Thursday, January 31, 2008

History Channel's UFO Hunters - A Review

If you are confused by the two UFO Hunters shows, I discussed them in an earlier post. This entry reviews The History Channel's UFO Hunters, filmed under the working title, UFO Road Trip.

Last night's debut of the new, ongoing reality series, UFO Hunters, from The History Channel was pretty darned good. While the criticisms I've heard include how the foci of the show are older (and bad) actors, I did not find that distracting. It actually lent more credence to the whole thing for me; reality shows with polished performers can sometimes come across as manufactured, such as with Ghost Hunters' Live Halloween Special.

Don't get me wrong, I am not so naive as to think that reality shows are not staged, but those reality programs which are completely manufactured are pretty easy to see through (usually). The UFO Hunters just seemed a little too aware of the cameras, as well as themselves - and I noticed the same with Sci-Fi's cast, so it shouldn't be counted against them too much. I'm sure they will get better at the whole thing once they get used to it.

One of the selling-points of this series is the History Channel name and they definitely lived up to that much of it. The investigations were carried-out by professionals and were far more traditional in nature than those featured on similar investigative shows. These cats get down to the nitty-grit of microfiche, newspaper clippings, contacting living relatives, and the like. Of course, they viewed the scene of the investigation and searched for evidence there, but they were accompanied by an actual archaeologist who was also an expert on the geographical area in which they were investigating.

They did not just "troubleshoot" or "debunk" rumors and claims; they took the evidence into actual scientific labs and put them to the litmus test - literally! They did not prove anything concretely so much as lend credence to the possibilities others had forwarded; through scientific-based investigation, they showed that some of the "crazy" rumors and ideas that other investigators might have dismissed as "conspiracy theories" or "quackery" were at least theoretically valid. The criticism here could be that they worked to try and "prove" such things could be true more than they did to debunk anything, but I don't feel that way; it is simply a different approach to the matter. No matter how they went about it, there is no disputing that their investigation was scientifically-based.

And this old-fashioned detective work methodology paid-off in a big way for their investigation last night... even though they raised more questions than they answered. But, hey, that's what a good investigation should do, if nothing else!

While The History Channel's UFO Hunters might not appeal to younger viewers, it is definitely on the high-end of the scale for such reality programming. A bit slower-paced, more traditional in their approach, and far less flashy than competitors, UFO Hunters is a solid presentation. While similar groups investigate more recent cases, the UFO Hunters are dredging through older ones - cases which have received enough attention to be deemed truly "unexplained" - collecting new evidence and putting old clues together. Given the very nature of what they are doing, they stand a much better chance of uncovering some truly useful Ufological information than groups working on newer cases.

Recommended.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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