History Channel’s “Chasing Mummies” is Chasing Bad Ratings

Dr. Zahi Hawass studies the remains of King Tut.

When I first caught an episode of the History Channel’s newest and biggest series, Chasing Mummies, it was a re-broadcast of the series premiere being played at around two o’clock in the morning. I was very tired and drifting in and out of consciousness, but from what I saw, I enjoyed it.

Then a few days later, when the first episode was being shown again at an earlier time, I sat down to watch it in its entirety. I was stunned at the garbage I was viewing, and even more so when I realized that it was the History Channel, of all outlets, peddling this crap.

Here we have world-famous Egyptian archaeologist and Director of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, captaining this new show, which takes a camera crew with him and his team as they uncover the latest finds and mummies around Egypt. As part of the crew following him, are interns who know absolutely nothing about archaeology and just get in the way.

The entire show is basically him berating, insulting, and screaming at these interns, as well as Stephen Brophy, the show’s writer, who is in charge of the camera crew.

It became terribly apparent early on that the scenarios are staged with a written script, including the first episode’s event in which one of the young female interns gets trapped inside a pyramid and they only find out hours later. After shattering speed limits to reach the site at around midnight, they find her alive and well.

What could have been an interesting and stressful moment was turned into a laugh-out-loud awful hack-job of film-making which could not have made it any more apparent that it was staged.

Zahi Hawass has every right to criticize those around him, because his knowledge of Egyptology is unmatched, but some of the things that come out of his mouth are things the meanest boss on the planet would not tell his most hated worker. This is proof of just plain bad scripting, because someone with such a prestigious title would not intentionally make himself look like a lunatic, embarrassing himself in front of a (now shrinking) audience of thousands.

Hawass has been on countless specials on both the History and Discovery Channels over the years. I have always enjoyed hearing him speak, and whatever he becomes a part of is usually gold. But I am dumbfounded as to why he would lend his name to such crap, let alone have a starring role in it.

Egyptology is fascinating, as well as archaeology and the excitement of a new find. For more than ten years, these two channels have enthralled us with his discoveries, but why now did they have to go and ruin it and turn a show that could have been educational and intelligent into essentially a reality show?

Is this where television is headed, where even the credible channels have to stoop so low?

I can only hope that the episodes they have left to film they will leave alone and let it be entertaining on its own, and not riddled with senseless dialogue and asinine “dangerous” scenarios.

The topic at hand does not need to be spiced up and tinkered with, and if people out there feel it does, then they should not be watching the History Channel. This is a major blunder on their part, and continues to ruin their already shrinking credibility after their numerous specials on the end of the world, aliens, and Monsterquest, a show where they found absolutely nothing every single episode for more than four years.

It’s time to put an end to the nonsense.

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6 thoughts on “History Channel’s “Chasing Mummies” is Chasing Bad Ratings

  1. I think that kinda stuff actually does happen — but show would have been less confusing if they just said it was a re-enactment or memoirs or something. He needs a “you’re fired ” line or maybe the losing intern should be sacrificed to the demons out there? A real mummification could be good ratings also!

  2. susy

    Zahi Hawass is no different than any other person of his kind. I had a boss from Iran. He, as Zahi, was always screaming and yelling “Yala! Yala!” which means hurry it up. It can be used in different ways. He was a very compassionate and good friend. Ask him a favor and he would help you if he could. He expected alot from his employees. He threw things at me…but I umderstood his ways thanks from one of his business buddies. He explained how he and others are passionate people and “rule” with a strong arm. All in all it;s best not to judge a person untill you undersyand the culture from whence they came.

  3. @susy — sure the “tough love” thing is a bit of work to decode. I guess also if you spend time thinking about Pharoahs and strong rulers that maybe they become your role models–but really that is bad and an ancient artefact that should be left in the past. We should be presenting our kids with more balanced role models and not reduce the value of history to some sort of random scavenger hunt operated by dopes in the desert, peeing, barfing and generally cluelessly following around in Dr Hawass all-knowing-wake.

  4. Traveler

    I remember sitting down in a silent but knowingly what drilling sounds about to occur dentist sitting-room. Having time to either think of the pain or read national geographic magazines.

    I picked one that talked about a findings in Egypt, and the archaeologist who made the discovery. It was Dr. Zahi, after awhile I was then bored of the subject.

    Years pass without me ever using the little bit of knowledge I’ve founded in that one magazine, however, I was full of thought on subjects of highschool assignments, family, and life. When I read that one article about a finding a discovery. That something I always find excitement in! Puzzle-solving, knowing and using what you know to uncover a mystery that lead everyone into the dark but you.

    I love archaeology! history! and Discoveries!

    Overtime, I came back into the dark abyssal world of my mind; filled with thoughts of what I should do in my lifetime. Until, I finally turned on the television and to my surprise there was a reality show ‘Chasing Mummies’ I thought at first “Another stupid reality show, that’s probably fake….” and I continued off and distracted myself with cleaning dishes in my home. I walked pass the tv to pickup another dish at that moment of a discovery on one of the episodes and I was hooked! This man called Dr. Zahi Hawasss, was a man of experience knew his job well, yes he was rude in social sense many a times to another. I believe he has every right to critise his worker’s actions or choices of others who affects his job, when he himself is very ambitious about his job.

    This show felt like reality and I never did see the part where the intern girl gets trapped in some ruins. So I have no saying how real the show is.

    In my own personal opinion, “Chasing Mummies, real or not, gave me much courage to chase after my dream job that I would like to do [help people: and learn] it is a good example for children and young teens to chase after their goals; its almost like an actuality of Indiana Jones”. What archaeologist has to go through…

    Many people tells me, that words cannot do anything, that goes along with the old child-chant “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words would never hurt me”. Should we be so distraught about what this man says, he doesn’t cuss everytime he is angry, no, maybe some cuss words sure, but he controls himself very good, he says what he wants. We all do! Who controls what we say? Who controls our actions? Has Americans, and people from other countries is so full of worrying about little details that they cannot have some fun? and enjoy their own lifestyle? Must we all be grouped in society? We are each different individually. We need not look at archaeology just as a detailed lecture, but also as a job, a social-understanding, and the affects of the job.

    I hope to see this interesting man on the television again!!!!

  5. Shereen

    People do not overthink it. I am an Egyptian and I grew up watching and listening to Zahi Hawas. He has knowledge and passion that is certain, but what he has most of all is and incredible love for himself and ability to market for himself and make himself visible. There are 100s of great geologists in Egypt that are just discrete and do not know how to market their knowledge to the American or international audience. The demeaning, disrespectful way he treats his interns with is coming from one motive: He is just saying to the western world “Hey take a look I am an Egyptian who knows better and will teach them, and they have to suffer the control, disrespect and humiliation on the hands of the great Egyptian know-it-all, through the process. Well I saw a couple of episodes and I was ashamed of the lousy scenario, cheap acting, and the pretentiousness of this big Blah Hawas. He wasted a great opportunity where he could better introduce and highlight the greatness of the Pharaoh’s culture, because he was busy marketing for his own ass.

  6. Angelina

    It is sweet that so many has come to Zahi’s defense, and I too would have held him in high esteem and did so, until this horrible, horrible excuse of a show hit airwaves. I never watched an actual episode as just watching the commercials for it was horrible enough. I lost ALL respect for Zahi because of this show and he has yet to earn it back. I could not believe how a man of his standards would even agree to allow himself to be a part of such a horrid display and allow himself to be portrayed as a complete ass and a moron. Who would destroy their career and reputation like that! I am quite disappointed and find it extremely hard to look at Zahi Hawas seriously ever again.

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