Small Town Monster’s latest documentary series, On The Trail Of UFOs, takes a look at the changing perceptions surrounding the UFO phenomenon. Ok, ok, ok. I know what you are thinking. Another pseudoscience/Ancient Aliens-esque series. However, you would be wrong.
This eight-episode long series is the latest in Small Town Monster’s ongoing On The Trail Of documentaries. Other On The Trail Of series include On The Trail Of Champ and On The Trail Of Bigfoot. The series was filmed over the course of 2019, with the team travelling all over the United States to meet with experts, eyewitnesses, and to visit important locations such as Area 51. Each episode in the series deals with a key subtopic in the field of UFOlogy. Some of the topics covered include abductions, historical cases, and even the idea of extra-dimensional beings.
Great, now that the bare bones and background information about the series is out of the way, let’s get into the review itself. While it would be unkind to say that I wasn’t expecting much going into this series, I was expecting little more than another sensationalised conspiracy theory filled experience. However, what I found was a thoughtful, well structured, and interesting look at the UFO phenomenon.
Each episode is carefully structured and builds well on the episode before it. The topics are well researched and Shannon LeGro’s narration and own musings on the topics add a wonderful aspect to the series itself. It truly makes it feel more like a personal journey of discovery than most documentaries. The people featured in the series are all either respected investigators in their own right, invested in the field, eyewitnesses, or “experiencers” as the series calls them. All of them were chosen on merit and not for their recognisability. That means that you won’t be seeing the likes of Giorgio Tsoukalos, David Childress or similar any time soon. This also adds to the authenticity and, in my personal opinion, the credibility of the entire project.
As an example, while the series does of course touch on the topic of coverups, they themselves admit that a coverup doesn’t have to be the romanticised plot we’ve all come to know namely shadowy organisations, men in black, secret meetings, and mysterious informants. All it takes is one person being bullied into keeping quiet. Some of the people that are interviewed themselves say that they do not adhere to, in their own words, “the tin hat stuff”.
Another thing which I personally enjoyed about the series is that it doesn’t try to prove anything or claims to be true believers. Several of the crew and interviewees admit to being healthy sceptics. This helps to create a much more well-rounded experience than a near-fanatical belief that everything is true or real. All in all, this is a simple yet thought-provoking look at the subject of UFOs.
Being a reviewer and honesty being key, I naturally do need to include my gripes and dislikes regarding the series. My biggest issue with the series is that while it is quite clear that the production value is far from low, the use of certain filters and effects are often unnecessary and occasionally make it seem more like a student film trying to add filters to make it look “cooler”.
Tied to this is the simple titles that are used. While I personally like the simple, minimalist red text that gets used to introduce the various people and places, due to the backgrounds and composition they sometimes also seem amateurish. I will, however, be the first to admit that what I have mentioned are minor issues and personal gripes which for most people will not detract from the series nor should it deter anyone from watching this.
All in all, On The Trail Of UFOs is a great documentary series for anyone interested in the field of UFOlogy and I myself look forward to the planned second season which will expand further on the topics covered by season one.
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