Last night, America Unearthed aired its final episode of its first Travel Channel season, and to promote the broadcast, host Scott Wolter published a conspiratorial blog post with Steve St. Clair, who had appeared in earlier seasons as an expert on the extended Sinclair / St. Clair family of France and Scotland. Wolter’s discussion is full of his usual non-sequiturs and wild speculation, beginning with the temporally unlikely notion that the Knights Templar, who were suppressed in 1307, were still on the run around 1400, when the youngest of the original knights would have been 111: “The final episode is arguably the best in a season of 10 really good shows for it reveals exciting new evidence about the fugitive Templar's (sic) activities in North America circa 1400,” Wolter wrote. Granted, Wolter believes that there was a clandestine continuation of the Knights Templar after 1307, but surely at some point even these fictitious secret agents were no longer “fugitives” from kings and popes a century dead.
On Friday, Ancient Aliens suffered one its worst humiliations in years, falling below the one million viewer mark for a new episode for the first time since its ill-fated one-off Monday airing a while back. Friday’s episode brought in just 876,000 viewers. Its lead-out, The UnXplained, significantly outdrew it with 1.145 million viewers in a timeslot that traditionally sees lower viewer numbers. Both shows, however, had their asses handed to them by the 9 AM showing of preschool favorite Paw Patrol, which was the fourth highest rated show on all of cable that day. My son loves Paw Patrol. Ancient Aliens? Not so much. According to the Nielsen data, the weakness in Ancient Aliens viewership can be attributed to lower than average numbers of people under 34 tuning in to watch. The UnXplained did double the business in that age bracket that Ancient Aliens did. Who knew that William Shatner would be more of a draw for the younger set than Hugh Newman
Friday Roundup: New Alien-Hunting TV Show, a Metamaterials Update, and Malta's Ancient Astronaut Investigation
Because of the historical connection between Hermeticism and fringe history, I occasionally look at some of the latest happenings in Hermeticism, but I will confess to being largely uninterested in magic and mysticism for its own sake. Nevertheless, when I skimmed through the new edition of Giuliano Kremmerz’s The Hermetic Science of Transformation, to be released by Inner Traditions later this year, I was taken by part of translator Fernando Picchi’s foreword to the book. In it, Picchi applies to Hermeticism the same rage against scientific materialism that we have seen in fringe works like Graham Hancock’s books and the Ancient Aliens TV series. Here is his particularly dense verbiage, explicating on the notion that a spirit-based immortal ego—i.e., a soul—resides within us but is denied by science:
Ancient Aliens returned from a one-week hiatus on Friday only to see ratings remain firmly lodged at 1.06 million viewers, hovering around its weekly average. Its lead-out, the debut episode of William Shatner’s new In Search Of knock off The UnXplained, handily outdrew the finale of the show it replaced, Unidentified, and also Ancient Aliens itself with 1.11 million viewers. The oddly consistent ratings for almost literally anything that airs after Ancient Aliens suggests that there is ceiling on the audience for this type of program, and it hovers around 1.2 million people.
Well, I tried. I almost managed to get the time write a blog post for today, but then Spectrum Cable happened. I had to return to the old equipment from my previous house to close out my account, so I went to the local Spectrum Cable store (which is 40 minutes from me, but, sure, "local") right when it opened to return it. The line was already out the door, and I had to wait 45 minutes until a bored customer service rep finally called me up to his podium to have my equipment scanned. It was my first time in a Spectrum store, and it was like a hellish cross between the Apple Store and a backed-up doctor's office 30 minutes before it closes. When I finally got home, I had a backlog of paperwork and problems and spent most of the afternoon on the phone with customer service robots trying to get through to a person. I had ordered living room curtains, and the description claimed that there were two panels per package. When I opened the package, I discovered that there was one curtain per package cut three quarters of the way through to look like two panels when tied back on a window. The "included" valence was just the top of the single split panel folded over the top of the panel. Even the customer service rep at the store I bought it from agreed that it was a deceptive bit of false advertising on the part of the manufacturer. I also had to speak with a claim representative for the moving company about the steps they broke at my old house in the hope of getting compensated for the repair costs. By the time I got through all this, I had a bunch of work dumped on me and ran out of time for writing. I'll be back later today with an Ancient Aliens review, so there is that.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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