THE UNIVERSE: SEASON 7 – ANCIENT MYSTERIES SOLVED
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
Erik Thompson as NARRATOR
Produced by: Carl H. Lindahl
BY KEVIN CARR
A couple months ago, I had the fortune of reviewing one of the Blu-rays for the History Channel original series “Ancient Aliens.” As a fan of “The X-Files” and the Art Bell radio program for many years, I had a blast watching those episodes. Sure, some of it was utter hogwash, but there’s a lot of neat speculation that happens in that show, even if the go-to explanation for everything from Stonehenge to the perfect quiche recipe is aliens.
The latest series from the History Channel that I’ve had a chance to sample is “The Universe.” The season on the DVD case is Season 7, though according to online listings, this is actually season 8. Only four episodes are included on this disc, as it ends the run of the relatively popular series.
“The Universe: Season 7 – Ancient Mysteries Solved” has a lot more history than alien speculation as seen in “Ancient Aliens.” I suppose that’s a good thing since it airs on the History Channel, and not everything should be about aliens (just as not everything should have been about World War II on the History Channel back in the 1990s).
The four episodes on this disc include the following subjects: “Stonehenge,” “Pyramids,” “Heavenly Destruction” and “The Star of Bethlehem.”
Each episode breaks down the question of what these mysteries are and what could have caused them. For some of the mysteries, the explanations have been heard before. The ancient astronomer hypothesis for Stonehenge or the Pyramids are well known in paranormal and historical research. What works well for this series, rather than the “Aliens!” conclusion jump from “Ancient Aliens” is that these are often given worldly explanations.
Instead of wild speculation, there’s a little more depth to the science, making this History Channel program a bit more palatable for the skeptic. I still enjoy the heck out of ancient astronaut hypotheses abound, but a down-to-earth reason for giant stones in the English countryside or massive pyramidal structures in Egypt make me feel more like an adult. Yes, some of the excitement is lost with this explanation, but it’s still a compelling show.
In the end, “The Universe: Season 7 – Ancient Mysteries Solved” is a neat look into the background of various mysteries, and it offers logical and credible explanations for them. It’s a more grown-up show than “Ancient Aliens” but still very cool to watch.
And these episodes sure beat the hell out of most of the luddite reality show programming that has infected the very core of basic cable television.