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New TV drama ‘Project Blue Book’ based on real-life X-Files

Arturo Interian, David O'Leary and Paul Hynek discuss their new drama series "Project Blue Book," premiering on the History Channel. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

BALTIMORE — If you miss Mulder and Scully from the X-Files, check out a new series premiering Tuesday night on the History channel.

Project Blue Book” stars Aidan Gillen, best known for portraying Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and is executive produced by Robert Zemeckis, the Academy Award winner behind the Back to the Future movies, Contact and Forrest Gump.

“I’ve had a lifelong search for, ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ And I don’t think that you can look at that question without also looking at the UFO question,” said David O’Leary, creator and co-executive producer of the series.

The drama series is based on actual sightings of unidentified flying objects investigated by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s and 60s, collectively known as Project Blue Book.

Astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek was recruited to help the Air Force determine if UFOs were a real threat to national security or if they were just natural but misidentified objects, like meteors.

According to Hynek’s son Paul, a consultant on the new series: “He started off firmly believing that flying saucers were a bunch of ‘bunkum’.” But the elder Hynek eventually changed his mind, and accused the military of covering up the truth.

“Many people believe that Project Blue Book was sort of the beginning … of fake news, of trying to control public perception about an issue without telling them the whole truth,” said O’Leary.

An upcoming episode will focus on a famous set of sightings in Washington D.C. in 1952, during which strange objects were seen on radar over the White House and the Capitol.

“That case 100% will show up in this series. It’s one of my favorite cases,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary and Hynek took part in a sneak peek and panel discussion of the series at AlienCon in Baltimore.

“Project Blue Book” premieres Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.

Watch the trailer below.

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