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The Best of Ancient Aliens(TV) (2010)
Have intelligent forms from outer space been visiting earth for millennia, bringing with them technology that drastically affected the course of history and man's own development? Do they visit us today? Ancient Aliens launches all-new expeditions to seek out and evaluate this evidence, with a concentration on discoveries of the last 30 years.
Aliens and the Old West
The Mayan Conspiracy
For more about The Best of Ancient Aliens and the The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray release, see the The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Narrator: Robert Clotworthy
» See full cast & crew
The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray Review
Chariots (and other accoutrements) of the Gods.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 19, 2012
Here's a mystery that perhaps not even Ancient Aliens would deign to investigate: why would A + E Networks Home Entertainment release Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 1 on Blu-ray in 2010 and have Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 4 slated for release on Blu-ray later this year in November, but not have bothered to release the two "interior" seasons this frequently interesting series has produced? While A + E hasn't always gone the Blu-ray route with many of its top-lining series, it hasn't exactly been shy about cranking out DVD home video releases for everything from Pawn Stars to any number of standalone specials and one-offs. Maybe some little green men from a faraway galaxy found some of the information imparted on an episode hit a little too close to home, and are utilizing telepathic mind control to keep the second and third season from being released, but someone in a tin foil hat was able to at least compile this one disc release which cobbles together four episodes of the series, one of which was previously released on the Complete Season 1 set.
The series' premiere episode is the one previously released episode included on this new compilation. Below is my summation from my review of Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 1:
The Evidence. This initial episode of the series proper lays out the groundwork for what is to follow over the subsequent outings of Ancient Aliens. We meet a wide variety of scholars and experts, many with the requisite PhD after their names but few if any that rise to the level of a Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking, as might be expected given the subject matter. The Evidence is actually a quite compelling journey around the globe as the show looks at a huge variety of ancient culture's depictions of various flying craft, including the ancient Hindu Vimanas. The Evidence also postulates that the famous Nazca line drawings may in fact be runways or landing strips. The episode also "interprets" various ancient texts to at least raise the possibility that ancient folktales are hinting at air travel. We get some more modern science with a sidebar dealing with Tesla and transmissions of electricity through a wireless grid which utilized obelisks.
The other three episodes included on this disc are:
Mysterious Places. Ancient Aliens doesn't concentrate so much on technologies ostensibly left behind by long ago visitors from outer space in this episode, but instead visits a series of weird locales around the globe, some of which it is theorized may have been utilized by aliens as "portals" into our little corner of the universe. Some of these locationsŚlike the infamous Bermuda TriangleŚwill be well known to most viewers, while others, like Peru's so-called Gate of the Gods will be relatively unknown to most. This is a really interesting episode which gets into some nuts and bolts about the Earth's magnetic field and how it's possible to view an overlay of an energy grid which covers our planet and tie together disparate locales in unexpected ways. In fact, the episode points out that several mysterious places scattered around the globe actually lie on more or less the same latitude, including The Bermuda Triangle, some of Egypt's most iconic pyramids and a fascinating area in Mexico called the Zone of Silence, where any electronic gadgets, or even compasses, simply refuse to operate properly.
Aliens and the Old West. This obvious tie-in to 2011's Cowboys & Aliens features copious clips from the film but perhaps strains credulity when it breathlessly touts the achievements of "visionary filmmaker Jon Favreau". That debatable comment notwithstanding, there are actually some fascinating stories told in this episode. One involves a possible crash of a spaceship in Aurora, Texas in 1897, a crash which was documented in the press at the time and which may have resulted in the burial of an alien in an unmarked grave. Another late nineteenth century phenomenon deals with the so-called Thunderbird, a massive winged creature which may have been spotted in wide scattered locales and whose "leathery hide" seem to repel bullets. Some of the other segments are questionable, to say the least, including the assertion that Mormon prophet Joseph Smith may have been visited by an alien (one assumes Mitt Romney won't be playing up that angle on the campaign trail) and another brief segment that ties the so-called Serpent Mound in the Appalachians to the Nazca Lines, phenomena that Ancient Aliens claims "proves" the existence of extraterrestrial beings since these huge "land sculptures" can only be completely seen from the sky.
The Mayan Conspiracy may not exactly make a cogent case for an actual conspiracy, but it treads some familiar, albeit compelling, territory in trying to ferret out how such a "primitive" society could have had such impressive architectural and engineering feats, not to mention monuments aligned to celestial events and a calendar which accurately predicts shifts in the Earth's axis every 26,000 years. The episode visits all of the four "cardinal" ancient cities of the Mayan world, looking at various structures and sometimes coming to fairly questionable conclusions about them. The episode also ventures even further back in time to the Olmec era, postulating that the so-called "colossal head" sculptures which were uncovered centuries after they were crafted and then (rather strangely) buried are in fact depictions of ancient aliens. One of the kind of interesting sidebars in this episode may in fact not have a lot to do with aliens, namely the complexity of the Mayan language, which confounded scholars for untold years before a mathematician named Ernst Forstemann was able to crack the code.
The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Best of Ancient Aliens is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of A + E Networks Home Entertainment and History Channel with an AVC encoded 1080i transfer in 1.78:1. This is a typically good looking outing from History that benefits from some sharp contemporary footage, especially in the talking heads segments which pop quite nicely with good fine object detail and very nicely saturated color. This particular compilation of episodes suffers somewhat from its reliance on stock footage, especially in The Mayan Conspiracy, where a lot of the footage seems to have been sourced from smaller millimeter formats. Overall, though, things are clear and well defined, and anyone who is used to the general look of most History offerings will know exactly what to expect with this release.
The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Best of Ancient Aliens features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix which offers excellent fidelity and some perhaps unexpectedly wide dynamic range. Ancient Aliens tends to be a "noisy" series, as I pointed out in my Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season 1 Blu-ray review, and the four episodes included on this compilation disc fall into that category at least some of the time. Truth be told, these episodes are actually a bit tamer sonically speaking than many in this series' broadcast history, something that actually helps to make the aural experience here more enjoyable, since one isn't being assaulted with nonstop LFE and unending sound effects. Both the narration and the talking head segments are reproduced with excellent clarity, and while this mix is obviously narrow, it gets the job done very well.
The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No supplements of any kind are included on this Blu-ray disc.
The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Why Seasons 2 and 3 of Ancient Aliens haven't seen the Blu-ray light of day is anyone's guess, but for those jonesin' for some extraterrestrial conspiracy theories before Ancient Aliens' fourth season debuts in high definition in November may get a kick out of this compilation disc, especially since only one of the four included episodes has been previously released. As I mentioned in my review of the first season, Ancient Aliens may seem on its face to be an outright silly premise for a series, but it manages to tell some unusual and interesting stories along the way, albeit tales that are best taken with a grain (or pillar) of salt now and then. This Blu-ray has no supplemental features, but offers typically fine video and audio.
Ancient Aliens: Other Seasons
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The Best of Ancient Aliens Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: The Best of Ancient Aliens - September 14, 2012
Blu-ray.com and A&E Home Video are offering five members a chance to win a copy of The Best of Ancient Aliens, a collection that features one episode from each season of the History Channel series. History's Ancient Aliens compilation touches down on September ...
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