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History Channel, This Is Why You Can’t Have Nice Things

Sit back and watch as The History Channel squanders the legacy of one of its most prestigious programs.

Chris Queen


July 9, 2013 - 10:00 am
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Hatfields & McCoys

Last May, The History Channel (or, as they like to call themselves these days, History) aired the epic six-hour miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. Boasting such stars as Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton in its cast, the miniseries was bound to attract some attention. What History got was a critical and ratings success.

The critics had largely positive things to say about Hatfields & McCoys. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Hatfields & McCoys transcends the confines of its age by revealing the feud’s posturing, resentments and callous violence that mirror the dynamics of modern urban gangs…” Entertainment Weekly‘s Ken Tucker said, “…overall, Hatfields & McCoys is engrossing, and enlightening about a feud that proves to be a lot more than the bumpkin brawl of pop legend.”

The first night three part movie scored the second-largest ratings for any non-sports program on cable (second only to High School Musical 2 – no joke). The second episode garnered comparable ratings, while the final part did even better, with 14.29 million viewers. The show drew 16 Emmy nominations – a record for The History Channel – winning six, including awards for Costner and costar Tom Berenger.

The miniseries even led to a boom in tourism among the feud’s actual locations in Kentucky, and the film’s success led History to double down on lush reenactments of historical events like this year’s big hit The Bible and the series Vikings.

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All Comments   (4)
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The History Channel may have just created the H&M mini-series as a lead-in to the project really close to their hearts, the reality show.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I enjoy "Moonshiners" on Discovery, and would probably watch H&M:WL, but it should be on Discovery.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My wife wanted to watch "H&McC" on Netflix just last week. She enjoyed it, but I found it unwatchable. Yes, I know it's supposed to be largely historically accurate, etc., etc., but I could not stomach it.

Possibly because I was born in West Virginia, with a long ancestry in the mountains, I found it a gratuitous exhibition of violence and idiocy that is best left dead and buried and long forgotten.

I would imagine it's the same sort of nausea that some North Georgians would endure when forced to watch "Deliverance. "
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One thing to wonder: which came first: the idea for the reality show or the idea for the whiskey? Young "moonshine" style whiskey is having a revival in the liquor world (thanks to shows like Discovery's "Moonshiners"). Lots of small distilleries are springing up claiming historical recipes or ties to old time moonshiners.

So did the producers think that since moonshine is popular, let's try and get a show about that. Or did some descendant of one of the families came up with the show idea to promote their new liquor biz?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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