Saturday, November 08, 2008

For Better or For Worse?

UFO Hunters
By Frank Warren
© 11-7-2008

     After enduring the first season of UFO Hunters, it’s safe to say that I am no fan of the show by any means; in fact, some might argue that I’m their worst critic! Our regular readers will recall that with the airing of the premiere in the beginning of the year, I described the show using terms such as “poor research,” “outlandish,” “far-fetched,” “despicable” and “ad nauseum!”

Nevertheless, I will give credit (at least in part) where credit is due: it seems to me the producers have been listening; there has been somewhat of a makeover of the show in its totality; one that hopefully doesn't just pertain to single episodes; gone was the campy "superhero like" meeting at Birnes' office; similarly, rather then the back 'n' forth dialogue between the stars of the show, they addressed the camera, i.e. the audience, which somewhat melded with the narrator; same can be said for the guest stars e.g., Maranto etc.

It looks as if the producers we're trying to revert back to a more conventional "docu-style show," in contrast to a reality type show. The "flashy" (for lack of a better term) music and sound effects, as well as “camera effects” were still there, which to me was/is a distraction; however, one has to realize the demographic they're going after, and although the so-called "science projects" were still in play, (at least in the first episode re Tinley Park) the "mad scientist" as I called him last year was absent; for that matter the "team was a little lighter altogether.

Bill BirnesBirnes' presence in general seemed to be downplayed in the first two episodes, (in contrast to last year) and nothing against Birnes, but I feel this is a good thing! Last season’s theme seemed to be “more about the team” then the subject matter—this has clearly been changed.

In the first episode, regarding the “Tinley Park case”, I felt the so-called "science" end of it was weak (which is a step up from last year) and this sighting can be chalked up to a hoax (which is really irrelevant as far as the "quality" of the show goes). I believe the lights were in fact "flares" attached to balloons, "free floating" launched at equal intervals. The guest (expert) who looked at the film (on camera, it seemed to be “one” in particular) I feel was wrong in his assessment about the lights "being fixed"; moreover methinks that analysis of "all the films" would have bore that out.

Additionally, the purported "scientific test" was flawed from the start given the notion that proceeds from the mindset that the lights were "fixed together." Moreover, to let the witnesses "watch" the "flare launch" wasn't too prudent, and only tainted the so-called experiment (by biasing the witnesses).

I feel that if the balloons had been launched say a minute a part (independently) and then viewed at the approximate same distance it would at least been enough to give the witnesses pause, in regards to what they saw. There are numerous examples of flares, and lately the "Chinese lanterns" in the UK, that are eerily similar in appearance and of course "naturally" form geometric patterns in small numbers, e.g., 3 or 4. The last sighting in Phoenix was an excellent example of that, which in my view looked "exactly" like the "Tinley lights"; there is video of that (like Tinley) and the perp is on film admitting guilt to the hoax (balloons and flares) along with his neighbor as a witness.

All and all I gave the first show a "C," which is a vast improvement of last year's premiere.

The second episode entitled, UFO Emergency stayed within the same framework as the first, less any pseudo-science.

UFO Hunters TeamOne thing that remains this season, which some may accuse me of being too cavil, is the slipshod appearance of the investigators; Ufology in general has an “uphill battle” in regards to being taken seriously, not only with mainstream science, but the media and public in general. “Blue jeans, tee shirts and ball caps” are what a ditch digger “appropriately” wears to work, not an investigative team whose hallmark claims to be “scientific, analytical research” to uncover the mysteries of the UFO phenomenon.

For all that, I must admit the show has improved somewhat from last season, but more importantly is the “effort to do so.”

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