Reboots are the biggest trend in entertainment right now, with a mixed bag of results. In Search Of is a program conceived in sin, so to speak, tainted by the elements of its own DNA. Ages and ages ago, a German film adaptation of Erich von Dnikens Chariots of the Gods was nominated for an Oscar, and TV producer Alan Landsburg and Twilight Zone host Rod Serling recut it for American television in 1973 as In Search of Ancient Astronauts. The special attracted 28 million viewers on NBC and spawned 250,000 news sales of Chariots in the first 48 hours after broadcast, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. It was the most successful ancient astronaut TV broadcast ever. After a series of such specials promoting credulous views of UFOs and ancient astronauts, Landsburg decided to produce an ongoing syndicated series to be hosted by Serling as a spinoff from the specials. Serling died before the show went to air, and Leonard Nimoy stepped in as the host of In Search Of which aired from 1977 to 1982. The new series spread beyond ancient astronauts to cover the full range of subjects generally classified as mysterious, from cryptozoology to UFOs, from Hitler to Nostradamus, and from poltergeists to Atlantis.
In 2009, the History Channel adapted Chariots of the
Gods anew as a two-hour special called Ancient
Aliens. From the success of that special, and a subsequent
test series of two-hour specials, History commissioned a sequel,
first known as Ancient Aliens: The Series and then
Ancient Aliens, which has aired continuously since 2010,
delivering more episodes than In Search Ofs 146-episode
run and a consistent audience of around two million viewers.
Unable, however, to find a successful companion series to attract
similar ratings, the network has now turned to the original
Chariots spinoff in the hope of recapturing the magic of
the old show, which the History Channel and its sister network
A&E had spent much of the 1990s and 2000s airing in reruns.
In short, the new In Search Of (without the ellipses) is twice the bastard offspring of Chariots of the Gods, which seems to mean that it is the product of a weird incest th...