The History Channel launches a new scripted series. But don't call it history.
Drenched in science-fiction lore and featuring late 1940s period settings and costumes, it's a little like "The X-Files" meets "L.A. Confidential," except those were intelligent and this is not.
"Project Blue Book" (10 p.m., TV-14) follows investigations into UFOs conducted by the Air Force between 1952 to 1969.
Aidan Gillen stars as professor Dr. J. Allen Hynek, recruited by brash pilot Capt. Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) to apply evidence-based studies to disprove widespread, hysterical reports of flying saucers that proliferated in the years following the so-called Roswell crash of 1947.
But what's the fun in that?
We soon learn that Hynek is being followed by shadowy figures and that Air Force officers (including Neal McDonough) are hiding Something Big.
"Blue Book" suffers from obvious foreshadowing and clunky dialogue that often seems wildly out-of-sync with its mid-century setting.
Worse, it follows in a bad tradition of mingling actual history with comic-book nonsense. On the History Channel, no less.
Early on, we hear that President Truman is deeply invested in the Air Force's UFO conspiracy. Having read a book or two, this made me want to vomit.
I was struck by the show's resemblance to "Taken," a Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries from 2002, featuring Dakota Fanning.
In that story, it's President Eisenhower who is said to be monitoring work integrating alien technology with military hardware.
At the time, I wrote that it was disturbing for a director like Spielberg, closely associated with Holocaust remembrance, to take a cavalier attitude toward the blending of history and fantasy, something practiced by neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers and other deplorables.
That was a long time ago. Using real history as a jumping-off point for mere fantasy has serious ramifications.
I believe the folks who run the History Channel know that. They just don't care.
- Fresh from elite colleges, two sisters, one a software engineer and the other a crusading lawyer, move to Los Angeles to carve out a post-"Fosters" lifestyle in the new spinoff "Good Trouble" (8 p.m., Freeform, TV-14).
- A child star-turned-train wreck gets another crack at infamy on "Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club" (8 p.m., MTV, TV-14).
Tonight's other highlights
- Dan's injury complicates D.J.'s employment on "The Conners" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
- "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates" (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) enters season five.
- A harsh sentence inspires violence on "FBI" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
- Peg is stingy with affection on "The Kids Are Alright" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
- It had to happen; "EA Sports Madden NFL 19 Classic" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG) invites TV viewers to watch videogamers play games. In Las Vegas.
- The second season finale of "We'll Meet Again" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) reacquaints two veterans of the women's movement.
- Former spies go rogue on "NCIS: New Orleans" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
- Max fights for his life on "New Amsterdam" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- A shooting hits close to home on "The Rookie" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
Top brass condemns McGee and Torres on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... A daytime host takes her light touch to prime time on two helpings of "Ellen's Game of Games" (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... A vacation spoiled on "Lethal Weapon" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... DC characters join forces on "Supergirl" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
Lauren obsesses about her heritage on "The Gifted" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... A camping trip takes a posh detour on "blackish" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Lena's dream life gets complicated on "Splitting Up Together" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
Keegan-Michael Key, Josh Hutcherson and Jamie Oliver are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Andy Samberg, Alfonso Cuaron and Dan + Shay on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Neil Patrick Harris, Alessia Cara and Charlie Hall visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC.