History Channel // 2009 // 470 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // March 30th, 2010
History is filled with stories of the unexplained. Can advances in science and technology bring new evidence to light?
"This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producers' purpose is to suggest some possible explanation, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries we will examine."
If the quote isn't familiar, it's likely because you didn't grow up watching TV in the late '70s when a show called "In Search Of..." made a weekly visit into average homes with explorations and investigations of supernatural and unexplained phenomena. In many ways, MysteryQuest is a similar concept for a new generation as, despite our 30-odd years of scientific advancement, we're no closer to explaining some of the mysteries that have fascinated humans for centuries.
All 10 episodes of MysteryQuest: The Complete Season One are included with this release, spread across three discs as follows:
* "Hilter's Escape"
At the end of World War II, Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide. But is that what really happened?
* "The Devil's Triangle"
Also known as the Bermuda Triangle, the Devil's Triangle is a region within the boundary created by the tip of Florida, Bermuda and Puerto Rico where numerous aircraft and ships have disappeared over the years, seemingly without a trace.
* "San Francisco Slaughter"
One of the most infamous serial killer cases in U.S. history, the identity of the Zodiac killer remains a mystery to law enforcement to this day.
* "The Lost City of Atlantis"
First mentioned by Greek philosopher Plato, Atlantis was supposedly an advanced island civilization that had technology, science and knowledge far beyond their time, but everything was lost when the island sunk beneath the waves in less than 24 hours.
* "Alien Cover Up"
Has Earth been visited by aliens? And more specifically, has the U.S. government maintained a cover-up since the '50s, while they continue to conduct experiments on technology from other worlds?
* "The Rise of the Fourth Reich"
With Hitler dead at the end of the second World War, it seemed the Nazis had been defeated for good. But some accounts suggest that a mysterious organization known as "Odessa" helped former Nazis escape judgement at Nuremburg, with the intent of forming a Fourth Reich and a Nazi return to power.
* "Devil's Island"
Seen as inescapable during its heyday, Alcatraz Island, also known as The Rock, lost three inmates on June 11, 1962 during one of the most intricate escapes in the facility's history. Many other inmates died during their imprisonment and many believe their ghosts still haunt the island.
* "Jack the Ripper"
Perhaps one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time, Jack the Ripper disappeared as suddenly as he appeared, leaving a bloody swath of death in his wake. Despite many theories as to the killer's identity, there is still no conclusive evidence that proves one beyond a reasonable doubt.
More than just a song by Spinal Tap, Stonehenge is a circle of massive stone columns that archaeologists believe may date back to as early as 2,500 B.C. A druidic temple? A landing site for otherworldly craft? To this day, experts are still unsure who built it or why.
* "Return of the Amityville Horror"
You've seen the movie, now visit the house...not that one, the other one. The crack MysteryQuest paranormal team spends the night in an abandoned and reportedly haunted former asylum.
Each episode of the series follows a similar formula: four to five minutes spent setting up the historical background of the subject matter, followed by the introduction of a team of scientists and experts who closely examine the evidence related to the subject, and finally more evidence that leads to an undefined conclusion. MysteryQuest: The Complete Season One takes on an interesting and eclectic mix of subjects- from ancient civilizations and supernatural phenomena, to aliens and unsolved murders- treating each topic with the same thorough examination and investigation. The approach is comfortable, logical, and thoroughly engaging.
Fresh off my review of History Channel's Clash of the Gods, I immediately recognized narrator Stan Bernard. He lends his emphatic baritone to MysteryQuest with a vocal quality that lies somewhere between David Ogden Stiers (Beauty and the Beast) and Canadian voice actor Paul Soles (Spider-Man 1967 animated series), both engaging and authoritative.
The video presentation is adequate, but skin tones range towards a bit too red a times and whites can be on the hot side. There's also noticeable grain and minor digital artifacts visible in some episodes. The dialog dominated audio track is crisp and clear, remaining largely anchored in the front of the room, but providing some surround activity with music and atmospheric sounds. Some 30-odd minutes in total run time, the "Bonus Footage" section offers two to three minutes of additional footage from each episode, but as you can imagine, there are no startling revelations or real value in anything that short.
It's interesting to note that, despite thorough investigations, each mystery explored in MysteryQuest: The Complete Season One is left somewhat unsolved, so anyone looking for the final answers to the mysteries of humanity should keep looking. For anyone who loves to be "on the case," the series offers fascinating new facts and information about some of the most famous unsolved mysteries mankind has ever known. With 10 strong episodes in its premiere season, let's hope the producers have many more fascinating and mysterious tales in store. Not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2010 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 470 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Official Site