Project Blue Book Season 1: The show doesn't always stick to the facts, and is all the better for it
The show tries its best to stay accurate to historical facts; but what also makes it interesting are the digressions it chooses to make from the true story
History's latest release, 'Project Blue Book' premiered January 8 and has already created a significant impact on viewers, with most of them upholding it in the league of the 90's hit, 'The X-Files.' While the similarities are aplenty, both in terms of characters and intelligent executions of the aliens and UFOs genre, the biggest contrast between the two shows is that 'Project Blue Book' is based on a real phenomenon.
Based on the real-life titular investigation undertaken by the US Air Force back in the 50s, the show tries its best to stay accurate to historical facts; but what also makes it interesting are the digressions it chooses to make from the true story.
Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, it doesn't come as a surprise that the show is an articulate blend of fact and fiction, knowing his affinity for plots encompassing the two. “That’s one of the things that really grabs me is starting with history and extrapolating events from that history,” Zemeckis shared with Deadline. “It makes things interesting to me when it’s all melted together. And that is why I fell in love with the pitch for Project Blue Book from the very start.”
By the looks of it, that is also one of the reasons why fans are going to enjoy the thrill of the show. Starring Aidan Gillen as Dr. J Allen Hynek - the only civilian involved in the real project - the show introduces the character as a cautious believer. As the show progresses, Dr. Hynek slowly begins to suspect he is roped into the investigation under a farce of seeking a scientific opinion.
In the show, Dr. Hynek eventually realizes he is being used as a pawn in a much bigger cover-up. But that's not how things went down in the real-life Project Blue Book. While each episode of the show draws substantial material from the now declassified files of the original investigation, it also creates a gripping concoction of myth and speculation surrounding the project, which had emerged as a result of the sudden spur in alien and UFO sightings back in the 50s.
In the series, Dr. Hynek comes off as a curious astrophysicist on board to explore the truth behind these sightings, whereas his compatriot, Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey), is a staunch disbeliever in the idea of extraterrestrial beings.
The character of Quinn was inspired by several Air Force captains involved in the real-life investigation, and is meant to represent the government's lack of faith in aliens, and also their supposed attempt at keeping the matter hushed.
The truth, however, is quite different. Quinn's character is believed to have been based on Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the first chief officer of Project Blue Book. And it was Ruppelt who had first coined the term UFO, or Unidentified Flying Object, as opposed to Dr. Hynek, who is credited as the one who coined it in the series.
A probable far-fetched speculation regarding why the show decided to turn facts around this blatantly would be to highlight the element of contrast between the polarized characters of Dr. Hynek and Captain Quinn. It offers room for friction between the two as they work hand in hand in investigating the alien sightings, and also leaves scope for some drama.
Does Dr. Hynek know how deep the conspiracy goes? Watch the premiere episode now: https://t.co/V24aXRBIEO and join the discussion live during the episode Tuesday at 10/9c. #ProjectBlueBook. pic.twitter.com/hzwz7C0Y1U— PROJECT BLUE BOOK (@HistoryBlueBook) January 11, 2019
Another noteworthy fact is that the real-life investigation was finally shut down after 17 long years because there wasn't enough evidence to support the claims of these alien sightings. But from the looks of the show - at least the first six episodes of it - Dr. Hynek seems to be on a path to glory that could very well end up in his favor - proving there was, in fact, some truth to these claims.
The epic finale of Project Blue Book's debut season is, of course, still a secret waiting to unfold, but rounding up the developments on the show so far, it does seem like this was Zemeckis' way of offering viewers the closure the real-life investigation could never provide.