FT’s very own couch potato, STU NEVILLE, casts an eye over the small screen’s current fortean offerings
There’s a trend with fortean programmes of the kind that like to be journalistic and fact-finding and (putatively) balanced: the setting, which falls into one of two categories: the car parts-shop staff room, or the cool creatives’ office. Breaking Mysterious (Blaze) falls into the latter camp.
Jimmy Church, clutching a cup of take-out coffee, ascends the stairs to greet the team. “Hey everybody, what’s happening?” he asks the assembled researchers – he’s team leader, but he’s a cool one – as they investigate away in their creative space, all bare brick and boards, big windows, sofas, an out-of-shot ping-pong table, etc. Jimmy strides over to the FBI-style situation board that has things pinned to it: maps, photos with strings between them. He gazes at it pensively for a moment and turns. “So, check this out – what is a legend?” he asks the team. “Loch Ness,” says Jeremy Fels, photographer and Christian Slater lookalike. Jael De Pardo volunteers, “The Dutchman’s Mine”. Karamo Brown tells us there’s a startling new theory about the death of JFK, and that’s what we follow first. It seems
It’s all bare brick and boards, sofas and an out-of-shot ping-pong table
that Dallas was actually Plan B, and there was a near-identical Plan A for Chicago the week before. In scenes reminiscent of All The President’s Men, while Karamo eavesdrops nearby, the details are related in a dingy café booth to a fellow journalist by a former member of Kennedy’s Secret Service detail. The agent’s hushed tones are only slightly offset by his startling turquoise tasselled skullcap, giving the impression that JFK was guarded by Miles Davis. This aside, there do seem to be intriguing parallels, with verifiable details; however, as always, links between them all are impossible to prove.
Back to the creatives’ office, where they all seem very impressed. No time to waste, as we head to the Superstition Mountains in search of the legendary Dutchman’s Mine, a fabled cache of gold bars hidden in an abandoned goldmine. There are cryptic maps and grizzled men with metal detectors. “There’s a lot of facts and mystery there,” Jael perceptively observes, before passing the baton back to Karamo, off to hunt Bigfoot in Vermont. Cue a blurry, furry re-enactment, the usual spiel about legends, and Karamo firing enthusiastic questions at the splendidly patient but non-committal Dr Christopher Noel, who, to his credit, doesn’t answer the question “How can it go all these years without being seen by humans?” with “That’s the whole point”. Deep into the woods they go, finding structures (“So they built this?” “Well, possibly…”) and hearing knocking (“Was that a Bigfoot?” “Well, again…”). Karamo tells us that “in 2015, 18,000 new species were discovered!” Which does strike me at least as somewhat steep.
“Did you find Bigfoot?” asks Jimmy. “No, but the mystery continues!” Time for a Grande Frappacucino and a round of ping-pong, then.