Everybody loves a truth-seeker. Well, that’s not exactly true: Project Blue Book is fully staffed with sinister government officials who’d be perfectly happy to see Dr. J. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen) give up his search to figure out what’s really behind the UFO sightings sweeping the USA in the early 1950s. But that’s because they’re sinister and possibly evil. For the rest of us, Hynek’s science nerdery just gets more sexy every week. That’s right, we said sexy – and here’s why.
To be fair, that passion is largely for finding the truth about encounters with alien life. Every episode he’s out there trying to find out the truth, even when the truth is drunken hicks rather than creatures from another planet. You can’t fake that kind of passion, and people who care that deeply? Definitely sexy.
And while he’s driven, he’s not some single-minded crank; he’s listens, takes in what he’s told, and then acts on it. If it turns out an encounter is fake, he’s disappointed – but he accepts it and moves on with his life, already eager for his next encounter. Plus he’s no dummy; if smart is sexy, it doesn’t get much sexier.
He can handle a bromance
At first the relationship between Hynek and his alien-hunting partner Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) was all business. Hynek’s job is to investigate possible alien encounters; Quinn’s job is to make sure Hynek doesn’t start telling people aliens are real. Hynek’s the believer and Quinn’s the sceptic; that’s a gap that’s hard to cover.
But over the last season and a half, a real bond has developed between the two. Yes, there’s bickering, but it’s the kind you get from an old married couple. These guys are comfortable with each other, which is pretty impressive considering they’re dealing with mind-shattering revelations about humanity’s place in the universe. We’re calling it: bromance confirmed.
He opens up
It’s no surprise that over the course of the first season Quinn’s hard-line stance begins to soften (having an up-close encounter by the end of the first season didn’t hurt). By the second season Quinn’s starting to warm to Hynek – so much so that by episode four he opens up to him about his feelings for his new girlfriend.
Do things get awkward? Not with Hynek in charge. He leaps at the chance for a deep and meaningful chat, not only supporting his bestie but going deep himself, revealing just how much he still likes (as well as loves) his own wife of fifteen years. Emotional honesty? Consider that box ticked.
He pays attention
Nothing’s more sexy than a partner who pays attention. We already know Hynek is an attentive guy thanks to his ruthless search for evidence regarding alien encounters. You don’t dig up the kinds of facts he does without knowing what’s going on around you. But being attentive to signs of alien life is one thing; it’s when he turns those formidable skills towards other people that his real charm shines through.
During that deep and meaningful chat with Quinn, does Hynek just blather on about his own issues, unburdening himself at the expense of his friend? No sir: when Quinn starts talking about his new relationship, Hynek is sharp enough to dig down into his friend’s real fears and worries, and reassure him that he knows what he’s going through. It’s a moment of real connection between the two… and if Hynek seems a little smug about his ability to read people, well, confidence is sexy too.
One of the big developments in season 2 of Project Blue Book is that Hynek’s wife Mimi (Laura Mennell) is now on board with his search for the truth. So much so that she’s signed up with the local UFO encounter group to dig up information the government doesn’t have. She’s not exactly a polished spy – her cover’s blown pretty much right away – but she’s still giving it a solid try.
How does Hynek react when he finds out? Once again, he’s exactly the kind of partner you want in life: he supports her, encourages her, and even when she takes it too far – see episode 4, when he runs into her doing her own private snooping while he’s investigating an alien sighting in Hopkinsville – he doesn’t fly off the handle. He may be concerned, he may even want to protect her, but he knows she’s got to do her own thing. He’s even proud of the way she’s putting together her own set of clues.
He’s played by Aiden Gillen
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0:36 Us, the new horror/comedy movie from writer/director Jordan Peele (Get Out)
15:45 Project Blue Book, a series now on SBS and SBS On Demand, based on real UFO sightings in 1950s America
19:40 Interview with Project Blue Book star, Aidan Gillen
25:55 What Have You Been Watching? Hollow Man, Room 237 and Dumbo