“We like to call these Great and Telling Tales because they are,” historian narrator Timothy Dickinson quips quixotically at the head of each vignette.

The History Channel’s first made-for-web series consists of twelve historical tidbits illustrated with a fanciful exuberance that imitates its teller.

Timothy Dickerson, a longtime resident of Georgetown, is an “overflowing fountain of arcane and hilarious stories of true history.”  He makes his living as a freelance “literary advisor,” assisting authors and pundits with their articles and books.  He’s a “raconteur, bon-vivant, advice-giver and expert conversationalist,” and also one hell of a character to headline a web-series.

History Channel comes to the game a bit late, but with fun and freewheeling storytelling done right. It reminds me of a conversation with my grandfather – throw out a topic and timeless commentary littered with esoteric anecdotes flow freely. Drugs. Darwin. Rasputin. Halloween. The Brain. Dinosaurs.

The series also sheds light on another well-told history: old media just can’t quite get it right.  I can’t embed the videos here.  And, if I’m forced to watch the same Oil of Olay advertisement a seventeenth time while browsing the videos for two more minutes, I am going to tear my fu*k!n@ hair out.  Don’t they realize that new media is supposed to be unmonitized. (kidding)

Says Executive Vice President and General Manager of History Nancy Dubuc “Our focus is to ensure the content on History.com is innovative, relevant, and most importantly, fresh, giving viewers the tools to dig deeper into the programs and genres that interest them.”

If I weren’t forced to watch the same boring ad so many times, I’d go back for another twelve.   Great and Telling Tales is a charming series with a dynamic host and outstanding animation. History Channel just needs to trim the hedges of its walled garden so  people will feel invited to watch.

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