How much proof do you need before you start to believe? For the duo running Project Blue Book, the US military’s attempt to investigate UFO sightings in the 1950s, that’s not an easy question to answer.
Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen) believed the proof was conclusive right from the start – he’s the man who invented the “close encounter” scale. His partner, Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) has always been more sceptical, but that’s his job: to keep a lid on both UFO evidence and Hynek’s eagerness to believe. But as Project Blue Book enters its second season, the story isn’t about two partners on either side of the issue: it’s about just how high the cover-up goes.
Season 1 ended with UFOs flying over Washington, which you might think would have been a fairly definitive answer to the question “are UFOs real?” The twist with Project Blue Book is that all the investigations are based on actual cases from the real Project Blue Book – and yes, that means that a fleet of UFOs really were spotted flying over Washington in 1952.
In the real world, the US military’s explanation (which was basically that a temperature inversion caused multiple mirages) was enough to satisfy most people; on Project Blue Book, the search continues.
Season 2 begins in 1952 with Quinn hanging onto his scepticism by a thread after getting up close and personal with some unexplained phenomena in Washington. Their latest investigation isn’t going to help him any: the pair are off to Roswell to investigate a recent UFO sighting.
Hynek clearly isn’t going to be content to limit his snooping around the site of America’s most well-known UFO sighting to their current case, especially when it looks like they’ve been sent to check up on some burning tyres. He’s sure there’s more to the 1947 sighting than they’ve all been told – and when they find a mysterious box with “Harding” written on it, it looks like his suspicions are about to pay off.
General Harding (Neal McDonough) was the one who first put Project Blue Book together. He’s also the one who assigned Quinn to the job of keeping Hynek on a short leash. Harding and Hynek had their fair share of clashes during season 1, so it’s no surprise that Hynek jumps at the chance to dig into his past, especially when it turns out that it’s intimately involved with the original Roswell cover-up.
This season promises to continue the focus on exploring real-life UFO cases, with episodes looking at Area 51, the Men in Black (not the Will Smith version) and the notorious encounter with “little green men” at Hopkinsville. This deep-dive into UFO lore gives the show an offbeat edge not always seen in series about the supernatural; a lot of the real-life cases covered have the kinds of quirky details only real life can provide, even when real life involves getting up close and personal with aliens.
There’s also been some serious shifts in the home lives of both leads. Hynek’s wife Mimi (Laura Mennell) has now taken her own investigations to the next level, having taken on a fake name and infiltrated the Ohio chapter of the Citizens for Saucer Studies, a civilian organisation focused on alien encounters. She’s a handy back-up for Hynek, uncovering details the military would rather he didn’t, but undercover work is a tough gig and “Betty” is already pushing things to the limit – especially when the UFO group’s noisy leader comes a-calling.
Everyone’s favourite (former?) Soviet agent Susie (Ksenia Solo) is also back, and now she’s found herself a new interest: Quinn. It’s certainly possible that she’s given up her shady past and closet full of skeletons to settle down with a man she loves, but you wouldn’t want to put money on it.
That’s the fun of Project Blue Book: for a show seemingly laser-focused on UFO investigations, there’s always some drama going on to remind us they’re only human. Whether it’s Quinn’s torn loyalties between Harding and the truth he can’t deny, Hynek’s pride as his wife increasingly gets involved in his world, or the way the two men’s originally stand-offish relationship keeps slipping towards genuine friendship, this is a series with a real human heart. And a couple of alien ones as well.
Season 2 of Project Blue Book airs on Wednesday nights at 9:30pm on SBS and episodes land weekly at SBS On Demand. Watch episode 1 here:
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