Pros: interesting characters and actors who played them; the documentary basis of a real-life project that investigated UFOs; the intrigue remains until the very end. Cons: after the first episodes, it seems that the series will be locked into the “incident-investigation-interpretation” pattern. Fortunately, the scriptwriters then find more interesting and large-scale solutions “Project Blue Book” / Project Blue Book
Genre science fiction, detective
Creators: David O’Leary, Robert Zemeckis, Sean Jablonski
Starring: Aidan Gillen (Dr. Allen Hynek), Michael Malarkey (Captain Michael Queen), Laura Mennell (Mimi Hynek), Ksenia Solo (Susie Miller), Neal McDonough (General James Harding), Robert John Burke (William Fairchild), etc.
Year of release 2019
Project Blue Book is set in the 1950s. Strange events are occurring throughout the United States that people associate with alien phenomena. To prevent panic among the population, government representatives create a project called the Blue Book. The work on it is entrusted to pilot Michael Queen and astrophysicist Allen Hynek, who undertake to follow the fresh trail of unidentified objects and look for logical scientific explanations for them. The partners adhere to a given goal, but have different views on what is happening – if Quinn, having survived the horrors of World War II, cultivated skepticism, then Hynek devoted his life to the study of space, continuing to strive for the great discovery of the unknown. Their contradictions are aggravated against the backdrop of categorical orders “from above”, which say to hide any incidents.
Each episode begins with a blurb stating that the series is based on actual UFO research conducted by Dr. Allen Hynek for the US Air Force. So yes, a project about systematic research into unidentified flying objects did exist. It was opened in 1952 and lasted until 1969, collecting thousands of eyewitness accounts, photographs, flight routes and other “evidence” of the existence of aliens. The Blue Book staff concluded that most of the testimonies received from people were the result of mass hysteria or an attempt to gain attention by deception.
What’s interesting is that the show’s writers balance well between common sense, based on the results of the work of the real Blue Book, and the viewer’s desire to believe in the existence of UFOs. The atmosphere of doubt is fueled by the turbulent situation in the world in which the characters are forced to find themselves all the time. Radio stations keep talking about the possibility of a nuclear explosion. Residents of the suburbs are absolutely seriously considering purchasing a bomb shelter, sincerely hoping that a wooden structure can protect them from weapons of mass destruction. Being in constant tension, people read in newspapers about alien creatures and immediately succumb to even greater panic.
Is it worth talking about the existence of spies (Russian, of course) interested in obtaining secret information at any cost? They are here, there is no doubt about it. As well as the “race of military air achievements” between the USSR and the USA. Against the backdrop of such an unstable and, one might say, critical situation, the main characters Quinn and Hynek take on the responsibility of maintaining peace. Therefore, trying to investigate incredible incidents, they go to the scene of almost every incident. Because of this, the series begins to seem rather monotonous around the third or fourth episode. But it is precisely in these episodes that one should not rush to conclusions.
Soon, Project Blue Book adds more and more intrigue, including the development of parallel lines. Events unfold not only within the framework of the work of partners and the activities of mysterious observers, but also in the changed life of the wife of Dr. Allen Hynek, who plunged headlong into friendship with a charming new friend. It turns out that the alien detection game is of interest to many more people than the government ever imagined.
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It’s not just the rapid development of the plot that changes the first impression of the series’ predictability for the better. An excellent selection of actors who suit the characters also plays a significant role. Astrophysicist Allen Hynek, played by Aidan Gillen (who we know well as Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones), is quite convincing in his wayward scientific quest. A good contrast to Gillen is Michael Malarkey, who becomes the embodiment of a military pilot accustomed to strictly following orders. In the story about the pursuit of a UFO, the female characters are no less interesting; Laura Mennell and Ksenia Solo are responsible for them – they also play on the contrast of opposites, maintaining decent intrigue.
Interestingly, the series was produced by Robert Zemeckis (director of Forrest Gump, Contact and three parts of the fantastic adventures Back to the Future). According to interviews with Zemeckis, he was drawn to the opportunity to take documents that were once highly classified and turn them into larger stories. A mix of documentary and fiction, in which you can give free rein to your imagination, is an excellent basis for the series. As evidence of this, Project Blue Book has been renewed for a second season, which is a good thing considering the potential for an open ending.
Project Blue Book is definitely worth a look for sci-fi fans (who can resist the X-Files comparison). The stylish presentation of the film, the atmosphere of the 50s and new stories in each episode – all this encourages you to watch episode after episode without being distracted by breaks.