8 Futile Attempts To Place FOX’s ‘Hieroglyph’ Into A Historical Time Period

Deputy Entertainment Editor
05.12.14 2 Comments

FOX announced their new ancient Egyptian soap opera 'Hieroglyph' today. It's basically 'Reign' only in Mesopotamia and with the same amount of historical integrity. You can see the trailer below and with what looks like ancient vampires, this is more Anne Rice than History Channel circa 1995.

They canceled 'Almost Human' for this?! Well, let's try to parse out when all this drama is going down.

1. Even in Egypt, the protagonist has to be a white dude.

Ancient Egypt was a vast empire that spanned thousands of years and is rich with real scandals, villainous conspirators, and virtuous heroes. But they're all brown. What a conundrum! Better scrap it and just make up some stuff to shoehorn in a lost European transplant to be the White Savior™. No one seems put off by his pale ass though so if Europeans are common, this sets us around 4th century BC at the earliest. Assuming we count Greeks as Europeans.  

2. A scroll of untold power is referred to as 'The Book of Thresholds' despite being a scroll.

Okay, so 4th century BC is out. Codexes – aka what we call books – didn't pick up in popularity until 1st century AD. At that point books and scrolls co-mingled on the regular until the monks decided scrolls were sooooo last millennium and anyway they were messing up the monks' wicked cool drawings.

3. Lesbians because reasons?

There's nothing in the historical record about ancient Egyptian feelings towards homosexuality but this still feels like what it is: a way to trick straight guys into watching the seventh grade version of an Ancient Egyptian soap opera. Going on out on a limb you could argue maybe there was an explosion in lesbianism around the time of Sappho's poetry topped the charts, which bumps us up to 600-ish B.C.

4. Pharaoh is a jerk.

Well this isn't helpful. There is no record of Pharaoh Shai Kanahkt. Weird. With quite literally three thousand plus years you'd think even if they made up a name it'd show up by laws of probability. But no. There was a real Nefertari but she was a bad ass in her own right and would never play second fiddle to a made-up jumble of words picked from an Egyptian Name Generator. Assuming Nefertari was like the 'Ashley' of the time, that pulls the guess back to around 1300 B.C. Also makes the most sense visually since Nefertari lived in the time of the Great Pyramids.

6. Mysterious wise old jedi man.

Getting a serious 'Let My People Go' vibe from this old man but it could just be because he's sporting a budget Heston beard. But if you do your historical research by watching Dreamworks animated films – as seems to be the case here – Kanahkt could be the name Ramses the Great is going by for whatever reason? That'd make sense in light of him being Nefertari's husband. So tentatively standing by 1300 B.C. as the time frame.

7. Vampires because reasons?

There's a lot of blood in Egyptian mythology. The god Set would eat the hearts of the unworthy in the afterlife. The goddess Hathor bloodlusted into Sekhmet at the first taste of human blood and laid waste to all in her path. Both parts of the pantheon were well in place by 1300 B.C. but I'm still side-eying the hell out of any story that forces women to writhe around on the ground on the basis of 'plot.'

8. The clothes make no sense.

Until someone comes forward with a timeline to prove me otherwise, we're gonna settle on 1300 B.C. as the period for this story. But since the research for this seemed to consist of watching the video for 'Walk Like An Egyptian' on a loop, let's give these fine folks a more period appropriate costume. Ahhhh, much better.

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