Dark Skies
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Dark Skies

There is a theme that pervades almost every aspect of our modern society. This somewhat unusual vantage point that some people have profoundly affects not only how they view the world but frequently drastically alters every interaction they have within our culture. This powerful force is not a religion although to many of its adherents it is on par with the all consuming influence experienced by the most fervent zealot. This powerful force results in controversies that span decades and influence governments; conspiracy theories. A good friend and I constructed a variation of an old adage we call Occam’s phaser; ‘the most unlikely explanation is true and if you don’t believe it then they have already gotten to you’. There are more conspiracy theories flying around than is possible to keep track of. Although such theories have been around for many years the explosive use of the internet has provided the richest possible growth medium for such theories, rumors and innuendo resulting in a vast amount of information and data available for anyone with a few minutes and internet access to peruse. Now it is easier than ever to jump on the bandwagon for existing conspiracy theories or start your own on your personal blog. Aside from the ‘X Files’ television has pretty much steered clear of tackling these theories but there was one notable exception that is now making its entry to the DVD market; ‘Clear Skies’. For those that track these theories this series represents a sort of grand unification template tying together most of the major conspiracy theories of the twentieth century together under one grand explanation. While this is the Holy Grail of sorts for the theorist community the more important aspect of the show is it was exceptionally well crafted and highly entertaining. The unfortunate side of thongs is it was quickly cancelled after only the 19 episodes of the first and only season. Perhaps the writers uncovered something too close to the truth, you never know.

The creators of this series were Brent V. Friedman and Bryce Zabel. Friedman worked on several short lived series including ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ while Mr. Zabel went on to produce ‘M.A.N.T.I.S.’ and ‘The Crow: Stairway to Heaven’. A common thread binding these series together was a loyal fan base derived from the potential they held and the fact that they became offerings at the altar of cancellation before their time. At least this show can live on through the merits of this complete series DVD box set. Like many worthwhile series this one has a simple premise. At least when stated outright it gives the appearance of being simplistic. Almost all of the post world War two history you were taught or heard about in the news is a lie. It is all a contrivance instigated by the American Government in order to cover up one of the most historically significant events in the history of the world; we are not alone in the universe. Intelligent extraterrestrial life not only does exist they have been on our planet since the late nineteen forties. In some fashion the series attempted to extend the paranormal trend on television advanced by the key stone series ‘X Files’ and the less popular but still cult followed spin off, ‘The Lone Gunmen’ and Millennium’. It certainly wasn’t for lack of quantity either in production or acting but the show was in advance of its time. This does seem to be common place for shows present on the lamented brilliant but canceled list.

The viewpoint for this alternate telling of history is through the eyes of a young couple, John Loengard (Eric Close) and his girlfriend Kim Sayers (Megan Ward). As the tale gets under way they have just relocated from California east to Washington D.C. so John could take a position in his new career as an aide for Congressman Charles Pratt (John M. Jackson). Being of low ranking John is assigned to a minor budget oversight committee handling the finances of some little programs off the conventional track. One of the has the innocuous name of Project Blue Book dealing with the seemingly ridiculous mandate of investigating the possibility of alien life forms and the growing number of flying saucer sightings. Although skeptical of the focus of the programs John is diligent with his responsibilities and goes to interview Barney and Betty Hill, a couple claiming to have been abducted by extraterrestrials. The use of real historical characters like the Hills is a major plot device used in the series and helps to convey a sense of historical gravitas that carries the series. Kim also finds herself in a new job that would pull her into an unseen historical turmoil. She finds work in the White House under the administration of the newly elected President, John F. Kennedy. John finds himself approached by a mysterious Navy Captain Frank Bach (J.T. Walsh) who has been involved with UFOs for a number of years. He brings John into the covert organization, Project Majestic. The project is so top secret that the new President isn’t aware of its existence. Kim is in the dark about John’s real job believing his constant travel to be a cover for an affair. This was a radical departure from most television series putting a suspicious wedge between a romantically link couple cast as the protagonists.

Through the short run of the series the conspiracy theories behind the Kennedy assassination, Gary Power’s spy plane over the Soviet Union and the civil rights movement are neatly bound together instigated by vast cover-up of the Hive, extraterrestrials using human hosts to further their diabolical plot to take over our planet. The series was ahead of its time blending actual history against a background of a smartly written and very nicely executed series that in many ways was just too intelligently presented to survive. One of the best things about this DVD is you can fully immerse yourself in the show by having a little marathon of episodes.

Posted 01/15/11

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