There is no new episode of Ancient Aliens tonight, which is a relief to me, since previous episodes from this season have been nothing but repackaged reruns. It seems that viewers are noticing, since each episode for season seventeen has seen a ratings decline. After hovering around the one million viewer mark, last week’s episode fell to just 810,000 viewers, with only 130,000 in the 18-49 demographic. Slightly more young people actually watched the 12 AM rerun.
Controversy erupted at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology yesterday when Prof. Elizabeth Weiss of San Jose State University delivered a presentation based on her recent book in which she attacked the federal law mandating the return of Native American objects and remains for repatriation and protecting Native graves. According to social media posts after the event, Weiss also attacked Native people as lacking the objectivity to perform archaeology and said they should not participate the scientific study of the past. Weiss is also the wife of Ancient Aliens star Nick Pope, whose show similarly takes a dim view of Native peoples, arguing that they are not-fully-human alien hybrids who only clawed their way up from the dirt with the help of powerful, superior outsiders.
In one of the most depressing developments of the year, Legendary Entertainment, the company behind the so-called MonsterVerse, has announced plans to turn the History Channel series Ancient Aliens into an adventure movie, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter. The film will be developed by Counterbalance Entertainment, the showrunners behind the Cobra Kai revival series.
Tonight, Syfy’s otherwise delightful series Resident Alien is scheduled to air an episode in which Harry (Alan Tudyk) attends a UFO conference and meets Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos. The series has made sometimes unpleasant use of ancient astronaut theory material in framing the backstory for its lead character’s extraterrestrial history as an alien visitor stranded on Earth. However, it is disappointing and somewhat shameful that the show would openly embrace Ancient Aliens, a series that the Southern Poverty Law Center and a number of anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians have decried for its use of racist tropes and Victorian-era arguments born of imperialist and colonialist anti-indigenous narratives.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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