Posted in: Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 2nd, 2012
Following in the footsteps of Ancient Aliens, History Channel has put out a new ten-part series to indulge viewers that simply can’t watch enough government mystery and conspiracy television. I’m not here to judge, because I’ll be the first to admit, when I see there is a new show about Area 51, the Freemasons, or anything with the word secret, I’m a sucker for watching it. I blame my compulsive obsession with conspiracies from watching the X-Files when I was younger for this.
This 3-disc set covers 10 separate topics that though we may think we know a lot about, these locations and agencies are still shrouded in a great deal of mystery. Each of these episodes run about 44 minutes (balancing out to an hour when commercials are edited in) and are filled from beginning to end with information that can be a bit much to absorb at times like in the case of the Freemasons. We’re given bits about how they have connections to the Boston Tea Party, George Washington’s blood oath, and the fact that 14 of our past presidents have been a member of the Freemasons.
The White House episode seemed to cover plenty of current situations, spending ample time on the couple who famously crashed a White House party, but did you know a third person that night slipped past the secret service as well? Of all the information given here, the anecdote that stood out the most involved President Ford being locked out of the White House when giving the family dog Liberty a late-night walk.
A separate episode covers the presidential transports, and that simply filled out some answers that I had already assumed, but to say the President rides with style would be more than an understatement.
The episodes that handled the most hidden secrets, though, were both Area 51 and Fort Knox. What was most impressive with the Area 51 episode is that it didn’t just focus on alien theories but contained interviews with people that actually at one time worked on the base. Though one story I found amusing is that there is a theory that deep below Area 51 there is a level where there is an alien walking around and talking with scientists and helping them out. Fort Knox was grounded in more reality, covering the idea of how much gold, if any, is still locked away in the vaults. This idea is a bit scary when you realize the world’s money is based on the value of gold and how much exists. And if there is still gold in Fort Knox, is it ours, or does it belong to another nation?
Of all the episodes, one just stood out that didn’t quite fit but seemed it was made for an even 10 episodes was The Playboy Mansion. Unfortunately this didn’t have spy-cam footage added in capturing bunnies at play, but this episode showed there is more to the mansion than meets the eye. Seeing all the hidden rooms, the zoo, and even a pet cemetery helped me gain a greater appreciation for the place. Hearing stories about a room that Elvis Presley used one night and has been locked up ever since as well as a locked up wine cellar, and only Hugh has the key.
But if ten episodes weren’t enough, they even added a bonus episode about many of the National Monuments. Each section covers a new monument, everything from Arlington Cemetery, The Golden Gate Bridge, The Empire State Building, and several others. These are not as informative as the individual episodes due to the time given, but they manage to cram a lot of information into this extended episode that played more like a possible pilot for the series.
Overall this set was great and reminded me a lot of History Channel’s other program Decoded. The two are very similar in content, but thankfully these waste no time in throwing together a gimmicky investigation and simply give us the behind-the-scenes stories that make these buildings and government agencies so fascinating to begin with.