I hear variations on this theme all the time from readers. Titrating fact and fantasy can give a story a mysterious energy. Writers fetch up those details that sate the senses, allowing us to touch and taste, hear and feel how things were once upon a time. A woman steps out in Gilded Age New York City. Would she wear muslin or silk, petticoats or a hoop of whale baleen? Short kid gloves or long satin ones? How deep is her decolletage? All the particulars, please!
The National Geographic Channel is a little all over the place when it comes to their programming. There's some nature material, there's some fairly sensational reality stuff (Doomsday Preppers, for instance), and there are historical documentaries and, sometimes, historical scripted films.