Negative Review of ‘World War II’ on The History Channel

Hat-tip to CPS, a review of a show that seems someone less believable than Battlestar Gallactica

So it’s pretty standard “shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong” versus “evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide” stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics. The actual strategy of the war is barely any better. Just to give one example, in the Battle of the Bulge, a vastly larger force of Germans surround a small Allied battalion and demand they surrender or be killed. The Allied general sends back a single-word reply: “Nuts!”. The Germans attack, and, miraculously, the tiny Allied force holds them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive and turn the tide of battle. Whoever wrote this episode obviously had never been within a thousand miles of an actual military.

Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy – the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin’ play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Read the whole thing.

4 thoughts on “Negative Review of ‘World War II’ on The History Channel”

  1. “I’m not even going to get into the whole subplot about breaking a secret code (cleverly named “Enigma”, because the writers couldn’t spend more than two seconds thinking up a name for an enigmatic code), the giant superintelligent computer called Colossus (despite this being years before the transistor was even invented), the Soviet strongman whose name means “Man of Steel” in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman “Man of Steel” and the Frenchman “de Gaulle”, whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).”

    Yes, truth is stranger than fiction.

  2. Don’t forget to check out the comments/discussions beneath the post. Some (much? Most? All?) of the comments are at least a decent fraction of as hilarious.

    Here’s one:
    http://squid314.livejournal.com/275614.html?thread=1576094#t1576094
    “So the big head US Army guy in the Pacific Ocean is chased off a couple of islands by the Japanese, and what does he say?

    “I Shall Return!” And, yeah. You can even see the uppercase letters as he’s saying it.

    And over in England, there’s some US reporter who’s standing on a rooftop in London during a nighttime bombing raid by the Germans and he’s doing a live radio report as bombs are dropping all around him.

    Oh, and lets not forget the episode with the heroic PT boat captain whose boat is sheared in half by a Japanese destroyer. The captain then swims to an island, while carrying a wounded crewman, and once he gets TO the island, sends a message to come rescue him to the Navy. Written on a coconut! He then gets elected President and sends men to the moon!

    Really, who ARE these hacks writing the WWII series for History Channel?”

    And another:
    http://squid314.livejournal.com/275614.html?thread=1590942#t1590942
    “Oh, and lets not forget the episode with the heroic PT boat captain whose boat is sheared in half by a Japanese destroyer. The captain then swims to an island, while carrying a wounded crewman, and once he gets TO the island, sends a message to come rescue him to the Navy. Written on a coconut! He then gets elected President and sends men to the moon!

    Actually that was a spin off series, and not a very good one, to boot.

    I mean, the show starts its run with a mature, complicated vice-president who will obviously become president in the second season, except the ratings are poor so they replace him with a younger, hotter, actor and have the character win the white house by winning *one* debate on television. Next, they introduce his hot wife (also played by a young and attractive actress, gotta play to the desired demographics) but to amp up the angst have his character be a horn-dog who sleeps with a hot actress (who can’t act her way out of a paper bag). Finally with ratings still plummeting, they kill off the character in an improbable season finale cliffhanger and don’t cleanly resolve the cliffhanger next season (who is the assassin?!?)

    Then follows several “darker and edgier” seasons (can you be more desperate for ratings?) They also admit their mistakes and rehire the actor who played the vice-president in season one and drop the whole “Vietnam” story line (the US loses? But the war was “vital” how can they afford to lose???).

    Then the show gets its budget cut and they replace the Nixon character with character actors who play Ford and Carter. Finally, you know the shark has been jumped when the new President is a former actor. I mean, how meta can you get? A show about a President who’s a former actor?

    I hear they’re thinking of a reboot with a “16 season plan” focusing on two generations of Clintons and Bushes, although there’s this rumor they’re going to split it up with a storyline about an African American President (with a mid season cliffhanger about him having to prove his US nationality)

    Like anyone would believe *that*!

    There’s also this storyline about a drill well that can’t be shut off. This should be one episode, but early reviews love the character of the BP CEO, (British actors play villains so well) so they may have to extend the story line out another 5-10 episodes.”

    And there’s so much more….

  3. I felt the sequel show “The Korean War” was unnecessary. After some early drama in the first few episodes, it got pretty boring except for the wacky Army Medical Doctors.

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