DARK SKIES was a fantastic science fiction show which only lasted for one season (1996-1997). The storyline followed John Loengard, a man who went to work for the government in Washington in 1961 and who discovered a conspiracy involving aliens. This makes it sound a little like THE X-FILES, but it also included elements of man-on-the-run shows like THE FUGITIVE. Originally John went on the run with his girlfriend, Kim Sayers, but the show became somewhat formulaic very quickly, and so she was abducted, and the statuesque Jeri Lynn Ryan joined the cast as a Russian agent. Ryan looks gorgeous in this show, and it is not a surprise that she was soon taken into the STAR TREK universe to become the Borg babe (Seven of Nine) in STAR TREK VOYAGER. Eric Close as John Loengard was also excellent, and I believe that he deserves to become a major star in his own right. Maybe one day soon. The director of the pilot episode was Tobe Hooper, who is famous for films like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and POLTERGEIST. It is a sign of the fact the he is maybe not viewed with much credence in modern-day Hollywood as he now directd episodic television like this (no matter how good the show). Originally the show was going to run for five seasons, with each season covering 10 years of history, with a big special taking place on Millennium Eve when all the storylines would be pulled together. It's a travesty that the show was cancelled after only one season so that this would never happen. Many other shows of far less worth have lasted for far longer. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ EPISODE LISTING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. The Awakening (feature-length pilot episode) 2. Moving Targets 3. Mercury Rising 4. Dark Days Night 5. Dreamland 6. Inhuman Nature 7. Ancient Future 8. Hostile Convergence 9. We Shall Overcome 10. The Last Wave 11. The Enemy Within 12. The Warren Omission 13. Wh
ite Rabbit 14. Shades of Gray 15. Burn, Baby, Burn 16. Both Sides Now 17. To Prey in Darkness 18. Strangers In the Night 19. Bloodlines ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Starting from the assumption that the Roswell incident did actually occur, this series, set in the 1960s, follows the exploits of John Loengard, who initially works for congress but who is eventually recruited into Majestic-12, a secret government agency attempting to fight against the alien threat. After becoming concerned about the way in which Majestic-12 is allowed to operate, he takes some evidence of alien existence to President John F. Kennedy, who is assassinated a short while later. Loengard, together with his girlfriend Kimberley Sayers, goes on the run, both from the alien Hive and from Majestic-12… This was a series with a great amount of promise, mainly stemming from the fact that major historical events from the 1960s were allowed to influence and interact with the ongoing plot strands of the series to create an intriguing narrative that actually seemed to be going somewhere. Unfortunately, however, the series arrived at a time when X-Files popularity was at its peak, and was derided, very unfairly in my opinion, as just another cheap clone made to cash-in on the public’s current fervour for conspiracy theory-based science fiction. This lead to Dark Skies’ cancellation after just one season, the whole plot abandoned in mid-flow and the series summed up with a trite voice-over, a pathetic and tragic end to a potentially great series. The acting was of a generally high standard, with J.T. Walsh as Majestic-12 supremo Franck Bach particularly memorable in his role: ruthless and sadistic one week, a family man and potential ally to Loengard the next. The plot, as previously stated, was always good, with the decision to finally allow Sayers to be taken over by the Hive and be a villain in the show from then on in a particularly imaginative and daring one compared with the dull plot ‘twists’ and soapy character arcs of many genre shows, although the decision to replace Loengard’s female sidekick with yet
another one, even if it was in the engaging form of a pre-Seven of Nine Jeri Ryan, was an undoubted sop to the populism preferred by network executives. The directing and general presentation was also surprisingly stylish for an sf TV show, particularly the pilot which Tobe Hooper was persuaded to direct. All told, I regard this series as yet another of the lost opportunities caused by the proliferation of trigger-happy network executives in the US, ever eager to shoot a show down straight away if it doesn’t instantly grab a huge audience and make its central actors into cover stars. I am reliably informed that the original plan was to make each subsequent season cover Loengard’s struggle over the course of one decade (i.e. season 2 would have occurred during the 70’s, etc.), and this plan would, I think, have produced a show very unlikely to become stale over time. This was a good show, and one I would recommend seeking out and watching. But, given time and a few more seasons, it could have been a true classic.