We couldn't help but laugh out loud at the newest History Channel TV show, UFO Hunters . . .

Schadenfreude is the most base of human emotions.

However, this particular reviewer couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the so-called “UFO hunters” of the new History Channel show of the same name desperately clasping at straws towards the end of the pilot episode. That was when it became apparent that, well, they had nothing. No evidence of the existence of UFOs whatsoever. The words “could” and “inconclusive” were bandied around simply too much to prove anything.

This is after running around an entire episode of 50 minutes or so trying to collect “UFO slag” samples from the bottom of the ocean near Washington Bay and pointlessly rushing from one point of the map to the other in their black SUV to solve a sixty years old UFO sighting. Best of all is their “HQ”, which is portentously located in an astronomical observatory. Keep watching the skies, indeed. In one particularly funny sequence they are going through some newspaper clippings on microfiche from the 1940’s dealing with UFO sightings at their local library, excitedly exclaiming how this all validates their search for the existence of UFOs. At any stage I expected one of them to cry out “Quick! To the Batcave!”

So don’t believe a single word of the show’s press. UFO Hunters, the press release informs us, “follows a group of experts as they subject some of history’s most intriguing UFO accounts, and the evidence surrounding them, to exhaustive scrutiny in an effort to uncover the actual facts.”

Some “experts”! Not a single UFO sceptic was on display, but this should come as no surprise by now. UFO believers always complain that they are being short-shrifted by the media, but have you ever watched a fair-minded documentary on UFOs in which real scientists such as Carl Sagan or perhaps Richard Dawkins were allowed some screen time in which to question the existence of UFOs? Of course not.

"The sort of camerawork that will have you rolling on the floor having an epileptic seizure . . ."

Instead we get the one sensationalist “UFOs are real and abducted your dog last night!” “documentary” after the other. Always much more exciting to give credence to the existence of unlikely phenomena such as ghosts, UFOs and the Loch Ness monster than to admit to the fact that the odds of any civilization having the technology to travel the enormous distances between star systems are very, very small. And if they did, that they would probably wouldn’t bother anally probing some redneck hick.

So it was kinda depressing to see a respected channel as such the History Channel screening the usual hysterical UFO agitprop stuff you’d find on any other American TV station. Aren’t they supposed to be vaguely objective? But you know that all notions of objectivity are thrown out of the window when all the “experts” featured in the show happen to be the editorial staff of the longest running print UFO magazine called just that, UFO Magazine.

If they wanted some credibility how about throwing in at least one Scully to all the assembled Mulders? Probably because then viewers would realize what a bunch of bullshit it all really is and switch channels. Thus not one editorial staff member of, let’s say, Scientific American was on display. . .

Despite its one-sidedness, the show is also an ordeal to watch. Add to your standard portentous voice-over narration, the sort of editing and camerawork that will have you rolling on the floor having an epileptic seizure, and you’ll be reaching for your remote in no time to see what else is on. Better yet to switch it off and read something, preferably Carl Sagan’s chapter on UFOs in his book Broca’s Brain than watch this load of old slag . . .


The series is a spin-off from the network’s hit program UFO HUNTERS which premiered in 2005. The new HD series UFO HUNTERS airs Wednesdays at 10pm/9c on The History Channel.




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