I am increasingly unsure whether it is worth regularly reviewing a show that has grown so old and so stale. In past years, the series aired one quarter per year, about thirteen weeks, and it was, if not an event, at least gone long enough to generate renewed interest. But the current 12-month, year-round schedule seems to be taxing audiences, which have declined from nearly two million at the show’s height to under a million today. (It recovered some from series lows in 2019, which bottomed out around 750,000 viewers.) My audience engagement for these reviews has followed the show’s trajectory. My website attracts tens of thousands of readers, but the latest statistics show only 709 people read last week’s Ancient Aliens review over seven days. By contrast, as recently as two years ago, five thousand people read those reviews each week.
There isn’t much to this episode. It’s just repeats of previous episodes, material from 1960s books, and leftovers from creationist texts.
The episode opens with some free advertising for space super-fan Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with the 30-million-page “lunar library” that rode to the moon on one of the company’s missions, containing a full copy of Wikipedia’s English edition and other knowledge. Nova Spivak of the Arch Mission Foundation, a group that used SpaceX to send the lunar library to the moon after Spivak tweeted to Musk, who became excited about the project, says that they were inspired by “retracing the steps of potential ancient astronauts.” I guess that explains why Musk occasionally tweets something about aliens building the pyramids or speculating about UFOs.
Then the show discusses the “London Hammer,” a nineteenth century hammer head embedded in a rock that creationists falsely claimed was 140 million years old. This segment is recycled from a 2017 episode. Acknowledging it is probably mistakenly dated by believers, the show moves on to King Tut’s meteoric iron dagger that the talking heads allege is impossible for Egyptians of the New Kingdom to have worked themselves. Obviously, it is not since it exists, as do other examples of Egyptian iron—something known since the nineteenth century.
A partial repeat segment about a wedge of aluminum alloy found with mammoth bones in Transylvania follows. They claim it is a piece of a landing craft. As I pointed out the last time they ran this segment, it is almost certainly a broken excavator tooth from the equipment used in the excavation.
After a commercial, we get another repeat, this time rehearsing the usual raft of claims about Hindu mythology reflecting aliens flying around in spaceships. Again, as always, the talking heads make no acknowledgement of the shared Indo-European background of various mythologies, or what we can learn about the Proto-Indo-European belief system from comparison. Instead, they treat Hinduism as completely independent and an accurate representation of ancient history. Repeat pieces about Dwarka and a flood that destroyed some pagodas are rehearsed. I remember seeing once before the claim that a natural formation under the waters connecting India to Sri Lanka, known as Rama’s bridge, but I can’t recall if it was actually on Ancient Aliens or just in something inspired by it. It’s been a Hindu nationalist claim for a while, but I never cared enough to make a note of it in my write-ups. It isn’t really worth discussing a glorified sandbar here since it is obviously not an artificial wall built by aliens.
After another break, the show discusses stylized ancient art from Sichuan, China, from a culture known as the Sanxingdui—and recycled from a 2015 episode. The faces are recognizably human, but the show (and a 2007 Chinese news agency article, also discussed in 2015) wondered if they belonged to space aliens. A repeat segment about a turtle-god from Guatemala is spliced in along with some other pieces of ancient art with claims they are all astronauts or pilots in various suits. Lord Pakal’s “rocket” reappears for its twice-annual repetition.
Following the next break, the show discusses, yet again, the Antikythera mechanism, the famous ancient Greek computer, best known for surviving antiquity. Other examples are known from literary sources (e.g., Cicero, De re publica 1.14), but the show pretends as though it is completely without context or precedent. Similar devices were still being made in the Byzantine period. The most interesting part of the segment is seeing that Jason Martell has stopped coloring his hair and now looks like Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula after the vampires nearly killed him.
After another break, the show discusses using synthetic DNA as a mechanism for storing information, a topic they have covered before. The show speculates that aliens may have stored similar information in artifacts, but they provide no evidence that lumps of rocks or bronze include any hidden information.
The final segment has Giorgio Tsoukalos claim that human DNA contains alien messages. Michio Kaku claims that he has scientist friends who are actively searching for secret alien messages in human DNA. The show then repeats claims from the preceding segments before ending.
2/20/2021 08:59:19 am
<< I remember seeing once before the claim that a natural formation under the waters connecting India to Sri Lanka, known as Rama’s bridge ... >>
2/20/2021 09:18:43 am
The search for mediocrity across AA’s decades-long journey is.....depressing. Minow was right when he repeated the phrase that TV really is a vast wasteland. When television is bad, nothing is worse.
2/20/2021 01:26:29 pm
Jason would be the one most in the loop on this, but has there ever been a series in Debunking Ancient Aliens style and format that had anything resembling a successful run? Or is that considered to be a formula for cancellation before episode 3 even hits the screen?
2/20/2021 01:15:11 pm
Of aliens made it here they would have to be far more advanced than we are, correct? If then shouldn’t any technology left behind by them be far more advanced than ours? If we can create the lunar library for future civilizations to find and so so in a way that any advanced civilization can decode it, shouldn’t the aliens have been able to do that same?
2/20/2021 03:08:53 pm
Sending a copy of Wikipedia to the Moon is just stupid, as stupid as sending a Chuck Berry song to who knows where.
2/21/2021 10:47:03 am
Jason Colavito....watching this tripe so you don’t have to.
2/21/2021 10:56:33 am
Wait...did I read that correctly? Creationists believe the hammer head to be 140 million years old? Well, that shoots their “young earth” theory out of the water.
2/21/2021 05:43:09 pm
Not all Creationists believe the world is less than 10,000 years old. Young Earth Creationist are only a subset. I imagine a majority of "regular people" who consider themselves Creationists believe that, but a lot of the so-called "Creation Scientists" realize you can't reconcile scientific evidence with that. Granted even the more nuanced creationist theories are bunk, there are those who have no trouble saying something is hundreds of millions of years old.
2/21/2021 06:29:21 pm
It appears to be only one Creationist, whom even other Creationists consider an idiot. Remember that Latin inscription copied out of a textbook and encased in limestone that Scott Wolter trumpeted? This is that sort of thing.
2/21/2021 12:40:59 pm
How we about the SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELLA from the Vinland Map?
2/21/2021 03:10:28 pm
No it is a fake: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinland_map
2/22/2021 11:40:24 am
Sending Wikipedia to the Moon is one thing I can agree with kent upon. That site is so inaccurate, it would take me months just to correct the celestial cartography sections.
2/22/2021 01:18:26 pm
Anthony bucking for an honorary degree from Trump U ?
2/22/2021 04:40:41 pm
He's already got his M.P.
2/22/2021 05:11:07 pm
Just because Wikipedia has errors doesn’t mean everything on it is wrong. In this case it links to the primary sources debunking the map.
2/23/2021 05:49:01 pm
2/25/2021 10:18:41 am
2/25/2021 06:51:36 pm
2/25/2021 11:12:33 pm
Okay, let's get our business straight:
2/26/2021 12:56:46 pm
you are wasting your time on Anthony there Kent.
2/26/2021 03:37:57 pm
I like to simplify the math: carry the nought, group the variables, apply the chain rule, and the equation reduces to
2/27/2021 06:59:09 am
Keep talking out your ass, kent. All of your questions and concerns have already been answered if you only took the time to look, and test your reading comprehension. Every misstep, mistake, and progress is reported regarding every map, or globe studied. If you start from the very beginning, several distinct patterns start to emerge.
2/27/2021 12:55:26 pm
So you can't account for the real, actual, don't need a cellphone to see it presence of "tara" in Japan?
2/21/2021 04:13:52 pm
How about we not?
2/22/2021 12:45:23 pm
Why does it have to be about money? Why are you so butt-hurt over the concept of free? I would not disrespect Jason Colavito's blog or anyone else's blog for that matter to plug my own book, or try to make a buck. You must have me confused with that EP guy. No one is preaching stone holes, Catholic military orders, or credit card and toothpick tests. We are working with historical documents. These works are owned by various institutions all over the world. With all the various royalties, permissions, copyrights and various whatnots, I'll gladly play the role of sycophant. I don't have the money to hire lawyers to untangle all of that mess. If my alpha does so be it. These institutions are very intrigued with our work. You've got nothing other than I'm sycovyou.
2/22/2021 03:48:46 pm
" Why are you so butt-hurt over the concept of free? I would not disrespect Jason Colavito's blog or anyone else's blog for that matter to plug my own book, or try to make a buck."
2/22/2021 04:59:16 pm
It's not about money, as "$10 a month" plainly says. It's about having your data on a site you control that's not Facebook. Similar to not using OnlyFans to host your resume. The We-Only-Exist-On-Facebook situation shows a lack of professionalism and cries out "Don't take me seriously!" with a double serving of "I can't cope with the internet." Add a side order of using a cell phone for image enhancement and you are left with.... what is Spaceman for Big Pile of Nothing?
2/22/2021 07:56:57 pm
2/23/2021 12:43:33 pm
Oh Anthony. Your M.P. is truly earned and not honorary.
2/23/2021 12:56:14 pm
Other than the fact that America is not even shown on the Anglo-Saxon Mappa Mundi (Cotton World Map) I have no idea what you are on about, Tara was sitting at home watching TV and told me she wasn't living in North America 10 centuries ago.
2/25/2021 01:44:52 am
2/25/2021 01:01:00 pm
"You act like I've pulled a string across the Vinland map and declared it a megalithic yard."
2/27/2021 07:06:02 am
"You use a cell phone to create artifacts from images of maps that you would never get access to. Your track record is one of seeing whatever you want in blobs. This is a case of extreme para iddlyism."
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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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