Monday, August 27, 2012
History Is Back With Its Companion H2
Not only is HIstory Television back it's been rebranded simply as History and there's a new companion channel H2.
The big new Canadian entry to catch is Bomb Hunters which looks at teams of explosive experts who defuse or detonate caches of bombs right across Canada.
Wait a minute here. Did we say bombs in Canada, this peaceful kingdom?
The first hour looks at two hot spots, Wright's Cove in Nova Scotia just outside Halifax and Lac St. Pierre in Quebec.
In Nova Scotia there are perhaps thousands of unexploded World war II bombs that were manufactured for the conflict in Europe and then dumped all over the place at war's end.
In Quebec the lake was used as a shooting target by the Canadian army from 1950 through the Cold War.
As a map indicates thousands of potential unexploded bombs may exist or some may indeed just be rusted parts but a bomb squad has to carefully sift through the area which is increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination.
A "bloody mess" is how one expert in the field sums up his work. Indeed at the lake site one old man talks about how his brother was killed when a buried suddenly bomb went off some 40 years ago at a picnic site.
For every 25 bombs that exploded there may be one stuck in the mud which needs to be detonated. At the Nova Scotian site we get to know disposal expert Steve Donovan who admits he has rarely worked so close to public beaches and housing developments.
"When you do find one your chest sticks out like a rooster."
Working for Gemtec Ltd. he has a been allocated a certain number of days to clear the property and declare the area safe.
As a piece of Canadian history Bomb Hunters is exciting stuff, highly recommended even if it does contain too many faux climaxes conveniently located to herald each commercial break.
By contrast Serial Killer Earth (Tuesday at 10 p.m. on H2) takes a broader vision of history.
These are recent historical disasters --in this day people facing such adversities usually record it as their lives are being threatened.
Like the 2011 tornado at Joplin which was one of the largest ever destroying a large swath of the city and causing over $3 billion in damages.
Some of the folk lie huddled in a refrigerating cooler in a store while one guy uses his cell phone to record the screams and moans.
Or there's the avalanche in northern B.C. started by a young skier who sets it off and is buried alive only to be saved by friends using sensing devices that pinpoint his location --he's freed after 16 minutes under all that heavy snow and still miraculously alive.
The 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean was recorded by one guy looking down from his hotel balcony as others at the resort get washed away --people thought one wave was it and did not realize it's usually the third wave that is largest.
Shark Wranglers (Wednesdays at 10 on History) could be the most exciting of all as American scientists journey to South Africa's Cape Of Good Hope in a bold program to target great white sharks.
Why the urgency? Chinese and Japanese ships are killing the sharks by the millions for soup and so successful are they these ferocious creatures may soon be placed on the endangered species list.
Scenes of the young scientists wrestling with 400 pound sharks to get the tagging devices locked on fins are shot in such a way as to cause wonderment.
I'm not entirely convinced the subject matter belongs on History ( should it not be on National Geographic?) but the execution is so brilliant I'll be watching anyway.
BOMB HUNTERS PREMIERES ON HISTORY MON. AUG. 27 AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***1/2
SERIAL KILLER EARTH PREMIERES ON H2 TUESD. AUG. 28 AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***.
SHARK WRANGLERS PREMIERES ON HISTORY WED. AUG. 29 AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***1/2.