The "New" Unsolved Mysteries – A Needless Analysis

So it’s come to this. We’re not only retreading old movies, but now old defunct “reality” television shows.

Remember Robert Stack? I bet you do. And I bet I know where you remember him from. You might remember him from Airplane, sure, but chances are what immediately springs to mind is Unsolved Mysteries. It only ran for frigging 15 years.

Well, last night I managed to catch a bit of the newly relaunched Unsolved Mysteries while I was studying. Brand new host, brand new stories. Really? Let’s take a look at what they covered.

1) Various unsolved disappearances, murders, etc.
2) The ever relevant and topical issue of the death of Elvis — accident or suicide?
3) An alleged UFO sighting. [Note: I’m pretty sure this is the one, based on the description in the show, but admittedly I don’t remember the name of the town so it’s possible I am wrong. But I’m 99% sure this is the sighting they were describing.]

So the best they could do in 2008 is continue the trend of sneaking pseudoscience and paranormal garbage in with perfectly reasonable “mysteries” such as a disappearance, theft, or death. And what they decided to stick in was something irrelevant about Elvis and a UFO story from 1965 as told by two eyewitnesses who were children when the event occurred and who even describe it themselves as looking like a meteor.

Well, I guess some things never change.

Comments on 2) — Is the way Elvis died really relevant anymore? I mean, does it change anything if he died on purpose or by accident given that it happened so long ago and the outcome is the same (i.e., it’s not like their searching for some unknown murderer)? So, it escapes me why they would bring it up again in 2008.

Comments on 3) — The UFO story was just pathetic. I mean, I watched this show as a kid and they had me roped right into this stuff. However, I was just a dumb kid so what did I know? But even so, watching it last night, it seemed like they weren’t even trying anymore. It was laugh-out-loud hilariously bad.

Two men describe seeing a fiery object in the sky land in the woods a bike-ride away. They go to the site later and the military tells them to get lost due to a “quarantine” [educational note: quarantine does not necessarily mean weird or diseased, just sequestered for some reason]. So obviously if the American military was involved, were secretive (imagine that), and they issued a quarantine of the area it had to be that the object was an alien spacecraft. Also because the object appeared to be moving “too slow” and seemed to turn in midair, according to eyewitnesses.

There is no other reasonable explanation and anyone who denies that it was aliens is just being a stupid shithead government tool.

Or maybe one (with faulty eyewitnesses) or multiple (thus explaining the apparent change in trajectory) high altitude meteor(s) was/were spotted that night and the military tracked it and went to investigate, thus quarantining the area to prevent contamination of the samples or having little children get injured by being near a big, hot space rock. Or it could have been a downed satellite and they didn’t want people to see it or know about it.

No, it was aliens. If it wasn’t aliens, the military would have just said so, right? Why’d they “hide” what they were doing?

Um, maybe because it’s the frigging military and they are secret about stuff that may be relevant to national security.

Oooooh, right. That totally reasonable explanation…I forgot about that… But then do the math: Military + scary word (quarantine) = obviously blatant conspiracy. So case closed.

Ok then. Obviously it’s likely that aliens built interstellar spacecraft, set off their planet, survived the ravages of ultra-long-distance space travel, discovered Earth, and just as they came to visit us they turned a few times in the atmosphere (while crashing — as the fiery acrobatics in the lower atmosphere, if true, indicate), and hit the ground. Much more likely than, say, one or more meteors (or a satellite) traveling at high altitude with few comparison objects for speed and distance being mistaken for a UFO by 2 children and several eyewitnesses who were putting facts together after the fact to make things sound, unintentionally or not, more mysterious than they were.

That’s never happened before, so that couldn’t possibly be the case now. Come on, guys. Military. Spoooooky.

So I give this new retread of Unsolved Mysteries 1.5 evil sock puppets out of a possible 5. Obviously the main source of my disappointment was the craptacularity of their UFO story. If you’re going to try to convince people that a UFO story is just as legitimate to deserve investigation as the disappearance and/or murder of someone, shouldn’t it be a little better than “something that looked like a meteor/satellite, behaved like a meteor/satellite, and crashed like a meteor/satellite was obviously an alien spacecraft”? I at least expected Photoshopped pictures alleged to be real pictures of the UFO, but the best they had was artist renderings and reenactment props. And I mean, Elvis? Really?

Totally lame, Unsolved Mysteries. Totally lame. The Stack would be ashamed.

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