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Review: History Channel’s “History Hacker”

   Posted by: Avaril   in Tech, Television

Ever since the ‘Mythbusterification’ of reality science TV, History Channel has been scrambling for its piece of the metaphorical pie (mmm, metaphorical pie).  There has been misses, such as Combat (which I kind of liked), and the more recent Surviving History (which is condescending and stupid).  So, what is this new series like?  Check it out after the break.

History Hacker is hosted by the deserving Bre Pettis, well known to the readers of Make magazine.  He definitely has the chops to host such a program, with his scratch-building prowess rivaling that of Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters fame.

Onscreen, Bre comes across as somewhat of a mix of the retro-cool of Elvis Costello, and the outsider geekiness of Napoleon Dynamite.  More importantly, he definitely shows up as knowledgeable.  The first episode covered the rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nicola Tessla.  Bre enhanced the history lesson by first turning his bicycle into a generator, then making his own neon tubes, and finally exploring wireless electricity.

The hardest part of the show to stomach was the constant effort to make Bre and everything he touches look cool.  I’m sure it was some producer’s idea somewhere, that “these kids nowadays need to be spoon fed what is hip”, but it comes across as a Poochie-like attempt.  Bre is a geek.  Let him be a geek.  Don’t make him utter phrases like “check this!” or anything else equally cheesy.  Geek is cool now, just let him be.

The pilot episode, overall, was watchable and fun.  Here’s hoping that History is able to put Bre to work making more.  If you saw it, and want more episodes, Bre has instructions for telling History about it on his blog.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 10:33 pm and is filed under Tech, Television. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment


I’ve heard of this ‘TV’ you mention. Apparently it’s a primitive, non-interactive form of the Internet.

Like the new theme, BTW.

October 6th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

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