The History Channel
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
8-10pm -- Ben Franklin - Meet Dr. Benjamin Franklin--a far more complex figure than the squeaky-clean, larger than life Founding Father whose grandfatherly visage graces the hundred dollar bill. Inventor, politician, writer, businessman, scientist, diplomat--that, of course, is the mythic, legendary Ben Franklin. But it's not the only Ben Franklin. Photographed largely on location in Philadelphia in High Definition, and featuring in-depth interviews with biographers and historians, as well as liberal doses of Franklin's own, often humorous observations, the special allows viewers to "walk" in Franklin's footsteps. In this vivid portrait, we meet an earthy, brilliant, and flawed Franklin that one biographer believes would feel right at home in today's world.
Friday, January 20, 2006
7-8pm -- Modern Marvels - Death Devices. The hangman, guillotine, gas chamber, firing squad, and electric chair are just a few of the ways in which societies have rid themselves of those who committed capital crimes. And throughout history, a select few have developed the devices that have carried out the mandate of the people. This is the dark story of those inventors and the macabre history of execution mechanics--from the first "stone" of antiquity, the dungeons of the Inquisition, and Nazi death camps to today's sterile injection chambers--with a peek at the future of death technology.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
10-11pm -- Decoding The Past - The Templar Code: Crusade of Secrecy. For nearly two centuries, the Knights Templar were the medieval world's most powerful order, a fearsome and unstoppable Crusader militia. Then came accusations of unspeakable crimes. Who were the Templars, really? How did they become so powerful, so fast, and why did they fall just as quickly? Evidence hints that the Templars excavated under Jerusalem's Temple of Solomon. What did they find there? Was it, as The Da Vinci Code suggests, the true identity of the Holy Grail--the bloodline of Christ? Or an unimaginable treasure, documented in the Dead Sea Scrolls, buried 1,000 years before Christ's birth? We explore the Templar's origin, how they lived, trained, fought and became a medieval world power, and the suspicious circumstances behind their sudden downfall. Narrated by Ed Herrmann and featuring preeminent Templar authors.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
9-10pm -- Decoding The Past - Secret Societies. Some of the world's most powerful individuals belong to secret organizations. The Skull & Bones, the Bilderbergs, and the Tri-Lateral Commission are just a few of the groups that many suspect are conspiring to take over the world. Others believe they already have. What fuels such rampant conspiracy paranoia? We examine a number of these clandestine organizations, past and present, and reveal why so many people fear their nefarious agendas.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
7-8pm -- Digging for the Truth - The Real Temple of Doom. Thousands of years before the Inca ruled the nation now called Peru, a strange and unique civilization dominated the region. It was called Chavin, and its story is one of the most bizarre in history. Unlike the other civilizations of the Americas, Chavin's status as a regional superpower wasn't based on its military muscle. Instead, the rulers of Chavin exercised a cult-like control over their subjects with the aid of hallucinogenic plants. Josh Bernstein ventures deep into the miles of tunnels beneath the ruins of Chavin de Huantar, comes face to face with some of the most fearsome animals of the Peruvian Amazon, and investigates a real temple of doom. As he tries to understand this mysterious culture, he takes part in one of the ancient rituals still practiced by the country's powerful shaman-priests.
8-10pm -- The Real Tomb Hunters: Snakes, Curses, and Booby Traps - Fighting Nazis; grabbing golden treasure; fleeing angry natives; dodging pitfalls in a booby-trapped temple--we all know how fictional explorers and archaeologists spend their days. But does real life compare? We follow some of the most daring archaeologists and take on the dangers they face--Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass steps into a booby-trapped tomb; American Arthur Demarest fights looters in the jungles of Cancuen; and in Chiapas, angry villagers kidnap Australian-born Peter Mathews. We also examine stories of past explorers who helped shape the "Indiana Jones" stereotype--paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews battled venomous snakes and Mongol bandits in the Gobi Desert; John Pendlebury, the British archaeologist, fought Nazis on Crete; and Sylvanus Morely, who was the first American archaeologist/spy. There are no special effects, no stuntmen, and no retakes...and for these real-life archaeologists, no guarantee they'll survive for a sequel.
10-12am -- Cannibals - Steeped in controversy, human cannibalism both fascinates and repulses. Many anthropologists argue that cannibalism is an instinctive part of human nature; that it was an institution in many ancient cultures; that people will turn to cannibalism without reservation in a survival situation; and that our very bones are imprinted with evidence that we are creatures who eat our own. Other experts vehemently disagree, questioning eyewitness accounts and taking issue with what archaeologists claim is hard scientific evidence. This 2-hour special gets to the heart of the debate by investigating both well-known and little-known scenarios in which humans may have resorted to eating other humans.
Monday, January 30, 2006
9-10pm -- Digging for the Truth - America's Pyramids. In 1539, Hernando de Soto's Conquistadors landed in Florida in search of new lands and treasure for the Spanish Crown. Three years later, they were run off the continent by Native American warriors that lived on enormous, earthen pyramids along the Mississippi River. Who were these people? And how did they defeat one of the world's most powerful armies? Follow Josh Bernstein as he paddles down the bayous; builds his own earthen pyramid with modern equipment; and scuba-dives the cold, dark waters of Wisconsin to solve the mystery of America's pyramid builders.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
8-9pm -- Death Detectives: The LA County Coroner - A week in the life of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office--where a Latin inscription on the wall proclaims: "Let conversation cease. Let laughter flee. This is the place where death delights to help the living." Our hand-held, tight-focus camera peers over the medical examiner's shoulder as he works on the victims of drug overdoses, gang violence, and suicide. As we literally live with death, viewers learn that dead bodies have much to teach.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
10-10:30pm -- Criss Angel MindFreak - 14 - Criss Angel Trying to prove which person is crazier, Criss and his comedy magician good friend, the Amazing Jonathan decide to play the ultimate game of chicken. Their rivalry begins with a small paintball game and an electric shock face off. Criss ups the ante daring Amazing Jonathan to hit him with a car. Criss trains with Mark Chadwick to learn how to deflect the impact of a car. The competition culminates with Criss standing in front of a brick wall as Amazing Jonathan revs his engine. After one false run, Amazing Jonathan barrels into Criss pushing through the brick wall. In this episode, Criss also performs a knife test in a sushi bar that could end his career.
10:30-11pm -- Criss Angel MindFreak - 06 - Buried Alive With the help of rocker and director Rob Zombie, Criss reenacts his own funeral and attempts one of the most dangerous escape stunts in magic history. The "Buried Alive" demonstration proved fatal for "The Amazing Joe Burras" a magician from Fresno, CA. The stunt was successfully done by Banachek and Lance Burton who both are helping Criss put his own twist on this dangerous exercise. Rob Zombie will manacle Criss into a coffin and help lower him six feet under, on the Santa Clarita haunted house set of Rob's latest film Devil's Rejects in front of a viewing audience. Criss's grave is then filled with earth. With little oxygen and even less time Criss must escape death and slither out of solid ground.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
10-10:30pm -- Criss Angel MindFreak - 01 - Burned Alive Facing one of our biggest fears, Criss attempts to be burned alive. With the assistance of Hollywood special FX wizard and "burn master" Mark Chadwick, Criss sets up a spectacular stunt where he is set ablaze two different times. First a partial body burn test by the Aladdin Hotel pool in Las Vegas, that lasts over 20 seconds. Then a full 46 sec. body burn with no hands or face protection that shoots 20 ft. flames off Criss at temperatures above 1500 degrees in front of a huge crowd on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas.
10:30-11pm -- Criss Angel MindFreak - 05 - Body Suspension Master Piercer Alan Falkner is flown to Las Vegas to help Criss practice a mind over body demonstration of unique proportions. Despite warnings of wind and potential death, Criss demands to be suspended from a helicopter strung up by fishhooks through the skin of his back and limbs and then flown over the surreal canyons and rock formation of the beautiful Valley of Fire, 90 min. North of Las Vegas.
The Biography Channel
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
10-11pm -- Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters - Alfred Hitchcock. Gail and Chris experience what could be their scariest moment so far in the séance room of the Winchester Mystery House in Santa Cruz--a spectacular sprawling mansion whose owner kept an army of carpenters working day and night for 38 years and claimed her design plans were dictated by the spirits themselves. Then Chris is taken over by a mysterious and forceful spirit and is so distressed as he writhes about that Gail fears for his very sanity and the crew has to intervene to save him. And remember the creepy old schoolhouse from The Birds? Gail and Chris won't forget it in a hurry, after the weird goings-on they encountered there. Finally, deep beneath a San Francisco hotel that featured in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Vertigo, Gail inches into a dark, forbidding tunnel. Could the ghost of the corpulent film director really have squeezed himself into such a confined space? And if not, just what is it that scares Gail so much?
Thursday, January 19, 2006
10-11pm -- Enigma - Exorcising the Devil Belief in evil spirits spans time and crosses centuries, and just as old and universal is the cure for possession. In Catholicism, exorcism dates back to Christ's expulsions of the devil. The "Roman Ritual" dating from 1614 remained unchanged until 1999. Witness actual exorcisms, and learn why they are now increasing.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
10-11pm -- Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters - Mae West. Mae West was a show-off--a sensational showgirl whose wit was as legendary as her contempt for the censors. But she also had a passion for the paranormal that saw her take part in séance after séance. Where better, then, to search for her spirit than in New York, the city where she made her name, earned her fortune, and was jailed for upsetting the authorities with her unashamedly brash stage play Sex? Our hunt for Mae takes us to a haunted mansion in the middle of New York City, and a house in the middle of nowhere built by a man who believed spirits gave him instructions and stood over him as he hammered in every nail. Visiting the places in which Mae lived and worked during her colorful career, we try to coax the far-from shrinking violet into the limelight for one last performance...or will she ask us to come up and see her some time?
History Channel International
Sunday, January 15, 2006
7:30-8pm -- Almanac - Conquest: Early Firearms. You slam a lit match into a pan of gunpowder, six inches from your face, sending a lead ball with the diameter of a quarter hurtling toward your enemy--while he fires back at you! In the blaze of heat and blinding smoke, it's easy to see how early gun battles could easily turn disastrous. Peter Woodward teaches the Conquest Team the proper methods of loading and firing the Matchlock Rifle, the Flintlock Rifle, and the Kentucky Rifle.
8-9pm -- Military History Channel - The Weapons That Made Britain: The Longbow. Medieval weapons expert Mike Loades trains people how to fight authentically with ancient arms and armor. One of Hollywood's foremost historical fight stunt arrangers, in this series, he illustrates the great advances in fighting technology that underpinned British medieval history and goes to the historical record to see how the weapons were really used. In this episode, Mike focuses on the longbow, and especially its use at the Battle of Crecy during the Hundred Years' War. English King Edward III laid claim to the French crown, and in 1346 sailed with a massive invasion force to France. In his army of 14,000 men were 7,500 archers; and Crecy proved the greatest test of nerve and skill the longbowmen had ever faced when they stood against the full might of the French armored cavalry. And bowyer Chris Boynton makes a reflexed bow like the ones found on Henry VIII's sunken flagship, the Mary Rose.
Monday, January 16, 2006
8-9pm -- Almanac - The Master: Masamune--Samurai Sword Master. The greatest Samurai swordsmith of all time was the 13th-century master Masamune. We examine the master's rare and valuable swords and watch the creation of a new sword by modern master Yoshimitsu Ono through each amazing stage of the intricate and lengthy process of swordmaking. To fully appreciate the deadly beauty of the Samurai sword we also witness the thrilling spectacle of martial arts experts wielding these razor-sharp swords today.
9-10pm -- Ancient Almanac - The Greatest Pharaohs, Part 2. A visit to the newly opened pyramid complex of the Pharaoh Snefru and the ancient burial ground of Abydos.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
10-11pm -- History Traveler - Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt. Think of Ancient Egypt and you think of the great Pyramids of Giza--but these incredible structures are not the only treasures left to us by a truly remarkable civilization. We'll visit, explore, and restore such wonders as the Temples at Al Karnak and Luxor, the Temple at Abu Simnel, and the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. Featuring new location footage, stylish periodreconstruction, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation sequences, and interpretation and analysis by leading authorities, including Dr. Dominic Monserrat of Warwick University, Professor John Baines of the Oriental Faculty, Oxford, Egyptologist Peter Clayton, and Professor G.A. Gaballa, Cairo University.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
8-8:30pm -- Secrets of Archaeology - Secrets of Archaeology: The Cities of the Pharaohs. Perhaps no person in the history of mankind has wielded more power than a pharaoh in ancient Egypt. The pharaohs ruled the population with an iron hand and were worshipped as direct descendents of the Sun God. They were considered immortal, capable of subduing the forces of nature and of laying down a challenge to the centuries. A challenge that was taken up and won by the pharaohs' magnificent tombs and the sacred temples erected in honor of the gods. We visit the sanctuaries of Karnak and Luxor and explore the temples, residences, shops, and streets of ancient cities such as Memphis and Thebes.
8:30-9pm -- Secrets of Archaeology - Secrets of Archaeology: The Pyramids of the Sun. Aztec civilization reached its height in the early 16th century. Explore the capital of their empire, Tenochtitlán, home to elaborate sacred temples that sit atop gigantic stepped pyramids. Witness the majesty of this warrior culture that has been unearthed by preeminent archaeologists below what is modern-day Mexico City. Take a virtual walking tour, right along with Aztec citizens, as our state-of the-art technology coupled with enhanced 3-D graphics allow us to see the ancient sites as only the original inhabitants could.
9-10pm -- History Explorer - The Tower: Treasure House. In an priceless series about the Tower of London's variegated uses, we recall its service as England's treasure house and home to the Crown Jewels. For the first time on TV, the Crown Jeweler talks about his work. We also learn the astonishing stories of the Cullinan Diamond, the world's largest, and George IV's Coronation Crown that once held over 12,000 diamonds. The Tower, a safe house for royal jewels until Colonel Thomas Blood stole them, became his home after capture until he was pardoned!
10-10:30pm -- History Explorer - Meet the Ancestors: Bones in the Barnyard. A British developer's hopes of turning a small farm in the Somerset village of Bleadon into a housing scheme burst when an archaeological survey reveals the crouched remains of a prehistoric man and woman. Bone specialist Dr. Simon Mays discovers the man was arthritic and in his 50s. Meanwhile, to the horror of host/archaeologist Julian Richards, the skull shatters as it's coaxed from the grave--but medical artist Richard Neave reconstructs it. Seed expert Vanessa Straker examines the grain, oats, and chaff found at the site, and a study of horse skulls and fetal lamb bones lends weight to the theory that this is a 3,000-year-old Iron Age farmstead. Carbon-dating of human bone provides confirmation that the couple was from the Iron Age. We invite village members, many of whom have lived in Bleadon for generations, to provide blood samples so that DNA expert Erika Hegelberg can see if the Iron Age farmers have living relatives in the area.
10:30-11pm -- History Explorer - Meet the Ancestors: Warrior. Archaeologist Julian Richards travels to the USAF base at Lakenheath in Suffolk, England, where an important discovery has been unearthed--an Anglo Saxon warrior's grave. Jo Caruth and a team from the Suffolk Archaeological Unit prepare to remove the bones and artifacts from a circular ditch near an old baseball field. The huge grave contains the skeleton of an ancient warrior and his horse. Inside the coffin, they find a sword, shield, and spear, and on the horse, they find the remains of a beautifully decorated bridle. The bronze bridle fittings were decorated with gilt and silver leaf, the iron shield was fitted with silver rivets, and the pattern-welded sword is an example of the age's finest workmanship. As the excavation draws to a close, Jo Caruth notices something unusual. Encircling the warrior's remains are the graves of a number of children--some buried with full-size weapons. Perhaps this mighty warrior was charged with protecting his people even after death.
Friday, January 20, 2006
10-11pm -- History Viewpoint - Kings and Beasts. For over 600 years, England's Kings and Queens held lions and tigers and bears, as well as other wild beasts, captive in the Tower of London. Enter the lions' den as we excavate the Royal Menagerie, Britain's longest-running zoo. Oh, my!
Sunday, January 22, 2006
7:30-8pm -- Almanac - Conquest: Knight in Armor. Actor and fight master Peter Woodward returns to the days of chivalry to find out why personal armor developed--from horn and linen to chain mail to full plate. We visit an armorer's workshop to see how it was made, and our expert team tries on various types, including the classic medieval plate armor, to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and tests fighting techniques with various knightly armor-piercing weapons. Then, we put the armored knight in his proper place--mounted on a charger!
8-9pm -- Military History Channel - The Weapons That Made Britain: The Lance. Medieval weapons expert and Hollywood historical fight stunt arranger Mike Loades trains people how to fight with ancient arms and armor as authentically as possible. In this series, he puts to the test weapons that helped forge British history and finds out how effective they were in the heat of battle. The spear--in essence little more than a sharpened stick--is one of the world's oldest and simplest weapons. Yet it played an important role in many of England's more crucial battles. The medieval arms race transformed this straightforward weapon from infantry spear into the lance of the mounted knight. Mike explores how the spear went full circle--from infantry weapon to cavalry weapon and back to infantry again in just 300 years. In time, the lance survived only in the joust. The knight in shining armor became an anachronism, a warrior whose world the spear created and then brought crashing down.
Monday, January 23, 2006
7-8pm -- Military History Channel - Foot Soldier: The Medieval Soldier. Saga of the simple men who fought in the feudal wars of the Middle Ages. They lived by the rules of chivalry, fought hand-to-hand, and died by the sword or arrow. Richard Karn hosts.
8-9pm -- Almanac - The Master: James of St. George--Master of Castles. The castles built by French-born master builder James of St. George in the 13th century have survived intact for more than seven centuries. Commissioned by English King Edward I, to seal the conquest of Wales, they each required over 3,000 craftsmen to construct. By examining ancient techniques of quarrying and building, and also touring the castles themselves, we understand the magnitude of the task facing Master James, and the brilliance of his designs.
9-10pm -- Ancient Almanac - The Greatest Pharaohs, Part 3. Akhenaten the Heretic King and Queen Nefertiti rock Egypt to its foundations, and King Seti the First wages brilliant military campaigns against Egypt's enemies.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
7-8pm -- Military History Channel - Foot Soldier: The Egyptians. Host Richard Karn looks at history's first organized fighting force. The ancient Egyptians marched across the Middle East, brought home booty to the pharaohs, and fought a great battle against the dreaded Sea People.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
7-8pm -- Military History Channel - Foot Soldier: The Romans. Host Richard Karn looks at the Roman legionnaires, who conquered and dominated most of the known world for 500 years, and left behind a legacy of language, culture, architecture, and government.
8-8:30pm -- Secrets of Archaeology - Secrets of Archaeology: Travels through Greece. By the 2nd century AD, Greece had long been steeped in myth, tradition, and a rich history that made it a major tourist destination even then. In this episode, we travel with a Roman senator as he journeys to artistic and cultural treasures of Greece, including Corinth's welcoming agora (the center of civic activity), the acoustically perfect Theater at Epidaurus, and the famous sporting competitions and chariot races of Olympia, as well as its majestic Temple of Zeus. Experience the cutting edge of archaeological exploration as we explore these celebrated ancient sites and see them as only the original inhabitants could.
8:30-9pm -- History Explorer - Secrets of Archaeology: Greek Legacy in the West. During the 4th century BC, Sicily, once a stopping point for the seagoing Phoenicians, became the "new Greece" of the west. Our journey takes us to the various cultural centers that dotted the island, such as Syracuse, Agrigento (with the exquisite Valley of the Temples), and Selinus (modern-day Selenunte). Our trip highlights the theater in Syracuse, visits the Villa del Casale and Villa Filosofiana, both with typical Roman mosaics, and Agrigento with its numerous temples possibly built by Theron's slaves. Features 3D graphics to illustrate Syracuse's theater, the Temple of Concordia at Agrigento, and the temples at Selinus.
9-10pm -- History Explorer - The Tower: The Tower at War. Join us for a look at Britain's most popular historic attraction, Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, and its wartime history. In fact, a spy was executed at the Tower of London in 1941, during one of its bloodiest periods in history--WWII. Former prisoners, German U-boat men Kurt Grosser and Willi Jacob rediscover their old cells, and Canadian Ken Izatt comes in search of his ancestor Walter Izatt-supposedly executed at the Tower after trying to assassinate Oliver Cromwell.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
7-8pm -- Military History Channel - Foot Soldier: The Greeks. Story of the brave Greek warriors who adorned themselves in gold, fought under Alexander the Great, and became a virtually unstoppable ancient war machine. Host Richard Karn.
Friday, January 27, 2006
8:30-9pm -- History Viewpoint - What the Romans Did for Us: Ahead of Their Time. Adam Hart-Davis rediscovers the innovations and inventions the Romans brought to Britain. In Roman times, 176 days a year were public holidays. Adam looks at the entertainment that the Romans laid on to keep the citizens of the Empire content including the Hydraulis--the first ever keyboard instrument. He also tries out an automaton--a forerunner of today's robots. Adam discovers drawings for some farsighted ideas and recreates an inflatable portable bridge--similar to those used today by rescue services. But, as we see, the most lasting innovations were in the buildings--the Romans introduced concrete that has survived 2,000 years!
Monday, January 30, 2006
7-8pm -- Arms in Action - Arms in Action: Castles and Sieges. From the Iron Ages to the first Gulf War, sieges played an enormous role in warfare. We'll visit some of England's castles, including the 4,000- year-old Maiden Castle, and experiment with tools used to bring down castle and town walls like the trebuchet, a giant sling over 50 feet in height. From the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London.
8-9pm -- Almanac - The Master: Konrad Seusenhofer--Master Armourer. The toughest and lightest suits of armor, as well as the most beautiful, were those created by German-born Konrad Seusenhofer at the beginning of the 16th century for his patron, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. By following the creation of a suit of armor today, made by one of England's leading armor-makers, Master Emrys, we appreciate the enormous skill that went into both the shaping of the armor and the treatment of the steel. And modern-day combat experts put the armor to the test.
9-10pm -- Ancient Almanac - The Greatest Pharaohs, Part 4 Cleopatra uses her cunning mix of politics and seduction in a desperate bid to maintain her power, but fails.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
7-8pm -- Arms in Action - Arms in Action: Slings and Spears. Produced in partnership with England's Royal Armouries located in the Tower of London, this series action-tests weapons and armor through the ages. We construct an ancient slingshot and see why it survives as a street-fighting weapon in the Middle East, and follow the unbroken history of the spear from mere stick to Roman pilium to bayonet.