My latest TV addiction: “How The States Got Their Shapes.”

I watch and read a lot of non-fiction. The Discovery Channels are frequently tuned in on my TV because they have so many shows that I love to watch. The History Channel, though, not so much. Mainly because whenever I flip by it it seems like it’s either A) something World War II related most of which I’ve seen already or B) one of the crap shows like Ancient Aliens which lot of these channels, including the Discovery ones, program for the idiots in the audience who buy into that nonsense.

Well, yesterday I flipped by the History Channel and fell into the lap of a marathon showing of How The States Got Their Shapes and I was hooked. Each show has a theme such as “Living on the Edge” and “Mouthing Off” which connects the stories they cover and it’s absolutely fascinating. As an example, to this day there is a dispute between Tennessee and Georgia over where their border happens to be. Here’s a small clip from the show that explains why:

In the episode “Mouthing Off” they don’t cover so much the shape of the States as they are, but as they would be if you were to base them on their regional accents. The first episode, themed “A River Runs Through It”, talks about how water and access to it has defined a number of States. I was surprised at just how much I learned watching this show, which apparently debuted back in the spring and I’m only just finding out about it and I’m hoping they’ll continue the series.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out when it repeats on the History Channel. If you’re anything like me you’ll enjoy it.

4 thoughts on “My latest TV addiction: “How The States Got Their Shapes.”

  1. The History Channel is usually a farce. 90% of their programming relates to pseudo-science and sensationalism. As you alluded to, they often spend entire days on aliens. Or on Nostradamus. Or on ridiculous reality shows; not sure what “ax men” have to do with history. In the past the History Channel was ridiculed for airing too many programs about Hitler and the Nazis, which was a legitimate criticism. But at least that was history; what they do now is almost entirely garbage.

    Even when they do rarely show legitimate, informative programming it will be totally unrelated to history; their series The Universe is perfectly good and legitimate, worth watching. One problem, though: it has nothing to do with history. It belongs on a network focusing on science. That particular series might be an improvement on UFO’s in the Bible, but it still shows no sense of focus.

    Like a broken clock they are sometimes okay, as with this series. Otherwise, as you said, not so much.

  2. Most of the channels that started out to serve a specific target audience have gone the way of programming crap…including crap that has nothing whatsoever to do with the channel’s stated purpose. On History it’s the aliens. On TLC (formerly “The Learning Channel”) it’s reality shows. On A&E (formerly “Arts & Entertainment”) it’s, uh, reality shows. On Bravo (formerly a channel “dedicated to film and the performing arts”) it’s reality shows. On MTV (formerly “Music Television”) it’s goddamn reality shows!

    At least Syfy admitted to no longer being the “Science Fiction Channel” before it started showing fricking wrestling.

    BUT I must say that “How the States Got Their Shapes” is one of my favoritest shows ever.

  3. I like that show too. I especially liked the one about the Georgia/Tennessee border dispute. Being from Tennessee myself, the wife and I decided one day to ride our motorcycles down to Copperhill to go to that restaurant featured in the show that lies across the Tennessee/Georgia line (Patrick’s Pub and Grill). I have to say that the place isn’t nearly as cool as it looked on the TV. It was basically just a greasy spoon with overpriced food. The beer was good though. And, it did give me a bit of a boost to fill up in Tennessee then piss in Georgia (the bathrooms are across the line).

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