This brief commentary is not meant to be a review of the new theatrical series launched on January 8, 2019 by History Channel built around the life of Dr J. Allen Hynek. Rather it addresses a point that is of particular importance for those individuals drawn to this series who have little or no idea who Dr. Hynek is or what he did.
I must admit to being a little conflicted, but I can deal with it. This series will introduce a legend within our community to millions of people over the coming months and years. History Channel has made a major commitment. Countless ads have been run on multiple networks including an ad during the College National Football Championship – not a trivial event. This is good.
Such a commitment costs a lot of money, and naturally there has to be a substantial return. That means a great deal of theatrical license is going to be taken. History Channel has done this with gusto and certainly will receive some criticism, but not from me.
That said, it is important to publicly point out the simple fact there is quite a gap between the theatrical presentation of Hynek’s life and the real life. It would be helpful if a fact vs. fiction page of quality was developed and updated as the series moves forward. Researchers and others might prepare for how they will respond to questions from the more confused viewers who watch and then Google.
Most importantly, however, is the need for a comprehensive documentary of quality covering the life and work of Dr. Hynek. Obviously this is a project the History Channel might want to commission.
Congratulations to all who helped bring this series to the screen and to Paul Hynek and the Hynek family for their permission and cooperation. A great man will begin to receive the credit and attention he deserves.
Now, lets move on to Dr. John E. Mack.
January 9, 2019