Last week, History announced that it wouldn’t be renewing any of its ongoing scripted series for new seasons, namely Knightfall — a medieval drama about the Crusades — and Project Blue Book, about the U.S. government’s real-life investigation into UFOs in the 1950s and 60s. The cancellation of Project Blue Book hit especially hard, because was actually doing pretty good in the ratings, averaging 1.3 million viewers a day after each new episode aired and 2.49 million a week after. Among cable dramas, that’s pretty respectable, and I imagine a show like Project Blue Book was less expensive to produce than something like Knightfall, at least.
So why the cancellation? Well, History seems to be pivoting towards more miniseries — it has at least three miniseries about American presidents on the way — and is just doing away with all of its scripted shows; the popular Vikings ends this year, too, with the follow-up show going to Netflix. The good news is that the success of Project Blue Book gives the creators some leverage when shopping it around to other outlets. “We’re fortunate in that everybody involved remains committed to trying to find our show a second home, and to continue,” executive producer executive producer David O’Leary told SyFy Wire. “We feel it’s unfinished. And I’m sure our fans feel it’s unfinished.”
Indeed, the fans have been making their voices heard. There’s a Change.org petition to save the show up and running, and the creators are encouraging people to use the #SAVEBLUEBOOK hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to let networks know that there’s interest. “First and foremost, I think we want to thank the fans and say how grateful we are,” said showrunner Sean Jablonski. “Honestly, the greatest joy of the whole thing was just watching fans have these great [online] reactions to what we were hoping would be big, dramatic moments, whether it’s the Susie (Ksenia Solo) reveal, or somebody getting killed, or major plot turns that we were always trying to build.”
Project Blue Book follows Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a real-life scientist who started work on the project as a UFO skeptic but became a believer after years of work. And if that doesn’t sound cool enough, he’s played by Game of Thrones veteran Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger)!
On the show, Hynek is paired with Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey), an amalgamation of several military figures from this story. The second season ended with Quinn missing, presumably at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, which is another reason fans badly want to see the story continue.
And O’Leary is here to tell everyone that he and his team have a third season all planned out. “We pitched [HISTORY] Season 3 because we actually had a [writers’] room going, and we broke episodes,” he said. “What’s so hard for us is that it’d just be such a shame for our fans to not know where it’s going and where we can continue it to go because we’ve already done all that heavy lifting.”
“Obviously, we’re gonna bring Quinn back in early on,” Jablonski teased. “He’s an integral part of the show. And I think something important to remember is that UFO sightings peaked worldwide in 1954. It was a global phenomenon.”
And if the show can’t find a new home, these two are prepared to go another way — I mean, if you’ve already laid out 10 new episodes, you want to do something with them, right? “Here’s the thing, we’ve moved so far beyond our Season 2 that we’ve also talked through Season 4,” Jablonski said. ”The characters are so great. I could see a version of a book, of a graphic novel, or like a smaller Quibi type version that investigates certain cases.”
The great thing about this show, and you find this very rarely, is that the subject matter and what it tackles is bigger than just writing television. We have the opportunity to tell great stories based on real-life stuff, and it’s still provocative today 70 years later.
Hopefully some other outlet will pick up the show and the cast and crew will keep working. Netflix, you’re already taking the Vikings follow-up series; lemme tell you about another exciting opportunity…