Thursday, January 9, 2014
Close Encounters Takes UFOs Seriously
First surprise about the new series Close Encounters is how well made it is and relatively gimmick free.
Second surprise is that it is made by Toronto-based Newroad Media.
So mark it as quality Canadian content outer space style.
The first two episodes air back-to-back on Friday January 10 at 10 p.m. on Discovery Canada and you won't be able to turn away once you start watching.
Each episode has two stories to tell. Packing in each encounter at a tight 11-12 minutes is a mighty editing feat in itself.
Dramatic recreations are a big part of each story and are told from the view of the people who sighted the phenomenon. But also incorporated are the reports by veteran experts like Leslie Kean, Nick Pope and Kevin Randle.
Lets' take the first episode: the first true story Northern Lights took place on December 11 1996.
Two cousins Billy and John Smith were zooming along the Klondike Highway in the Yukon when they saw what seemed to be a tremendous space ship so huge it was the size of three football stadiums.
More than 30 other people in the area that snowy night also saw it including a couple on the other side of the lake.
Technical details are excellent here and the reports from the experts indicate something troubling indeed happened in the sky that night.
The second story is just as intriguing --Faded Giant, March 24 1967 which looks at the strange events at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Deputy Commander Robert Salas received the alarm from guards on duty who spotted a huge YFO overhead. At the same time the base's ICBMs went out of commission and could not be re-activated.
It is a story that the U.S. Air Force later refused to confirm or deny.
Episode 2 starts with Fire In The Sky, December 9 1965 when rural volunteer fireman Jim Romansky is called out late at night to investigate a plane crash.
Near Kecksburg he discovers a huge object in an acorn shape that glowed mysteriously. Later that night U.S. military officials cordoned off the site and ordered all participants not to discuss the case.
And the last Arizona Objects, March 13, 1997 happened on the night the Hale-Bopp comet was circling the night skies.
Many observers saw V-shaped objects in the sky and some of these craft flew extremely low over the suburban homes. Those who watched felt strangely peaceful as if the mysterious strangers were sending down thought waves telling them not to worry.
The four stories are all expertly recreated by actors. But there's nothing here that sensationalizes the first person accounts.
Rather viewers must make up their own minds.
And you can do further research into the cases at Discovery.ca/Close Encounters. Got that?
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS PREMIERES FRIDAY JANUARY 10 ON DISCOVERY CANADA AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***1/2.