Project Blue Book follows Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen) who is a college professor recruited by the U.S. military to investigate UFO sightings around the United States. While his new partner, Air Force Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) tows the official government line that all of the sighting can be explained away, Dr. Hyneck sees that there is something more than weather balloons and owls mistaken for aliens and spacecrafts. While Project Blue Book is a fictional show, it is based on true events and real people. This is a realm that the History Channel has ventured into over the past few years.
While Dr. Hyneck is away on assignment, his wife Mimi (Laura Mennell) begins to spend time with a new friend named Susie (Ksenia Solo) who she met while shopping at a local department store. While Mimi is subdued and living the routine life of a housewife, Susie is elegant and fiery, and living a life of adventure. This access to fun and excitement is intriguing to Mimi, but Susie is not who she appears to be. She has another agenda outside of friendship.
These main plot points are only the beginning of the series which take the audience in and out of secret places and dangerous spaces throughout the 10 episodes.
I do not want post specific spoilers about the season but the show does address a lot of known UFO lore. The season deals with government cover-ups, blackmail, the communist threat, the ability to communicate with aliens, sacred geometry, and of course the Nazi space program. And while I know these concepts are a big part of the UFO community, their inclusion in the series feels too on the nose in many places. There are also a lot of scenes that play on TV and film tropes that audiences have seen too many times.
Project Blue Book also doubles up on the paranormal experience scenes. The audience sees it first through the eyes of the witnesses and then second through the eyes of Dr. Hynek. For me, it was too much and also led me to wonder if the audience was supposed to believe that Dr. Hynek has clairsentient powers.
On a non-alien front, there are also themes throughout the first season that deal with gender roles and the patriarchy. And while I know there have been women fighting the patriarchy and breaking out of the social construction of gender roles for centuries, some of Mimi’s actions don’t feel true to her character.
While the overall plot of the program is intriguing, the pacing of the show is slow and it feels like at times that show runners really want to make sure you get what is happening in each scene. While I am not a fan of overly fast edits and pacing, this show could pick up the pace. It made me feel like the there was not a clear demographic for Project Blue Book. While the show could use better pacing, the cast are all powerful players.
The opening credits of the show are very reminiscent of the TV series In Search Of and I don’t think the homage is a coincidence. For fans of UFOlogy, the episodes correlate to some very famous cases such as The Lubbock Lights and Operation Paperclip among others.
Project Blue Book has been renewed for a second season. I hope that the show can pick up the pace a little and turn the corner from an okay show into a great show. Season 1 is out on Blu-ray and DVD.