Mediums Part 1
Mediums Part 2
Signs from the Dead
Seeing Dead People
There’s a lot we don’t know about death. We don’t know what happens to the body after this plane of consciousness. Through the ages, there’s been thousands of different ideas and theories, ranging from the Western perception of Heaven and Hell to the Egyptian theory of your heart being weighed on Anubis’ scale against feathers. And then there’s the ideas of reincarnation, living in a computer simulation or just nothing; an endless void of blackness. Ultimately, we don’t know what happens.
The fact that Netflix’s latest docu-series Surviving Death is listed under the reality-TV category should tell you all you need to know about this one. While there are enjoyable elements of this, and just enough science to keep you watching, it’s wise to take this one with a pinch of salt. As one of the scientists tells us in the first episode “We don’t have enough evidence to say what happens” and this statement ultimately sums up the entirety of this series.
While the opening episode about NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) does quite a good job balancing things out, from here it’s all downhill as the subject of mediums, seeing dead people and past life experiences are explored. Each of these episodes take a good 10-15 minutes before even getting to the science and even then, it’s simply not enough to back up what’s being told in any great detail.
In terms of structure though, Surviving Death does do a pretty good job balancing out a number of different eye-witness accounts and ideas with the history of said chosen topic but a lot of this material isn’t particularly thought provoking or deep.
While I don’t doubt the eye-witness accounts for any of these people, the lack of critical questions or thought provoking analysis for anything that’s being said, or why so many reports are different, is a bit of a disappointment.
For the record, I do believe in life after death and in reincarnation too. Personally, I believe that when we die our past life is examined by a panel of faceless spirits or “guardian angels” that determine whether we return to this plane of existence and live again or move on to something else after completing our life’s goal. While this all sounds fantastical and far-fetched, if I said this in front of a camera you’d want scientists to question and pick apart my ideas, right?
Unfortunately, Surviving Death too often introduces us to scientists or researchers who simply sit and talk to men or women and take their word as gospel. There’s no neuro-science, no brain scans, pressing questions or body language detection.
For example, in episode 6 a boy apparently has knowledge of his past life in Hollywood. His Mother reads a letter about his experiences as a child, loving the Hollywood sign and creating his own mini-movies while playing with toys.
In a one on one interview with the scientist, this boy is asked whether he still has memories of his past life. He looks away, rolls his lips inward and casts his gaze away from the camera before uttering “Not very often.” These point toward not being truthful but it’s never once called out. And that sadly goes for a lot of what happens in this series – especially the two episodes dedicated to mediums.
Ultimately though, if you enjoy shows like Most Haunted and Ancient Aliens you’ll absolutely be in your element here. There’s enough eye-witness accounts and life stories to fill out the run-time and a minimal amount of science squeezed in to try and explain this phenomena. Unfortunately Surviving Death is nowhere near critical enough and the show is unlikely to change your opinion on death one way or another, making for a rather shallow and disappointing experience.
Verdict - 3.5/10