Dark Skies -- the 1996-1997 UFO television series -- began its twenty-hour NBC run with a pilot episode that tied in the assassination of President John Kennedy to his interest in disclosing UFO reality if re-elected to a second term in office. This is not a contention we make in the A.D. After Disclosure book, however. It is just a dramatic conceit used by series co-creators Bryce Zabel and Brent V. Friedman to tell a story about the UFO cover-up set in the 1960s. Having said that, there is big news...
Dark Skies is, finally, for real, and without qualification, coming out on DVD. It will be released by the Los Angeles based Shout! Factory on DVD on January 18, 2011. This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
Shout! Factory is a successful home video company that was originally started by an exodus of employees from Rhino Records. It has evolved into a premium supplier of content, including a full-line of classic TV series, like the recently released Max Headroom. Dark Skies is just the kind of product they love to bring to market -- an overlooked gem with passionate fans. As you can see from the photos below, the truth changes you!
Dark Skies is composed of twenty hours (18 one-hour episodes, and a two-hour pilot) that tells an epic story of suspense and danger, set against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s. The UFO cover-up unfolds from the point of view of John Loengard, a naive congressional staffer who comes to Washington D.C. to be a part of JFK's "New Frontier" but ends up reluctantly working for the secret organization Majestic-12 as an undercover operative from 1961-1967. Because of its period and the incredible set design and wardrobe, some fans consider it a forerunner of Mad Men, but with aliens!
On DVD, we believe that audiences will finally get to see the series the way its creators intended, free of the scheduling challenges it faced on its network run. Back in the pre-DVR mid-90s, Dark Skies was on Saturday nights, suffered numerous pre-emptions and spotty promotion that started great, then dropped off a cliff.
From the moment the series begins, however, you'll know you're in for a special ride. The main titles, for example, won the Emmy award the year the series debuted, and the pilot that was written by Brent Friedman and myself was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award in the "Outstanding Original Longform" category. It was pretty risky fare for the network when it aired, given that the series log-line used in the promotion campaign was, "History is a lie."
The series was delayed in its DVD release by a concern over the music rights, given that each episode featured at least two classic songs from the period it covered. Finally, that issue was resolved earlier this year, clearing the way for this moment.
The Shout! Factory release will have all the episodes, mastered to be the highest possible quality, and all the original music. While the extras are still being discussed and developed, they will be substantial, and I'll be involved in helping to make sure they meet the same high standards that all of us involved in the television series brought to that endeavor.
NOTE: There is going to be a separate, approved, UK release by a different company, Medium Rare Entertainment, in the PAL/Region 2 format. It should not be confused with the Shout! Factory release in the NTSC/Region 1 format.
A special note to all the fans who have seen people try to rip them off over the years with bogus versions of bad quality. The two companies listed above are the only places to get the approved, high quality, with extras, version of this series. Do not buy it anywhere else or from anybody else. Shout! Factory and Medium Rare are the two companies to look to, depending on where you live, period.