NOVA Episode Sheds New Light On One Of History’s Greatest Mysteries

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

People love a good mystery.  A single look through the annals of television and movie history reveals the obsession that people have with mysteries.  As popular as the mysteries on television and movies have been through the ages, they are fake, often “ripped right from the headlines.”  The mysteries created through history however, are real.  To this day, no one fully knows what happened to the members of the Lost Colony.  No one knows what happened to the people of Machu Picchu, either.  And just as much of a mystery is what happened to the people of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui.  Thanks to PBS’ hit science series NOVA, audiences for once might finally have an answer to both that question.  It also provides a convincing argument as to how the people of the doomed island nation moved the legendary moai to where they stand and lie today.  This is just one reason that audiences will appreciate this episode of NOVA now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  Audiences will also appreciate in this presentation that instead of merely displaying facts and figures, researchers actually go into the field and work out their hypothesis concerning how the statues were moved.  This makes the near hour-long feature even more interesting to watch.  Bringing everything full circle for this episode is the visual aids used for both the statue study and that of what might have happened to the people of Easter Island.  Together with the factors already mentioned, audiences see once more in this program why NOVA remains one of PBS’ leading shows.

The fate of the people of Rapa Nui is one of history’s greatest unsolved mysteries.  Many theories have been presented throughout the years concerning the fate of Easter Island’s people.  Just as many theories have been tossed around concerning the statues that are seen across the island.  In Mystery of Easter Island both of those mysteries are discussed.  It’s the first aspect of this presentation that audiences will appreciate.  Scientists and academics are interviewed throughout the near hour-long episode.  They offer some interesting theories on what may or may not have led to the downfall of the island’s people.  From deforestation to war to even a theory centered on rats, no stone is left unturned.  It goes without saying that it is quite the enlightening discussion.  One can’t help but wonder in hearing each theory if not one, but each one is correct and that they actually interweave with the other.    Each case is made that well.  Anthropologists and historians alike (or those with any interest in either science) will take a special interest in this portion of the program.

Historians and anthropologists will take an interest in the study of what happened to the people of Easter Island.  Not be left out, engineers and anyone with any interest in engineering will appreciate the secondary feature in this episode.  That feature is the study of how the moai were moved across the island.  A pair of researchers was interviewed and featured for this half of the episode.  Viewers will especially enjoy this portion of the program.  That is because rather than just talking about their theories, they get out into the field with a team of assistants to test their theory.  Seeing the team actually making the statue “walk” is almost spooky.  That’s because it actually looks like the statue is in fact walking without feet.  It goes right along with the research presented by the pair early in the episode.  And it is one more part of what makes this program even more enjoyable.   Ironically enough, it still raises another entirely separate question.  That question is how did the people of Rapa Nui even get the moai to stand up, or were they scultped in a standing position?

Bringing everything full circle in this episode of NOVA is the fact that along with seeing the researchers actually go into the field, short acting segments and graphics are used as visual aids in the discussion on the fate of Easter Island’s inhabitants.  Also used are graphics explaining the theories of how the moai were moved.  It would have been easy to simply take the theories raised in this episode and discuss them using just graphics.  But that wasn’t the case here.  Audiences actually get to see those graphics and theories come to life so to speak.  It at least looks like the statue comes to life.  And that again is incredible in itself to say the least.  It’s the final touch on just one more episode of NOVA that proves why this show is still one of the best programs on television today.  This episode can be ordered online now direct from PBS’ online store at  More information on this and more episodes of NOVA is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

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