History's 'Project Blue Book': Review, cast, plot and everything you need to know

Dr. J. Allen Hynek managed to leave behind a heavy legacy after his death in 1986, and it is now up to the new show to showcase his involvement with the project, which lasted 17 years, from 1952 to 1969. But that definitely is not all that is exciting about 'Project Blue Book.' 

                            History's 'Project Blue Book': Review, cast, plot and everything you need to know

A blast from the past should perhaps be the History Channel's motto, and things are set to get way more thrilling and enticing, with its upcoming show 'Project Blue Book.' With just a couple of weeks remaining before the big release of the drama -- in early January 2019 -- the show, created by David O'Leary, will follow Dr. J. Allen Hynek and his tumultuous encounter with the titular new initiative by the United States Air Force.

Hynek - a family man, college professor, and an astrophysicist - reportedly devoted his career to all things extraterrestrial. Charged with the title of the only civilian involved in Project Blue Book and dedicating his life to explaining the unexplainable, Hynek managed to leave behind a heavy legacy after his death in 1986, and it is now up to the new show to showcase his involvement with the project, which lasted 17 years, from 1952 to 1969. But that is definitely  not all that is exciting about 'Project Blue Book.' 

For starters, playing the lead role of Hynek will be Aidan Gillen. The name sounds familiar if you are a 'Game of Thrones' fan -- he plays Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish -- and that is just one of the thrilling aspects of the show. As director O'Leary pointed out to Entertainment Tonight, we see Gillen in a completely different avatar than what we are used to from his GoT days. Yet, "the wheels are always turning", notes O'Leary about the similarity between Gillen's GoT character and Hynek. "So many people saw 'Game of Thrones' and a character that's cold and manipulative," he explained, adding: "It'd be nice to be known, hopefully, for not as a scheming evildoer."


Another detail about the upcoming show is how impeccably true to the time period the plot unfolds. Despite the first season taking place between the fall of 1951 and 1952, there are certain references to the near future and past too, and that's what makes the show, which is based on real cases of over 12,000 sightings that were reported to the Project during its time. While O'Leary assures he picked the 'juiciest' ones out of them, he would also like viewers to know that "the most important thing, for me, is that people, in every episode, they can look back and be like, 'Oh my god, This is what that was'!" 

Extensive detailing and research has gone into the show to make sure it's historically accurate. "I think that's part of what we want to do, constantly remind people that while we're dramatizing aspects of the show, obviously, for the human storytelling and things like that, all the cases, all the weirdness and all the spookiness is rooted in real-life historical events and real-life reports and physical, tangible things you can find online and in history," O'Leary explained, citing the panic the summer of 1952 seemed to shroud itself in with people reporting abductions and several mysterious orbs of light that appeared for two consecutive weekends in the Washington, D.C. area. 


While to some 'Project Blue Book' may seem like your run-of-the-mill X-Files rip-off, O'Leary blazes a new path by incorporating gripping family drama and character development. In Gillen's own words to ET, "It's a saucer drama, true." Yet there's way more going on. For example, there's the addition of Captain Michael Quinn who is sort of like Hynek's on-screen partner. Played by 'The Vampire Diaries' actor Michael Malarkey, the character is based on a real-life Air Force captain who was in charge of the project. The new twist? O'Leary himself changed the character's name to help him appear as a more suitable partner of Hynek's, character-wise. "He's a straight-up Air Force-type guy," Gillen told the outlet about Quinn, as compared to Hynek's quirky traits. "[But] they play well off each other, you know?"

Of course the secret ingredient is added in the form of Hynek's home troubles revolving around his wife, Mimi (Laura Mennell). "She isn't the normal wife character you see in a lot of these period shows, where she's maybe the sidekick, a 1950s housewife. I love that she has her own arc, and as much as she loves her husband and her son, I think she feels a little stagnant in her domestic duties of that time period -- like a lot of women would have," Mennell told the same outlet. "She's missing something, and maybe feels a little bit lonely."


And for those tired of the family drama and the overexposed genre of space and aliens in modern-day TV, there's a questionable, but interesting twist in the form of Susie (Ksenia Solo) who is a Cold War Russian spy. "Susie is the catalyst for so much change in Mimi. Susie is the ideal woman of the 1950s. She's so many things that Mimi isn't. She's confident, she's glamorous... [but] she helps Mimi come into her own and feel stronger and more assertive, despite the chaos around her," Mennell shared. "They just have a lot of fun, and [Solo and I] do in real life, too. It's been great." 

What's more? The upcoming show even has the real-life Hynek family's nod of approval and support in the form of  Hynek's sons, Paul and Joel, who are on board as consulting producers on the series. So brace yourselves to be absolutely amazed, and honestly, a little bit creeped out by all the shiny orbs, eerie creatures, and the truth behind everything through the eyes of Hynek.

'Project Blue Book' premieres Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History. 

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.