In 2009, the History Channel premiered Ancient Aliens. Over 200 episodes later, the show is still drawing appreciative nods from fans and ire from critics who harsh it as clown science. Regardless, November brings the 10-city Ancient Aliens LIVE Tour. As its leading expert and irrepressible co-executive producer, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos has emerged as the face (and definitely hair) of the show.
What’s made Ancient Aliens so successful?
The show asks questions. Some seem to ignore that the show’s narration rarely ends in a period, but rather ends in question marks. Giant question marks, in fact. To explore and figure out how it all began and where we’re headed is the ultimate quest.
Can you summarize the “ancient astronauts theory” that drives the show?
Ancient astronaut theory explores the question whether or not flesh and blood extraterrestrials visited Earth in the remote past. These visitors left clues behind in the form of ancient texts and physical renderings. Our ancestors refer to them as so-called “gods.” It goes without saying that “gods” as we think of them today never existed, do not exist and never will exist. Archaeology specifies that most of the ancient structures were built to honor these gods. Then they slap each other’s backs proclaiming, “Mystery solved! It was all done for worship!” They go home to have a beer, case closed. I say, not so fast.
When did you start to believe in life beyond Earth?
These topics were often dinner table conversations at the home I grew up in. As an early teenager, I discovered the works by Erich von Däniken (author of Chariots of the Gods?) and that was it for me and I became a heat-seeking missile for anything extraterrestrial. It also helped that I grew up in Switzerland where Erich was/is and was able to meet and work with him very closely ever since I was 16 years old.
What’s your favorite pop cultural representation of alien life?
My favorite as far as the ancient astronaut theory is concerned is the 1978–79 Japanese Toei anime called Captain Future, which, at its core, explored the idea that humanity’s greatest secret is that our DNA was manipulated by non-terrestrials thousands and thousands of years ago.
Are people ready for the U.S. government to reveal everything it knows about aliens?
Of course the people are ready! We are ready! Are you kidding me?
Any reason aliens might be reluctant to make contact with Earth?
We are the grandchildren of apes running around with guns. Who would want to make official contact with an out-of-control bunch of gun-toting, nuclear-bombs-wielding chickens? I apologize to the entire poultry family. It’s possible until all of humanity figures out how to interact with each other with respect and altruism there could be an embargo against Earth imposed by an “intergalactic club” that some say exists out there. So, it’s up to us, frankly.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!