End of Season 1 on Project Blue Book

 DATELINE: They’ll be Back!

Season Ending 

Let’s end the suspense right now. The History Channel has renewed the series for ten more episodes next year. Phew! We were worried that they’d prefer more gold searches in remote places.

For the ultimate series finale, Project Blue Book goes for the jugular. No, not the aliens: the believers.

If anything has made an impression on us on the show, it has been the variety of uniforms that Air Force captain ‘Mike Malarkey’ as Quinn wears. It seems he has a wide-range to choose from.

Since major male TV characters tend to wear the same clothes every week, we are curious as to the Captain’s military wardrobe. He wears snazzy ‘50s  civilian wardrobe for the final episode. We have recently seen his regulation military underwear (just that white T-shirt) that has remained uncomfortable and ugly, as a fashion statement, since Roswell.

Wherever our two heroes go, space-shot aliens are sure to follow—even to Washington, D.C., where paranoid right-wing military Blue Book honcho Neal McDonough is having space kittens.

We do like the fact that Captain Ramrod Quinn is one of the few characters on television nowadays who smokes and drinks booze. We didn’t realize how much we missed this 1950s foible with political correctness everywhere.

Perhaps it is government budget cuts, but the show all season has had only one Man in Black. Of course, end of season may surprise us. It did not surprise with the lesbian subplot, of the two women watching Lucy and Ethel in a 1952 episode of I Love Lucy.

The Washington incident of 1952 occurred at night when a half-dozen UFOs shocked the United States, but here it is daytime—and Captain Quinn is going up in a jet to shoot them down.  At the same time, a heavy-set President Harry Truman shows up to give’em hell.

He is acquainted with Dr. Hynek. And the series episode is familiar with The Day the Earth Stood Still, which it copies.

After considerable hostilities, the two characters of Quinn and Hynek unbelievably seem to smooth things over. They must have heard there is another season on the horizon.

A small coda was clearly added after a decision to extend the series was made, trying to make a minor cliff-hanger.

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Blue Book Penultimate Abduction

DATELINE: Blue versus Green Book

nemesis  Gillen & Mularkey.

The series Project Blue Book is heading for the final round-up with an episode on alien abduction. What actually happens is that Blue Book Meets Green Book.

Yes, this is supposed to be a re-telling of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in 1961. It is so far off that even the year is wrong: the episode takes place in 1951.

Also, professional Barney Hill in this series comes off as a crazed, hostage-taking madman who happens to be black. The real Barney was nothing like this TV version, except that he was kidnapped and lost time. His wife is not with him for the encounter, and he draws the map of the universe that Barney’s wife actually recalled for scientists.

Even more peculiar, the show features Captain Quinn in his most unpleasant demeanor yet: we don’t recall a protagonist who exhibits racism as in this episode.

Granted, it might be part of the times, but Hynek is horrified by Quinn’s lack of care about a black man. Well, Quinn has a lack of care about everyone.

In one marvelous moment, the wife of the abductee takes Quinn down a peg. The moment is priceless, and the female soldier next to Quinn gives him such a look as to make everything worth it.

Project Blue Book is wrapping up, but the use of subtle racism echoes the Best Picture, Green Book, because the military headquarters of the project would not be a friendly spot for people of color, or aliens for that matter. The Russian spy/lesbian subplot has gone off its rocker as well.

Dr. Hynek (Aiden Gillen) finally has enough of the arrogant Air Force captain—and they literally come to blows in this episode. High time.

The series conclusion cannot come fast enough, likely with Harry Truman as a centerpiece, just to go out with historical inaccuracies galore.

Project Blue Book Plays Games

 DATELINE:  Bye-bye Birdie

Dead Birds  It’s raining dead birds!

Episode called “War Games” reportedly occurred during the Korean War when United States soldiers in a training mission claimed to be attacked by UFO lights. They suffered trauma, both physical and mental.

This is the premise of episode eight of the miniseries Project Blue Book. Where this is headed remains as mysterious as the weekly lights in the sky.

Of course, our intrepid and at-odds duo of oddball detective investigators are called in by their general bosses to solve the mystery. Captain Quinn and Professor Hynek continue to bicker over everything.

Neal McDonough as the house villain is given a bit more to do this time around, demanding that his investigators come up with answers and how to kill these threats to America. The men behind Project Blue Book cover ups even discuss the nuclear option.

One deranged soldier eschews protocol with the general officers, but he is cracking up and heating up. He seems to blow out the light bulbs above and heat the cup of coffee he holds. Yup, those aliens seem to be here.

Mike Malarkey has taken to barking orders at his professorial nemesis Aiden Gillen, who continues to ignore him. Their routine seems to have a begrudging respect, but who can really say?

The Hitchcock Birds seem to dominate this episode when the two men encounter flocks of starlings that do somersaults in midair where the platoon was attacked. Then, abruptly, in a “rain” of terror, dead birds pelt the two researchers.

We immediately thought of the CIA experiments with LSD on unsuspecting soldiers during the 1950s. Though this is never mentioned, it fits the final conclusion of our intrepid heroes.

Project Blue Book: Stick a Fork in It !

DATELINE:  Fork in the Series?

Fork in the series

Malarky & Weapon of Choice: his Fork.

Project Blue Book dealt with one of those deliberate hoaxes of the 1950s that Hynek exposed to the glee of his government sponsors.

“Scoutmaster” allegedly shot an alien while out on a camping trip with his Boy Scout contingent. Like all these tales, it is based on some kind of factual story.

This episode was intriguing because the series split up their tandem investigators. The generals pulled Captain Quinn (Mike Malarkey) out for some nasty bit of rogue operation.

Hynek was left to play Sherlock Holmes without his impediment Watson. And, beyond a doubt, Hynek (in the form of Aiden Gillen) showed he could carry the show with his professorial pedantry.

On this episode Hynek came up with the ridiculous explanation of swamp gas to explain strange lights in the sky. Not even the townspeople buy it in 1952.

As part of the investigation about the strange shaped cranium discovered at the site of the UFO encounter, he had to consult a tribal expert. He visited a Native American shaman (Graham Greene, who else?) for some answers to his UFO mystery.

On the other hand, the series seemed to show Quinn off to the most negative of all his bad qualities. Perhaps he will be written out or turned into some kind of righteous victim. His sado-masochism did not play out as heroic or tough-guy. We hope sincerely that he is abducted by aliens and used for sexual experiments.

The character is vicious and a thug in an Air Force uniform. He literally sticks a fork into someone. With only a few episodes left in the initial season, we are not quite sure what to make of his development.

In some ways, the series Project Blue Book is becoming rather unpleasant.

 

 

Bohemian Rhapsody Unwrapped!

DATELINE: Rami as Ghost of Mercury!

Rami.jpeg Rami as Freddie.

Is it a musical tragedy, or a concert biopic?  You might say it is a hard rhapsody to the kisser. And, it is director Bryan Singer’s best picture since Apt Pupil.

We were expecting the tale of squandered talent, losing to a hailstorm of hedonism. Instead, we were given the gift of seeing Rami Malek channel the ghost of Freddy Mercury to haunt us forever. Bohemian Rhapsody is worth every moment.

With some clever re-enactments of how the hits were designed and developed by Queen, all four members, you have interwoven built-in classic reactions of the time. The panning comments on the title song by original media critics is priceless and interspersed into the music.

Nor did we expect to see such intriguing supporting actors as Alan Leech (from Downton Abbey) and Aiden Gillen (now starring as Dr. Hynek in Project Blue Book). They bring gravitas to the queenly shenanigans of Freddy.

The notion that he was gay and it was his undoing during a bad time in history strikes us as impossible to accept. You mean no one knew he was gay—not even himself? We suppose self-knowledge is always a struggle. Rock Hudson in the news may have tipped off Freddie that he was in trouble.

Mercury was titanic and hit the iceberg of rock music.

His talent emerges like instant drink—and fizzles in a wave of self-indulgence. Unlike many other rock stars and prima donnas, Freddy Mercury has the wherewithal to see the error of his ways—and tries to repent with the famous Live Aid concert.

The media is once again a vicious dog that bites artists in the throes of creativity. It is delightful to see how some tunes were formed, like “Another One Bites the Dust”, or “We Will Rock You”.

The title tune comes in and out, but the finale, with all its morbid references to death, is “We are the Champions”, saved for the big finish.

Rami Malek is the show, man-tanned or not, and convinces you he is the genuine article. Add music and you have a masterpiece, but Freddy Mercury would not be surprised at all that his life and music survive and flourish.

 

 

From Blue Book to Green Balls of Fire

DATELINE:  Episode 6 of 10

sexy MalarkeySexy Malarkey.

Well, we’re back for nuclear tic-tac-toe with aliens and UFOs. This incident is based on truth that is out there, all you X-file fans. Is it our imagination, or is actor Mike Malarkey growing more attractive with each show? He is compelling as a foil to Aiden Gillen’s professor.

Indeed, in one scene, Hynek seems to break into some Hangar 18 where he has been given keys by Men in Black.  There you will find all kinds of vaults, files, and deposit boxes filled with UFO goodies. Is this based on truth, or other space shot documentaries?

In the meantime, in a subplot in a small corner of the universe, a beautiful Russian agent is trying to build a lesbian tie-in with Hynek’s wife. Is this based on truth too?

Green balls of light, purported meteors from a 1948 incident, were considered Soviet technology by some, and the government used a cover story of meteors to fool the public, yet again. The less fictionalized truth is delivered to us at the show’s coda showing that the real participants were not Hynek and Quinn, but two other, earlier researchers.

There is some fake Secretary of Something again in this episode, at loggerheads with the military, perhaps meant to be a version of Truman’s Secretary of Defense who leaped or was thrown from a secure hospital to his death (that may be a future episode).

He is co-opting Hynek (Aiden Gillen) from the generals and his partner, the ever-arrogant Captain Quinn (Michael Malarkey, too tough, chewing broken glass in most scenes).

If anything, the puzzling relationship of Hynek and Quinn continues to be at the heart of series: their hostility and mistrust of each other seems to be leading somewhere. Or, it could be just hanging there forever.

This episode’s Twilight Zone parallel featured a town of mannequins, weirdly using real people in pose and true mannequins in other scenes. Why?  Just to give us a chill, probably. It was not germane to the plot.

 

 

 

 

Project Blue Book Wins Over Fans

DATELINE:  Skeptic Hynek?

blue book

Though skeptical originally, we have had a change of heart. With the latest episode, “Lubbock Lights,” we have become addicted to Project Blue Book.

So, we will stick around for all ten episodes. The latest, the third one, is set in 1951 when dozens of witnesses saw multi-lights in the sky—and suffered a few other abysmal effects.

The government under Dr. J. Allen Hynek turned it into a bird watching scene, claiming street lights on the underside of plovers caused the panic.

Suffice it to say, Hynek (Aiden Gillen impressing again) does not believe it, but he is at the mercy of a government coverup that is swamping reasonable doubt. The subplots of his insipid family may be the biggest drawback so far.

This episode features Don Keyhoe, the original advocate for flying saucers in his early books—telling how the agents under MJ-12 tried to intimidate him. The future promises deeper exposing of Werner Von Braun, among others.

And, again, the spit polish pain in the rumble seat is none other than handsome, rigid, and aggravating Michael Malarkey as Captain Quinn who is more interested in career advancement than truth-telling.

We are completely impressed with the use of sparse artifacts from the early 1950s, that give us such a sense of the era. It is well-done with emblematic details.

Once again, the coda for the show is the documentary images of the real people involved in the case—and how their testimony was lost in a disinformation picnic by your government.

Project Blue Book Dramatized

DATELINE: Faux History?

mcdonough & malarkey McDonough (foreground).

History Channel occasionally veers off the reservation of truly documentary-style films with re-enactors, to dabble in actual fictionalized history. Welcome to Fake History that brought you fake Vikings from 1000 fantasy years earlier.

Project Blue Book is some kind of docudrama about one of the government’s hacks, Dr. Alan Hynek, who was brought on to cover up UFO activity, but became (so they theorize) a true believer, not a debunker.

So the new series will show how this progressed as Hynek begins to lose faith with his monolithic government and its attempt to stifle information to the public.

In the first episode the most compelling moment was to show MJ-12, the secret government overseers, watching The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1951.  It’s the best scene in the movie from Robert Wise’s brilliant sci-fi classic. It could only go downhill from there.

A pilot of an aircraft claimed to have been in a dogfight with some kind of light force UFO. Well, you have some hotshot firing at will at something he cannot identify. Hmmm. This may be a series about idiocy.

If this is meant to be convincing truth from the annals of UFOlogy, then they have pulled a rabbit out of their anal area.

Hynek (Aiden Gillen) is paired with a young, handsome, all-military obstructionist co-star (Mike Malarkey). That’s compelling if you like ratings beefcake. We cannot fault the actors (Gillen of Game of Thrones and Malarkey of Dracula Diaries, both of whom play American in reel-life only).  We will resist the urge to say this show is a bunch of Malarkey.

Neal McDonough is our favorite villain from Justified. Here he plays some kind of MJ-12 lackey. The stars surely deserve their paychecks from the government in script, or from the cable giant for on-air performing.

We are not sure that this mini-series can be sustained over the long haul, if that is even the intention of the producers. History Channel dabbles before diving into any new series, and this could take-off or it could be submerged into a USO.

We shall see if we will see another episode. There is no point in being hooked if History will leave us dangling. This limited series is scheduled for ten episodes.