Critical Condition: Project Blue Book

Project Blue Book | TVNZ OnDemand, from Wednesday

☆☆☆ “History’s new scripted drama is ‘based on true events,’ or at least the recorded instances of possible UFO sightings and the Air Force’s subsequent investigations during the 1950’s and ’60s … It digs into a specific and perhaps forgotten portion of history, brings it to life, and has fun while doing it. Even if the show has trouble finding its sea legs, it’s a perfectly fun bit of distraction that could find an admirable groove if it proves willing to take a step back and make some calculated adjustments.” — Variety.

☆☆ “This show’s inelegant writing and underdeveloped characters and themes keep it from rising to the level of greatness. The dialogue can be painful … The suggestion of a common thread connecting the red scare, the trauma of war and the ’50s science-fiction craze seems promising but, in the first six episodes, never evolves into anything more than a superficial motif.” — Time.

☆☆☆ “The series does some good work in reproducing the national mood of paranoia in early Cold War. That’s especially the case in the first two episodes, from Maleficent director Robert Stromberg, whose background in visual effects and production design is evident in nearly every heightened, painterly frame. Those opening episodes contain locations and set pieces that are, stylistically, beautifully realised even if the plot never kicks in.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

☆☆☆ Project Blue Book is a casually enjoyable period science-fiction series, easy enough to describe as a ‘fact-based’ cousin of The X-Files, minus that series’ winking self-awareness. It is a little dumb in a way that might or might not be intentional — it’s hard to tell — and too predictable to be really suspenseful, even when nominally suspenseful things are happening. But this means that watching is also a relatively stress-free experience, and there is something to be said for that.” — Los Angeles Times.

☆☆☆ “Creator David O’Leary’s History series tries to coast by recreating the facts and exploring how a skeptic might come to believe, … Whether it’s real or written doesn’t matter when overly familiar plots are acted out by cookie cutter characters. Project Blue Book feels like X-Files Lite, only with a whole lot of indistinguishable men — and all the women are stuck on the sideline.” — IndieWire.

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