Project Blue Book begins the journey of informed speculation


Project Blue Book premiered last night on the History Channel. The series is an intriguing mix of fact-based information from actual Air Force UFO investigations with a generous serving of well-crafted storytelling. For fans that miss The X-Files, meet your new series!

Some spoilers coming, so readers beware!

Dogfight over Fargo

Project Blue Book was a real program that our government ran in conjunction with the Air Force from 1952 until 1969. The objective of this initiative was to investigate UFO sightings and determine their validity. Out of the thousands of cases that were examined, 700 remain unsolved.

Now, these case files have been turned into a 10-episode series on the History Channel. The first episode, The Fuller Dogfight, premiered yesterday and almost immediately we hit the ground running.

Lieutenant Henry Fuller is logging some night time flying hours as he glides over a local football game in Fargo, North Dakota. When he is buzzed by what appears to be another aircraft, he radios the control tower at the Air Force Base to check on other planes in the area.

When he is told there is nothing on the radar, the pilot begins to pursue the Unidentified Flying Object. This UFO appears to be a huge, white ball of light. Each time Fuller approaches the orb, it blasts off and leaves him no other choice but to chase after it.

A dogfight ensues and the Lieutenant ends up narrowly escaping crashing his plane before getting picked up by a mysterious light emanating from the UFO. Meanwhile, this incident has been reported and has drawn the attention of Generals Hugh Valentine (Michael Harney) and James Harding (veteran character actor, Neal McDonough).

Shadowy Operations

Project Blue Book – Shadowy Operations 2 – Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel and the History Channel

The duo appears to be involved in a clandestine effort to study Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. For UFO aficionados, this will make them smile because it is a slight nod to the supposed shadow group the Majestic 12.  Rumor had it that this committee of military, science and government personnel operated under President Truman. Their function was to recover and study UAPs.

Harding and Valentine want to keep a lid on this encounter in Fargo for obvious reasons so they dispense one of their own to deal with the problematic issue. Enter Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey of Vampire Diaries) as their point of contact.

Quinn is given his marching orders to recruit Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen of Game of Thrones), a well-known astrophysicist and director of Ohio State University’s McMillin Observatory. Hynek was an esteemed scientist and the Air Force was hoping to use his credibility to debunk UFO cases.

Of course, the professor wants no parts of this government initiative and why would he? He is busy trying to obtain funding from the school for his satellite tracker. However, Quinn calmly explains that they need his expertise to debunk these UFO sightings that are causing mass hysteria and press coverage. This is unwanted attention when the country is in the middle of the cold war and an arms race.

After some persuasion and the guarantee of another paycheck, Hynek relents and joins the program eager to prove that UFOs don’t exist.

The Rabbit Hole

Project Blue Book – The Rabbit Hole 1.1- Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel – History Channel

However, as we begin to find out, the case involving Fuller is not going to be easy to dismiss or disprove. After their interview with the still traumatized pilot, they discover that his craft was taken over by the UFO and he heard the song, How High the Moon being played on his hometown radio station in San Diego.

Not to mention, the damage done to the underside of his craft and the extreme levels of radiation cause Hynek to think that some sort of encounter took place. Quinn, on the other hand, has to tow the military line and try to focus Hynek’s efforts into debunking the incident.

He tries to convince the professor that the UFO was a weather balloon (here we go again) just like Roswell. Hynek is too smart to buy that explanation so the pair take off in a plane to recreate Fuller’s flight plan complete with a weather balloon in place of the UAP.

Quinn ends up flying into the weather balloon and crashes his plane. Both men escape but while Hynek is struggling to be coherent after the accident, he notices a dark man in a fedora. Could this be a nod to the men in black?

On the Homefront

Project Blue Book – On the Homefront – Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel – History Channel

Hynek left behind his wife Mimi (Laura Mennell) and his son to investigate this case. Life goes on as usual but while Mimi is shopping in a department store, she bumps into Susie Miller (Ksenia Solo). The pair become fast friends.

Susie attaches herself to Mimi immediately which seems a bit odd not to mention uncomfortable. Does she have pure intentions or is their something deeper at work?

The Rabbit Hole 2

Project Blue Book – Rabbit Hole 2 – Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel – History Channel

Allen is recuperating in the hospital after his ordeal. Quinn only has a broken arm. The two chat and Hynek expresses his doubts arguing that the case should not be closed. They go back and forth until the professor pulls away to phone his wife.

While he is at the nurses’ station, he notices a log and sees that Fuller is in the same hospital. Hynek sneaks off to speak with the Lieutenant. What he uncovers is extremely troubling to him.

While Hynek is interviewing Fuller, Harding shows up. He dresses Quinn down for the airplane stunt and then gives him an order to close the case.

When Quinn and the professor get together again after debating on their findings, they both discover that something happened to Fuller. However, Hynek agrees to shut the file down.

Going Back

Project Blue Book – Going Back – Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel – History Channel

While the professor is driving home on a remote road, he is being tailed by another vehicle who rams into the back of him. Hynek pulls over onto the side of the road, the vehicle passes and he starts pursuing the driver ending up in an abandoned amusement park.

Once there he is led to a room in one of the buildings where he sees a film of numbers and strange symbols with children counting in some sort of sequence in the background. After that disconcerting “meeting,” Hynek resumes his journey.

Upon his arrival and after he spends time with his family, he retreats to his den to study the weird symbol and the sequence of numbers. He telephones Quinn letting him know that he thinks there is more to this report than meets the eye. However, he tells him to close the case despite verifying that the San Diego radio station was playing How High the Moon at the exact time Fuller said he heard the song.


Project Blue Book – Epilogue – Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel – History Channel

Harding and Valentine are troubled by the whole turn of events because they know that Fuller’s encounter wasn’t something that could be debunked. After a vague discussion of what to do with the young Lieutenant who happens to be a World War II hero, you see orderlies retrieve Fuller, inject him with a needle and cart him off to God knows where.

We also find out that Mimi’s new friend, Susie may not be what she seems…

The Verdict

Kudos to the History Channel for a perfect marriage of documented facts and dramatic license. Project Blue Book is what fans of The X-Files need at this moment in time to take the sting away from the show ending. The executive producing team assembled with this series is impressive.

Robert Zemeckis who is known for sci-fi with his Back to the Future franchise as well as the movie Contact (based on Carl Sagan’s book about the search for other lifeforms in the universe) helms the show along with Jack Rapke, his frequent partner.

Harley Peyton, who will also pen some episodes for Project Blue Book is a fan favorite having been a producer on Twin Peaks as well as Channel Zero.

The creator of Project Blue Book is David O’ Leary. Combining all of this talent in the writer’s room plus the actors is what makes this series a compelling watch. Aidan Gillen who fans remember from his turns on Game of Thrones and The Wire, is thoroughly believable as Dr. J. Allen Hynek.

His chemistry is also evident with Michael Malarkey as Captain Michael Quinn. This is what will make viewers continue to regularly tune in. They play well off one another. You can definitely see that despite their different agendas, they will turn out to be each other’s best asset.

Project Blue Book is must see, appointment television!

Next. UFOs: Luis Elizondo hints that 2019 might be the year of disclosure. dark

You can catch the show every Tuesday on the History Channel at 10 p.m.

Did you know about Project Blue Book? Do you believe in UFOs? Feel free to share your comments in the section below. We want to hear from you.