Frank Bach (J. T. Walsh) shows John Loengard (Eric Close) alien technology
Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the first in a series of weekend Science Fiction features. We begin our focus on a television series that had the potential to be the greatest government UFO conspiracy theory based television dramas of all time – Dark Skies, soon to be released on DVD in the United States and the United Kingdom.
This series had the potential to exceed even the X-files in popularity. Yet it was cancelled after just one season.
Much of what follows comes from an article posted on Wikipedia concerning the series an accompanying episode guide.
Dark Skies aired during the 1996-1997 season for 18 episodes, plus a two-hour pilot episode. The success of The X-Files on Fox proved there was an audience for genre shows, resulting in NBC commissioning this proposed competitor following a pitch from producers Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman. The series debuted September 21, 1996 on NBC, and was later rerun by the Sci-Fi Channel. Its tagline was, “History as we know it is a lie.”
The history of the twentieth century, according to the series, as we know it is a lie.
Aliens have been among us since the late 1940s, but a government cover-up has protected the public from such knowledge. As the series progresses, we follow John Loengard and Kim Sayers through the 1960s as they attempt to foil the plots of the alien Hive. The Hive is an alien race that planned to invade Earth through a manipulation of historical events and famous figures, including most notably the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In addition, the pair must stay one step ahead of a covert government agency that has mixed motives, the infamous – Majestic 12.
The show featured a number of real-life 1960’s personalities in the plot, such as The Beatles, Robert Kennedy, Jim Morrison, Carl Sagan and J. Edgar Hoover.
Although the last episode produced provides some form of closure for the series, the show’s creators had originally hoped to create five seasons, as indicated by the show’s “Bible” or major planning document. According to Zabel and Friedman’s original plan, the pilot and first season (given the overall title “Official Denial”) would cover the period from 1962 to 1969, the second season (“Progenitor”) 1970 to 1976, the third season (“Cloak of Fear”) 1977 to 1986, the fourth season (“New World Order”) would cover 1987 to 1999, and the fifth and final season (“Stroke of Midnight”) would break from the decade-spanning format to encompass the apocalyptic final conflict against the invaders, taking place from 2000 to 2001.
The series depicts The Hive as an alien species who are covertly invading Earth. They are a parasitic race of small multi-legged spider-like beings that can take control of host bodies, by attaching themselves to the brain. They do this by entering through orifices on the head, commonly the mouth, though they are also shown to enter by squeezing through the nose and ears, with great discomfort to the host. Due to the way they attach themselves to the brain’s ganglion regions, the series’ protagonists dub the creatures “Ganglions”.
Various stages from Alpha to Delta occur which show varying degrees of the infection.
Initial symptoms of take-over include drastic mood swings, behavioural abnormalities, and nervous breakdowns, as the parasite adjusts to taking control of the person’s mind. Past medical records of a nervous breakdown are a tell-tale sign that someone may have been taken over. The Gamma and Delta stages are where the Hive organism takes total control over the host which becomes nothing more than a shell for the invading organism.
Not all humans make acceptable hosts for the Ganglions. Due to certain genetic factors, a minority of humans are incompatible with the Ganglions’ biology: these have been dubbed “Throwbacks”. There are several cases where a group of people were abducted and taken over by Ganglion parasites, but a Throwback in the group wasn’t infected and simply returned (often because it would be too conspicuous to kill them). Captured Ganglion parasites have been injected with the blood of Throwbacks, causing them to die in agony. The Hive is running various experiments to try to either eliminate Throwbacks or develop more humans who are easier to control, such as growing cloned human babies in cows.
Some time ago, the Ganglions invaded an advanced alien race, dubbed the “Greys”: the typical depiction of a Roswell Grey Alien. The Greys were a race not unlike humans though they possessed technology making them capable of interstellar travel. The Ganglion parasites invaded them in much the same way that they’re trying to invade Earth now, and by the time they realized what was happening it was too late. Thus the “Grey aliens” seen abducting humans are really just as much a slave race or “shells” for the Ganglions as the infected humans are.
The Hive’s language, Thhtmaa, was developed by Reed College linguistics professor Matt Pearson.
When the Ganglions were evolving, apparently before they took over other animals as hosts, they did have a natural predator: slug-like creatures called “buzz worms”. They have actually brought samples of the buzz worms along with them with their ships, using them as a particularly gruesome means of executing their own kind.
View an exciting preview of the entire series before purchasing the soon to be released DVD set which is sure to be a major collector’s item in years to come.
Author’s Note: Dark Skies is an unfinished saga which offers great potential in reviving this series through the efforts of fans world wide via the media of fan fiction and motion picture. You, dear readers can make that happen.
Dark Skies Intro – UFO Sci-Fi TV Show
Carl Sagan character in Dark Skies