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Ancient Aliens - Season 1 Review




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Rating
Video:   8/10
Audio:   7/10
Extras:   1/10

Beam me up, Osiris
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
12/07/2010

    Is it possible that intelligent life forms visited Earth thousands of years ago, bringing with them technology that drastically affected the course of history and man's own development? Presented in the 1968 bestselling book Chariots of the Gods, by Erich von Daniken, the theory of "ancient aliens" rocked people's beliefs in mankind's progress. Ancient cave drawings of strange creatures, remains of landing strips in Peru, and Indian texts that describe the "flying machines of the gods" were just a few of the odd archaeological artifacts cited by von Daniken as proof that ancient astronauts were well known to our ancestors. Produced with the exclusive cooperation of von Daniken himself, Ancient Aliens launches all-new expeditions to seek out and evaluate this evidence, with a concentration on discoveries of the last 30 years, including unusual DNA findings on man's evolution and newly decoded artifacts from Egypt to Syria to South America. It is a balanced investigation into a theory some believe cannot be true, but many agree cannot be ignored.
I'll admit to laughing a bit when I heard about this show. I figured it was likely a show about how aliens came to Earth and built the pyramids, but I was interested in checking it out, even if it was just to laugh at the show. Was I going into this with an open mind? No, not at all.

This 3-disc set includes all 5 episodes from the first season, as well as the pilot:

Disc 1 (2:58:08)
The Evidence (1:29:03)
The Visitors (1:29:05)

Disc 2 (2:58:09)
The Mission (1:29:05)
Closer Encounters (1:29:04)

Disc 3 (1:29:01)
The Return (1:29:01)

Video

The show is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1), and looks quite good on DVD. Most of the show is shot for the series, but there's some archival material, and some stock footage. The stock footage doesn't look as good as the original material, and it tends to stand out a bit when it comes to the quality of the image (it's not usually horrible, but the difference is noticeable). They've set a chapter after the opening of the episode, but the discs don't contain a "play all" feature, probably because they didn't think it was useful with only 2 episodes on a disc (I'd disagree, if that was their thinking).

Audio

The show features a basic English stereo audio track. The dialog is easy to understand, and when it's not they display burned-in subtitles so you can understand what's being said. There aren't any subtitles for the episodes, but they are closed captioned.

Extras - How we rate extras

Chariots, Gods and Beyond (1:28:58)
This was the pilot for the series, though it has an "Episode 6" title card on the DVD. This is the only bonus feature on the set.

Summary

Though I expected to mock the series, I found it very fascinating. I'm not quite convinced that aliens have visited the world for centuries, but I'm quite curious about some of the objects they showed on the program, and places they visited. Why would ancient people create large designs on the ground that can only be seen from the air? Why are their gold artifacts that look like space ships? How did granite rocks get cut with such precision when tools to make those cuts weren't available? The show examines only one side of the argument, which I found a bit unfortunate, because I'd like to know what other experts have to say about some of these things.

Ancient Aliens is a fascinating series. I'd recommend it to fans of sci-fi, or people interested in history. Keep an open mind while watching it, and even if you don't believe some of theories being introduced, it's still an entertaining series.


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