Thursday, March 14, 2013

Alien Mysteries: I Was Wrong

With regards to Alien Mysteries, Discovery's terrific new sci fi series I have to make a confession.
I was wrong.
The new show opened on one of the busiest weekends of the TV season and I had to drop one series to get everything in.
So I ignored Alien Mysteries and boy was I mistaken.
"You blew it this time," said a little old lady in the coffee shop I sometimes frequent.
And she's right.
I've been playing catch up with this show ever since.
I knew after watching a few episodes that I had missed one of the creative wonders of the season.
The title seems to imply another cheesy show about aliens all done up in the panoply of reality TV.
But this has to be one of the most expensive productions Discovery has ever attempted.
The CGI effects are as good as in any blockbuster movie courtesy of EPI (Exploration Production Inc.) and green screen techniques created by Toronto's Acme Digital Pictures.
What the show does is dramatize actual encounters each within the space of an hour. These are all first person accounts and most can be verified by other people or government agencies.
The dramatic reenactments are deliberately toned down without any of the screechings found in most sci fi movies. And this makes each tale all that more frightening.
First up there was the experience of Matthew Reed of Brownsburg, Indiana in 2009 who followed a strange light when driving home. When he woke up hours later he was bloodied and his SUV a wreck.
The first one was partnered with the story of residents of Stephenville, Texas, in 2008 who witnessed the lights of a huge aircraft that was subsequently chased by F-16 fighters across the sky.
The next two on the next week were even better: British Columbia housewife Corina Sabels in 1991 witnessed a huge spaceship hovering over her Aldergrove home. And the fourth hour looked at the sighting of an UFO on Christmas 1980 by U.S. airmen in England's Rendelsham Forest.
This Sunday at 8 there are the final two hours with the best reserved for the last.
Bucks County is the title of the hour looking at resident Denise Murter who awakens to see a huge spaceship hovering over her back yard.
The technicals are amazing and the way the drama is directed you'll fully believe in her encounter.
As with all the segments a wide range of experts tells us all the possibilities but never is there any sensationalism and that makes the hour compulsively watchable.
And the finale at 9 looks at the strange events in December 1965 in the tiny village of Kecksburg Pennsylvania as 16-year old Stan Gordon and veteran Bill Bulebosh witness a fiery object streaking through the night sky only to crash in the woods. NASA officials are soon on the scene trying to suppress all details of the encounter.
In telling these stories there is absolutely no effort to explain away or debunk the stories.  Each tale is extremely personal and became almost life altering for the participant.
The interviews with the real participants make the story --it is not effects driven but the startling images add a depth to each tale never seen before on TV.
Discovery has a real big hit on its hands --surely a second season is already being planned.
MY RATING: ****.

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