Ok, time for my twisted sense of humor to show up again.
If I were in the “biz” and had an audience with the History (Channel), here’s ten shows I’d propose:
1. Hot for Civil War Books – Have Marina over at Hot for Words (no really, that link is safe for work! I think….) review new offerings in the field of study. Sure to draw the 16 to 30 year old male audience!
2. Trading Commanders – Taking the visitor back in time, we switch the heads of two major armies on campaign, just to mix things up a bit. In the pilot episode, William T. Sherman attempts to put out fires (both real and political) while leading the Army of Tennessee. Meanwhile J.E. Johnston is confused. He’s got complete support of his superiors and a well supplied army, with nothing close to an excuse for NOT giving battle!
3. NED – In line with a Sasha Baron-Cohen production, follow a very nerdy and annoying post-graduate student who pesters history professors around the country. In the pilot, we’ll have Ned confront James M. McPherson about side burns and Burnsides.
4. The Book Pitch – Reality show following an aspiring author in his quest to publish a book. Sort of a daily video blog walking us through the process, following the wheeling and dealing, pitching and wooing to publishers… all in the quest to get his book “Lincoln’s Privies: Places where Lincoln Relieved Himself” published. Hey, who says we don’t need another Lincoln book?
5. Extreme Makeover: Reenactor Edition – Selecting the most inaccurate (“farby” is the word) reenactor at an event, the show has ultra authentics (people who would put Rob Hodge to shame) revamp the “subject”, improving his (or her) impression. By the end of the show, the subject has to galvanize and point out “farbiness” with his old mess-mates. SPECIAL *** season finale *** All previous contestants must attend an immersion event (that means they live in the woods like the soldiers, not that they get dunked in water), and survive in a simulated battle…. sort of a “Survivor Man” take. Last ten minutes of the show is one whale of a skirmish!
6. The “Internship” – Follow a team of graduate students assigned to a project involving archival research for a public history display (i.e. an interpretive kiosk, or such). The team would gain approval from libraries and archives for use of materials and photographs; Work with sponsoring organizations to coordinate the presentation; Deal with offended groups who oppose the presentation; and, Fight with general contractors erecting the kiosks or waysides. At the end of the program, the work is reviewed by a board of eminent historians, chaired by Ed Bearss. One of the team, of course, will be voted out by the board. Close your eyes and imagine the tension in the air – “The Origins of Shu-fly Pie was the best you had? Off you go then!”
7. Historic Viewshed Restoration Loggers – Follow the logging team through as they clear a tree line to restore the ground to the historic look. First episodes at Gettysburg and Manassas. The team will build up to a massive clearing operation at Chantilly or Franklin at which special guest “Snort” the steam roller will assist with clearing office complexes!!!!
8. Seven Degrees of Relations – Host Harry Smeltzer walks us through connections between notable Civil War era figures and teen stars of today. In the opening episode, he’ll show how Miley Cyrus is related by marriage to Stonewall Jackson, in seven generations or less. I hear he’s having difficulty sorting through all those East Kentucky family relations though!
9. Desperate Generals – A docu-drama of sorts. Follow the commanders of the Army of the Potomac through the first three years of the war. Guaranteed to keep you glued to your recliner (snore…) with intrigue and plot twists. Watch as catty infighting paralyzes an army in the field.
10. History Theater 3000 – A team of crazy bloggers, shown below the screen in silhouette, are forced to watch bad Civil War portrayals in documentaries and movies, providing pithy comments and dialog. I’ve got dibbs on the “bubble gum machine” robot! First episode…. that terrible Gettysburg Documentary the Military Channel ran earlier this year.
I know…. I know… .don’t quit the day job!