Day 104: Nefertiti and the Lost Dynasty (2007)


When I was in Berlin last summer, I had the opportunity to visit the Neues Museum. Although everything about the museum seemed cool from its amazing architecture (complete with bullet holes from WWII) to the location, I was most excited about seeing one specific artifact: the bust of Nefertiti. Tour books touted this figure as the “most beautiful woman” in Berlin and one of the “must-sees” in the city. Combine that with my odd affinity for anything related to ancient Egypt and my habit of pretending to be an individual, while in reality, following the flock; and I had myself a day trip in Berlin.

 

I feel that here I need to make an observation: the Germans are really serious about their antiquities. Like, super serious. Upon entering the museum, all guests are required to put all of their belongings into a locker. Everything (well, except maybe a pencil and paper). Now, in life there are those who are carefree and those who are a little more uptight. My personality is such that I walked through the uptight camp (it was one helluva summer camp, let me tell you) and straight into neurotic-ville. What can I say? I am not a cool cat. Short story long, I was worried about my bag in the tiny compartment with the flimsy lock—the bag which held my passport and money—the entire time. Thus, I anxiously made my way through the museum: through the collection of prehistory and early history stuff. So concerned was I, that I was oblivious when I crossed into the early history realm from the prehistory.

 

Eventually, I made it to the Egyptian wing of the building. I followed the trail of antiquities—the golden statues of Isis, the pieces of wall with hieroglyphs, the sculptures of cats—to the room with the bust of Nefertiti. There was a serious looking security guard standing watch over the lovely face imprisoned behind thick glass. I had waited years to see something like this and, naturally, thought I would have some big epiphany or “moment” when I saw the Egyptian queen face to face. However, the first thought that came to my mind was, “That’s smaller than I thought it would be.” The following thoughts were (in no particular order): “I hope my stuff isn’t stolen” (hey, I’m a worrier), “She is really beautiful,” and “What beer should I drink next?” I can be a pretty disappointing person. And although I was a bit preoccupied with my own anxieties, I have to say, the bust of Nefertiti was awesome to see in person. It was in remarkably good condition (it was found in a sculptor’s workshop) and incredibly sophisticated. It’s no wonder that this piece of art is such an iconic representation of the ancient Egyptian culture.

 

I was thinking about my trip to Berlin the other day while I was browsing the Amazon prime video selection. When I saw the National Geographic special, Nefertiti and the Lost Dynasty, I decided it would be an ideal first show to watch on prime. It didn’t hurt that the special is only 51 minutes long.

 

Nefertiti and the Lost Dynasty claims to be about the disappearance of Queen Nefertiti, the woman the Amazon blurb states was—and I quote– “history’s most beloved and despised queen.” Those are some big shoes to fill. While I won’t spend my time debating queens, I would like to point out that this show is less about the story of what happened to Nefertiti; but rather an examination of several mummies to see if  one of them could be this infamous woman. Think of it as CSI: Ancient Egypt. Do you think David Caruso would join the cast? He could wear his sunglasses.

 

The show opens with the voice-over narration posing several questions to the audience. I have to admit that this format is a little over-used in educational specials. It reminds me of the research reports I had to write in junior high school where the teacher always wanted the students to ask the question they want to answer in the rest of the essay in the first paragraph. Then I remember that I had permed bangs at that age, and end up skulking around the house in shame for a while until I forget what I was embarrassed about in the first place. Point being, I wish some of these non-fiction shows would try a new format. I hate being asked so many questions before I know the answer. It’s not as thought-provoking as they think.

 

After making my head spin with questions I just don’t have the answer to, the next thought that pops into my head is a question of my own: “Where is Brenden Fraser?” Is anyone allowed to film anything about mummies without casting him? It certainly would have attracted a wider audience, although a Scorpion King Easter egg somewhere in The Lost Dynasty would have been equally cool. 😉

 

Although Nerfertiti and the Lost Dynasty did not deliver what I anticipated, I actually found it to be pretty fascinating. I expected the show to contain a bunch of recreations; essentially a soap opera of Nefertiti’s life. Instead, it follows scientists as they use “cutting edge technology” to examine the mummies. The 3D scans of the bodies allows them to piece together how the people lived and how they died. While I would have personally liked to see a bit more historical background, the techie stuff was cool.

 

So, did they find the beloved-yet-despised queen? What really happened to Nefertiti? Does she have connections to the most famous of all pharaohs, King Tut? Should I, in the true spirit of a non-fiction TV show, have asked these questions at the beginning of my post? Well, I can only truly answer one of these and only guess at the rest. The answer? 7. It’s always 7. Or “c.”

 

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

 

Score: B-


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