Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Demise of History's Project Blue Book


For those of you keeping score at home, you know that Project Blue Book was closed in 1969 after the University of Colorado study, known as the Condon Committee, determined that the Air Force had done a good job investigating UFOs, that UFOs posed no threat to national security and that nothing of scientific value could be learned by further research. Doesn’t matter that the truth is that the Air Force did a half-assed job, that elements of UFO research did affect national security and that there was scientific value of continued research, even that research only helped identify a new natural phenomenon.

But now we learn that Project Blue Book has again been closed and by that I mean that the History Channel’s (yes, I know the name is officially History but does that make sense without some sort of qualifier?) show, Project Blue Book has been cancelled. No more can we follow the ridiculous tales of Dr. J. Allen Hynek engaging in fist fights, Captain Quinn (who, I suspect was a stand-in for Ed
Captain Quinn, UFO Expert.
Ruppelt) flying missions chasing flying saucers, and Soviet aircraft equipped with atomic bombs crashing in Canada.

Though there has been speculation about the reason, I think ratings had something to do with it. In the second season, it seems that the ratings in that coveted 18-49 demographic (because those of us older than 49 apparently don’t have the disposable income to buy products or we’re so set in our ways that advertising won’t sway us), have dropped by just under 33% and overall the ratings are down nearly 22%.

Oh, there are some bright spots, and with Project Blue Book average just over 1.03 million viewers each week, I suspect the ad revenue just couldn’t keep up with the production costs. By contrast, Curse of Oak Island had nearly 3.5 million viewers.
But there is another problem. Those who visit here regularly know that in that first season, I was something of a champion of the show. True, they played with the facts, but I could separate the fact from the fiction and to be fair, their telling of the various UFO stories wasn’t completely off base. It seemed to inspire some to look a little deeper for information about the case presented. I noted this in other posts.

But the second season was completely outrageous. We had an Air Force general subjecting a witness to water boarding, we had Hynek and Quinn finding a huge “underground base,” and the story of the Roswell crash that was so fictionalized that it was nearly unrecognizable, not to mention that Roswell is not a case that was investigated by Blue Book. There is no Blue Book file on Roswell.

In fact, the final season was so bad that I simply stopped watching it. I no longer cared what they did, what their stories were, or how hard they attempted to bend their stories to make them seem as if there might be some semblance to a case in the Blue Book files.

Here’s something else. In typical Hollywood fashion, the writers thought they had to jazz up the stories to make them more interesting because what is a TV show without some murder, some gunfights, a car chase or two, and Soviet spies? I would think that a show about an investigation into the possibility of alien visitation wouldn’t need to rely on explosions and car chases to hold a viewer’s interest. We are talking about alien visitation after all. Surely there was enough in the Blue Book files to inspire some stories that didn’t rely on these tricks.

Sure, we’d expect some embellishments because what is Hollywood if not filled with embellishments? They can take any story that is exciting, interesting, and factual, and add something that they believe with enhance those traits, even when not needed or when they actually detract from the story.

But I digress…

The point is that Project Blue Book is no more. We just won’t get any resolution to what happened to Quinn or if the Soviets penetrated Blue Book to learn their secrets, or if Mimi Hynek ever figured out what was really going on. Personally, I don’t think the demise came any too soon. For me, the program just didn’t work any more and was doing more harm than good. Maybe, someday, someone working on a flying saucer story out there will ask for my advice on how these fictional accounts should be done… oh, they won’t listen, but it would be nice to be asked.

8 comments:

Snail Trail said...

It's sad. But hey, could you please help spread the petition? The fans are giving it a last effort, it would be great if you could help. Thank you in advance. https://www.change.org/p/save-project-blue-book-the-tv-series

speedymalone1962@gmail.com said...

You didn't believe Mrs Hynek would steal Air Force secrets and give them to her UFO club? Or her best friend was a Russian spy? Totally believable 😃

Snail Trail said...

Hehehehe... of course not. xD If that had happened, we would know everything already!!! No need for a fictional TV show then!
Project Blue Book is a fictional series slightly based of true facts, not a documentary. Still, a very enjoyable show and it's sad to see it cancelled.

RRRGroup said...

All sane UFOers, Kevin, applaud the demise of History's awful Blue Book series.

(A petition to revive it is the last gasp of ufological madness.)

RR

KRandle said...

Rich -

I debated about posting the petition, but then thought, "What the hell?" I don't think they can get enough signatures to make any difference and the show really doesn't deserve that sort of support. I thought it was sort of funny... kind of like those who thought HBO should redo GoT Season 8 (not that I would have objected, but after the big let down, I find I don't miss the series... maybe that was their plan all along).

Snail Trail said...

Thank you for debating about it.

Paul Kimball said...

Well, not every show can drone on as long as Curse of Oak Island. ;-)

Frank Adams said...

Not a moment too soon. That show flew off the rails really quickly. Now maybe they can go completely fictionalized and do a show on Majestic-12's supposed OPNAC BBS-1 team from the poorly written "field manual" (or was it supposed to be a TC?)

That might make something entertaining and wouldn't have one foot in reality and 3/4ths of the body in Science Fiction.