The program begins:
Somewhere in the vast Pacific Ocean sits an island, which may hold the key to understanding the mysterious date of December 21, 2012. Explorer Jim Turner is on his way there, hoping to unlock the great mysteries of Mayan prophecy.Well, the only thing mysterious about the date is why so many people think it has any meaning: the entire notion is entirely made up.
A nice example: the so-called archeologist and a skeptical companion are heading for the island, off the Chilean coast, said to contain an unexpected Mayan monument that is the key to all the apocalypse predictions for 2012 (you can see a solar eclipse and the transit of Venus from there; only from there, it is preposterously said, at one point). As they set out, the narrator tells us, in portentous tones, that that the trip will take 3 days, leaving only (!got that?) 5 days before weather and ocean conditions make the island unreachable. (Just to make sure that you get the point, the narration is often delivered in a particularly deep tone, with an added echo effect.)
To which, any rational person would reply: well, then maybe you and the producers should have planned ahead and thought of all that before you arranged for the boat and the tv crew! Either the timing was sloppy, or it is not an issue, in which case the narration is attempting to conjure up a drama out of smoke and mirrors. Sadly, this is typical of the breathless tone and disingenuous character of most of these pseudo-documentaries.
The archeologist, on the now-notorious ritual, in which the Maya king pierced his penis with a stingray spine, soaked a piece of paper in the blood, and burned the paper, on the bizarre assumption that the rising "smoke serpent" allowed him to speak with the spirits of his forebears: "Was it just a hallucination, or were they somehow able to communicate" with the spirits of their "dead ancestors"? Uh, I dunno, what do you think? You try it first, let me know whether it works.
And so it goes.
Okay, 90 minutes in (typical for these shows: there's never enough to fill the program without padding), and the big revelation is: the big rock might originally—kind of, sort of—have looked like a statue of a king with a crouching jaguar behind him. Can't tell for sure now, but part of the Mayan plan was to have this thing in an obscure place so that it would be revealed only now. O-kay.
So, end of the show: the believer believes he has found what he believed in, and the skeptical companion remains rather skeptical. Still looks like a big weathered rock to me.
The protagonist remains convinced this will be able to teach us "what will happen at the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar." If you say so.
Damn, I spoke too soon: "wait, there's more!" as they say on equally plausible tv infomercials. It's all connected with a black hole. I should have known.
Tell you what: if I'm wrong, and the world ends on December 21, 2012, I'll buy you a beer.