Zahi Hawass has a new television show coming out on History Channel tomorrow, called “Chasing Mummies“. We had a look at the trailer and it seems like they are going for a highly pop-culture adventure-like, make-the-big-finds angle to attract the thrill-seekers. You had Ice Road Truckers, now get ready for Sand Dead Diggers starring the High Plains Sifter?
It all has to be good for making archeology more exciting and discovering history more fun. But at the same time, you have to wonder if the History Channel, on the heels of Discovery Channel’s King Tut Unwrapped, is mixing up the medium too much and overshadowing the message. Or in other words, as you can see in the action-figure type trailer below — are they taking the piss in the pyramids?
Zahi Hawass‘s reputation is already legendary, global and seems to be growing. Could this sensational format put him into a new level of celebrity? He has made fantastic strides to protect and share the amazing Egyptian heritage (check some of our HKZahi Hawass videos here, including his plan to discover Seti I tomb that recently was concluded). Sure he rules the Supreme Council of Antiquites (SCA) with an iron hand — but it also seems to need that.
Chasing Mummies or Hell’s Pyramids?
Yet, can the likes of Zahi keep pace with tomb raiders like sexy shooter Lara Croft? With whom would you rather slide through hidden passages in dark burial grounds? Is fantasy the more popular window on the past?
Or more importantly, should personalities cater to what is popular at the expense of missing the opportunity to do more? Do you get the audience first and then deliver the message inside the package in a unexpected way?
At least LaraCroft is taking us on an adventure together in an interactive, 3D way. But History Channel would rather put Zahi above us on the untouchable celeb stage.The intro to the third episode of the series called “Lost” reads: “Most people experience something rare or exceptional once or twice in a lifetime, but Zahi Hawass, unimpeded by his tireless lust for adventure, lives many lifetimes in a single day.”
All the aggression in the trailer suggest the show will have the world’s best known archeologist more like the irate, Gordon Ramsay screaming at the moronic chefs that are about to poision their customers. Is “Hell’s Pyramid” the best they could think up? You can almost hear the screams about King Tut’s missing penis.
They did an open casting call for people to participate in the series.
You can see some of the posts up on YouTube like this one from Casey Fitchner, who is probably really glad not to be getting blasted at point blank range by the “daddy of all mummies.”
It will be interesting to see what is really on offer beyond the hype of the trailer.
I hope there are some of the great moments where Zahi, set in a breathtaking Nile setting, looks into the camera and shares his passion and his unique insights, but leaves the lust for the american docu-makers in the dust of the desert.
I guess if it takes a little sizzle to set that scene, then it might be worth waiting and watching.
On the left, my avatar has a virtual Zahi Hawass hat that you can try to win in one of our quests at the Heritage Key virtual experience.
There are a lot of events and contests running so check here to see what is going on now.