Thanks to a plethora of firsthand accounts and actual footage from events that spanned nearly 30 years, Netflix's latest docuseries titled Raël: The Alien Prophet will have viewers glued to their screens.
Netflix recently expanded its extensive library in the docuseries genre. Its latest entry, Raël: The Alien Prophet, explores an ongoing religious cult called Raëlism, led by one of the most controversial figures in modern religion - Claude Vorilhorn, who now goes by Raël.
Cracking Netflix's Top 10 Shows in the U.S. list, Raël: The Alien Prophet takes viewers through the history of Raëlism across four episodes, specifically focusing on how aliens, human cloning, and controversies have affected the 50-year movement.
Raëlism: A Cult or a Religion?
Directed by Antoine Baldassari and Manuel Guillon, Raël: The Alien Prophet takes viewers on a detailed ride through the controversial history of Raëlism, a cult/religion that was started in 1973 in France by Claude Vorilhorn, also known as Raël.
Raël claimed to have been visited by an alien in the early 1970s. This extra-terrestrial told him that its people, the Elohim, were the creators of the world and human life.
He then claimed to be transported by aliens to another world to be made a prophet for the Elohim and spread their teachings across the globe.
However, Raël and his followers had to move their religion to different countries after facing multiple controversies regarding topics such as human cloning and sexual misconduct.
His religion/cult's official symbol even made waves amongst many people since it was a combination of a six-pointed star and a swastika.
Raël: The Alien Prophet is a rollercoaster ride through all of these events by featuring interviews from real-life supporters of Raël, some of whom have been devout followers since the religion/cult's inception in the 1970s.
What makes the docuseries stand out from others, however, is the sheer volume of raw, real-life footage it includes.
This footage does not shy away from anything, showcasing some of Raël's most influential and infamous speeches, TV appearances, and actions.
These snippets include everything from full-body nudity, Raël's followers worshipping the Elohim and being baptized, and even an act where multiple women were instructed to stand nude in front of Raël and be inducted into what he calls "The Order of Raël's Angels."
Hearing From the Man Himself
A lot of docuseries feature eyewitness accounts from individuals familiar with or a part of the topic being presented.
However, many times when the story revolves around an extremely controversial figure of concept (like Raël: The Alien Prophet does), a key person to the narrative elects to not be a part of it (see Netflix's Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife and Max's Natalia Speaks).
In Raël: The Alien Prophet, the show includes in-depth interviews with Raël himself, who is now 78 years old and living in Japan, making it even more worth watching.
Since Raël claims to have met Jesus Christ, Moses, Mohammed, Elijah, and Buddha, it would be a shame if he wasn't included at some point in the series.
While the audience hears from long-time members, it is even more of a treat to see what the man behind the madness has to say for himself.
However, Raël doesn't even make an appearance until the end of the show's first episode, teasing that he will be a major member of each remaining episode.
It works well for a cliffhanger and has fans wanting to watch more episodes, but it is quite misleading because Raël's interview is not featured until Episode 3.
So, while it is nice to be able to hear from the man himself, that tease at the end of Episode 1 is a little upsetting since Raël doesn't even show up in the following episode.
A Short, But Detailed Story
Netflix could easily make a multi-season docuseries based on Raël, his religion/cult, its members, the impact it made in society, and its controversies, and it still probably wouldn't even be able to cover everything.
Raël: The Alien Prophet is only four episodes and each installment comes in between 43-49 minutes, for a total of 180 minutes (or three hours).
Therefore, it is an easy show to sit down and binge in one sitting, and even though it is so short, the series is so detailed and includes so many important accounts that it doesn't leave anything out.
Each episode is packed with information, twists and turns, and a lot of real footage, but it never feels as though it is moving through certain topics too quickly.
Everything from the human cloning scandal to how the cult was started to the child sex allegations and everything in between are covered and presented in a way where the viewer feels as though nothing was left out.
The fact that the story indicates when a time jump is taking place or a different event is being covered also helps the viewer always have a good understanding of what and where they are.
Raël: The Alien Prophet ultimately has no downtime, but also does not move at a pace where the audience can't keep up.
Is Raël: The Alien Prophet Worth Watching?
Raël: The Alien Prophet is one of the most gripping and informative docuseries in the entire Netflix library.
Being able to hear the experiences of real followers of Raël, people who hate him and what he stands for, and Raël himself makes the show feel authentic.
Since the majority of the interviews and accounts are being told as the viewer watches hours of footage of the events, it makes Raël: The Alien Prophet even more captivating and worth watching.
Even though Raëlism has spread to multiple countries around the world and there are plenty of people who are aware of it, many are probably completely unfamiliar with the shocking events of what took place during its height from the 1970s-2000s.
So, if someone were to be scrolling through Netflix and see Raël: The Alien Prophet come across the screen, it would be worth giving it a shot.
Raël: The Alien Prophet is available to stream on Netflix.