But amidst the standard internet blather, a familiar refrain keeps manifesting, one that I’ve pointed to several times in the words of the Ancient Aliens cast members themselves: a spiritual longing that the aliens serve to fill. Here we have evidence from actual audience members (self-selected though they may be) that this religious impetus is not confined just to television alien speculators looking to fill air time.
I can’t do a lot about those decisions but I can try and reach out and I trust my friends here on Earth feel the same. We are a united planet that has not been told the truth. I have heard the stories of contact between ET and our leaders. I have heard that our leaders kept this from us and that the aliens obliged our leader’s choices. I’ve heard that our leaders are frightened and refused to let go of nuclear technology and in turn have been ignored by the galaxy as a whole. I want to tell you that these are not our choices. We wish to know you, we wish to meet you and we wish to greet you.
I remember when the show first aired I'd stop on it for a minute while channel surfing. I'd dismiss the theories and try to find a more logical explanation for the things they were talking about. TRY being the key word. Then I picked up Von Daniken's book 'Chariot of the Gods.' Then I started paying more attention. Then I watched every episode of season one, two, & three back to back on Netflix. It makes so much sense! It's become an obsession. This f*cking sh*t is the closest thing to religion that a guy like me could ever ask for. it's given me new perspective on everything I encounter in my daily life.
Worse, the audience seems to find a sense of community with ancient astronaut speculators—a community that it formed in opposition to the elites they feel are suppressing creativity and free expression. Consider this comment by a writer who is still upset that in high school, the writer’s science teacher gave a low grade to a paper that cited von Däniken as evidence of alien contact, taking the teacher’s lesson about credibility of sources as part of a conspiracy to suppress free thought and calling his teacher “close-minded.” The writer claims to have “fastidiously researched the subject, reading Von Däniken and other authors with similar views”—blissfully unaware that they are all copying one another, and contemptuous of actual scholarship in the field.
The most refreshing aspect of Ancient Aliens is that the show doesn't feel it's necessary to quote my 10th grade science teacher -- or anyone else who's going to dryly spout "swamp gas," "the planet venus," or "you're all either crazy or just making it up." Instead, the show presents its evidence, and then lets the viewer decide. Each episode features people I consider "old friends" -- George Noory, David Hatcher Childress, Philip Coppens, Robert Bauval, Erich Von Däniken himself, and others I have come to "know" over years of researching this subject. And the title font is reminiscent of the one used in "Battlestar Galactica!"
Obviously, people who choose to write about their love of Ancient Aliens online are a small subset of the overall audience for the show, and the overall population in general, so we can’t extrapolate broader understanding of the show’s audience from this sample. But these are real people who watch this show religiously (in both senses), and it is important evidence for how at least some viewers use and employ what Ancient Aliens teaches to create and re-create their identities and their feelings about their position in society.
Anti-elitism, anti-intellectualism, paranoia, ignorance, fear, faith… these are the forces that swirl around the ancient astronaut theory. They are symptomatic of our age and keep popping up again and again, whether with ancient astronauts, pre-Columbian white visitors, creationism, Freemason conspiracies, or any number of similar claims.