This week, Giorgio Tsoukalos found a new way to try to rewrite history. In a tweet Wednesday, he attempted to explain that Ancient Aliens was not simply a show about the ancient astronaut theory. Instead, he claimed that “aliens” encompassed any otherworldly intelligence. Therefore, the “ethereal” counted as aliens as much as the entities riding in “nuts and bolts” tin cans. It was, at heart, a concession that Ancient Aliens wasn’t a show about corporeal beings from other planets but instead was a type of neopagan religious exercise in hunting for a polytheistic pantheon of pagan gods.
This was nonsense, of course. Ancient Aliens began as a nuts-and-bolts adaptation of Chariots of the Gods and only gradually became spiritual when it ran out of (fake) evidence for physical entities. Indeed, Prometheus Entertainment trademarked both “ancient aliens” and “ancient astronauts,” though it abandoned the latter, which has become a generic term. But the revisionist history is a fascinating example of how the UFO/alien movement has moved in increasingly spiritual directions over the last decade, and the cognitive dissonance it has caused even among its true believers.
At any rate, the current episode of Ancient Aliens is billed on the History channel website as part of season 17, but like last week’s episode, it’s another clip show. Last week’s episode was reported A. C. Nielsen, the ratings organization, as a “special” rather than a regular episode for ratings purposes. Given that this clip show contains only a small bit of new content in Giorgio Tsoukalos’s bumpers and wraparounds, I am not inclined to waste my time reviewing material I’ve already covered in the past.
For completion’s sake, I will list the “Top Ten Alien Cover-Ups,” but otherwise, there is nothing to say about old material cut up and repackaged. A small note: It annoys me that the show isn’t consistent from week to week. Last week it was a “top 10” list, but this week it is a “top ten.” Pick a style!
10. AATIP. This segment celebrates the New York Times for reporting on the Pentagon’s dubious UFO program, with claims that this minor program was the “biggest news” in the history of UFOs. Sad. It’s weird that they include out-of-date material from an old episode claiming that the Pentagon would never declassify or reveal more information, an odd choice considering the recent report mandated by Congress. No one cares much about what they are pasting into these clip shows.
9. Area 51. They don’t actually manage to make a claim here. The talking heads are quoted being outraged, but they never say at what.
8. The Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch has never been part of the official Western Christian canon, but the show alleges that the Council of Nicaea banned the Book of Enoch and therefore this was a “government” cover-up of fallen angels. None of that comports with the historical record or makes much sense since (a) the Church wasn’t the government and (b) Jews didn’t include the book either. Also: Ethiopian Orthodox Christians did include it, and the Byzantine monk George Syncellus quoted extensively from it, so the “cover-up” wasn’t very good.
7. Project Blue Book. This segment comes from the tie-in episode they did to the defunct drama series of the same name.
6. The Majestic Twelve. The show has Tsoukalos outright state that this obvious, long-debunked hoax was a real cover-up. The segment we see here comes from a 2017 episode, recycled in subsequent episodes.
5. Kecksburg. Another debunked sighting presented as real. It’s part of a 2018 episode that itself recycled earlier episodes.
4. Rendlesham Forest. Honestly, I don’t remember if this segment came from the same 2018 episode as the Kecksburg segment above, a 2017 episode that discussed it, or one from earlier seasons that also presented the same information.
3. Rudloe Manor. This segment is definitely a condensed version of the 2017 episode I just linked to above.
2. The Roswell Incident. I think we all know this one inside and out, but if you care, it’s taken from this 2020 episode.
1. The Malmstrom Nuclear Missile “Crisis.” I put “crisis” in quotation marks because the supposed alien effort to take nuclear missiles offline has never been proven to have actually happened as described, let alone caused a crisis. The segment came from a 2019 episode.
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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