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DVD Review

DVD cover

Dark Skies
The Complete Series


Starring: Eric Close, Megan Ward, J. T. Walsh and Tim Kelleher
Mediumrare Entertainment
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 12
Available 18 October 2010

Award winning series Dark Skies was a government UFO conspiracy theory based sci-fi drama from the US which originally aired in 1996 for 18 episodes plus a two hour pilot. It was one of the most imaginative TV series of the 1990s, an unusual and often scary blend of fact informed speculations and high drama...

Here is a great concept for a series; "History as we know it is a lie."

Take a good measure of the X-files and add just a twist of the past. Instead of taking two contemporary agents searching for the truth that is “out there” place them in the past, lets say the sixties; times of great change and recognisable historically figures, then unfold a dark alternative history of conspiracy and cover up. Throw in a historically world event. Add a strong measure of a fantastically long range story arc, which should take us to 1999 (two to three years in the future from the original screening) and advance each series through a decade or so to the turn of the millennium and beyond. Sounds great? It should have been. However, to date, only one series of Dark Skies made it to the screen.

The two hour pilot was missing from the preview package so beware of spoiler alerts from here on in. In short; our heroes John Loengard and Kim Sayers are charged by JFK to uncover and expose that aliens (the now obligatory Greys, see: Communion, X-files, et al.) have been amongst us since the 1940’s. The Greys are basically benign but are infested with a parasitic race called the Hive who are bent on Earth’s surrender and conquest. The cover up squad and “we are doing this for your own good” brigade are the covert ops group the Majestic 12. Loengard and Sayers are on the run avoiding the Hive and the reach of the omnipresent Majestic 12 and generally trying to right wrongs along the way.

So is it any good?

Perhaps this is a little unfair, as it started broadcast 7 years after Dark Skies, but we have all been spoilt by Lost. Love it or hate it, it is undeniable that Lost was able to create a sense of mystery. Who? When? Where did that come from? Who’s she again? These were all questions that Lost would throw up and probably not answer. Dark Skies feels like it should be a mystery show but far too much is answered quickly and simply. Some will love that. Me? I just feel this is a golden opportunity missed.

The earlier parts of the series holds the undoubtedly weaker episodes but they are not without flashes of genuine inspiration; a flash forward to a possible future where the Hive has won, is a stand out example. There is too strong a feel of trying to create a sense of the past on a budget. The episode with the Beatles is unintentionally funny to any British viewer (called “Dark Days Night", yes, really!) and the Jim Morrison episode will have you groaning into clenched fists with anger and bewilderment (Think Oliver Stone’s direct lift of lyrics for the “script” of The Doors movies and you will not go far wrong).

Then Jeri Ryan (of Seven of Nine Star Trek fame) makes an appearance and the series gets into its stride. It becomes a little more action packed, a little more kick ass, less po-faced serious and a lot more enjoyable.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Get through the early episodes and stick with it.


Dean Lester Smales

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