite exploding in violent volcanic eruptions, floods, droughts, plagues, and locusts all take their place on the list of things that 'could' or 'might' happen. 

Not to be left out of the propaganda disbursement, we also of course have a smattering of warnings of the potential of either global warming or cooling looming just over the horizon (take your pick, it's still climate change). And if none of those events happen to occur, these guys have covered all the bases, pointing out that in a couple of billion years or so (just a hop and a skip on the galactic calendar) the sun is going to go nova, leaving the earth a burned out cinder. 

Recognizing that these cheery images were not the product of the medication that I am taking, I sought to decipher what meaning might be discovered behind these visions of the Apocalypse on the airwaves. Television from my youth however soon provided a ready answer. 

Aliens have taken control of the History Channel in an effort to scare the living crap out of us (and have a good laugh doing it)

I came upon this simple solution by taking a page out of an old scifi television show popular before cable existed: "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling the transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all you see and hear. We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the "Outer Limits". 

See, mystery solved! Therefore even if the History Channel is correct and the end is near, we can all take heart from the fact that these same aliens will undoubtedly rescue us in the nick of time. And why, you ask? The answer points to an episode of a competing scifi show from these dark ages of television. I refer of course, to the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man". Have a great Holiday...  

In the spirit of full disclosure, it has likewise come to my attention that CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC might be likewise controlled by aliens. (How else do you explain Keith Olbermann?) To date, I have been able to neither prove, nor disprove this theory. 


Maggie Thurber said...

Having grown up with a dad who had every WWII special on tape (back when it was tape and not disc), including the complete WWII On Film set, I find I actually enjoy such shows on The History Channel.

I saw the one about the Yellowstone caldera and found the tracking of the hot spots rather intriguing.

I soaked up the 'end of the world' theories with the Mayan calendar ending on 12-21-2012...

but then, I have always been a sci-fi/fantasty buff and guess I didn't realize these were supposed to be "factual." LOL

But they did provide me with a bit of entertainment when there was nothing else on TV. I mean, really, even though I absolutely love "NCIS" there are only so many times you can watch the same episode over and over again.

p.s. Glad you're getting better!

Tim Higgins said...


I am shocked, shocked I tell you to find out that you do not believe everything that you see on TV (especially The Outer Limits & The Twilight Zone). I thought such skepticism was to be reserved only for the Blade.

As for the rest, I find it difficult to keep a properly positive attitude in the midst of so much doom & gloom.

I'm sure there is more to say, but I have to get back to the NCIS marathon.

Roland Hansen said...

Cable television is far from the quality product that consumers were led to believe it would be when Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and other print media first reported on it in the very early days of cable development.

Now, on the other hand, it is my firmly held belief that the Hysteric Channel, as with the National Enquirer, the onslaught of reality television programming, and the quality of many of our elected officials, is no more out of line than many other aspects of human kind in that they seem to reflect the mindset and mentality of many, if not the majority of, people.

May we all be saved from this horror.

p.s. To Serve Man ---- what about women?

Tim Higgins said...


I never connected the quality of cable and politicians, though it's obvious once you point it out.

As for your comment about the cookbook, without wanting to appear sexist here I must point out that every cookbook has a section on deserts.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Ahh, To Serve Man (the species, not the gender) still is one of my all time favorites.

But then, I had so many favorites back then...

Q. Does anybody remember the "occult" show where the host, a rather handsome looking man, dressed in a business suit introduced each episode and closed the show with some pertinent remarks?

And, no I'm not talking about Rod Serling, he wore dark suits. The guy I'm thinking about always wore lighter jackets, possibly a tweed or a hounds tooth pattern.

As I recall, most of the episodes were either of an occult or unexplained nature...

Tim Higgins said...


The only shows that I can think of are are "Ghost Stories" hosted by Sebastian Cabot, "Tales of the Unexpected" hosted by William Conrad, and of course "Thriller" (don't remember the host if there was one).

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Nope. none of those are it.

I can see the guy in my mind, but I have a mental block on both his name and the name of the show :-(

Roland Hansen said...

Dave The Z, mi amigo,
How about One Step Beyond hosted by John Newland?

OR possibly any of the following:

The Hitchiker, Tales From The Darkside, Amazing Stories, Tales From The Crypt???????

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Nope, too new; I'm thinking 60's or possibly 70's television.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Mi Amigo Roland,

I spent the afternoon searching, as apparently you did also and found (as you did) this:

"Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond,” was hosted by John Newland, "your guide to the supernatural." Newland presented tales which explored paranormal events and various situations that defied logical explanation. Unlike other anthology programmers, this ABC network series episodes were presented in the form of straightforward thirty-minute docudramas, all said to be based on true events.

The trick was finding this Wiki link:

and selecting the correct season.

The original series ran for three seasons on ABC from 1959 to 1961.

I got "lucky" on the first try once I gave up searching under Sci-Fi, Occult, Unexplained, and started looking at the network schedules ;-)

But you beat me to it with your post... :-)

Roland Hansen said...

All I did was to take one step beyond in my quest to be of asistance.

Tim would have never forgiven me, otherwise.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


"All I did was to take one step beyond in my quest to be of assistance."

And I wonder out loud, "Why did I NOT see that one coming?


Tim Higgins said...

Thank goodness that's settled, the last thing that we need around here is another mystery, let alone a scary one in the midst of a lightning storm.