“Throughout time, there have been mysteries mankind cannot explain…” So begins the narrated opening credits for the History channel documentary series MysteryQuest, immediately letting audience members know what kind of interesting ride they’re in for.  Even better, the narration continues with the following: “But advances in technology have led to new theories, and the search is underway for evidence that may unlock the most baffling questions of our time…on MysteryQuest.” With an opening like that, how could you not be intrigued? If you are, and if you didn’t catch the show on the History channel when it aired, not to worry as it will soon be available in a 3-disc set that includes all 10 episodes from the first season – almost 8 hours of footage.

And for the most part, MysteryQuest delivers on its promise to attempt to unlock new answers to unsolved mysteries. With topics ranging from Stonehenge to Aliens to the Lost City of Atlantis, each episode embarks in a new direction, allowing scientists and other researchers on the show to implement cutting-edge technology in search of new evidence. Using carbon-dating, touch DNA, surveillance technology, underwater cameras, and even modeling software the explorers in each episode look to unearth new information at all turns. At times their methods prove fruitful – in the very first episode (“Hitler’s Escape” -which questions whether Hitler really died or if he escaped), a forensic examination of skull fragments from the skull Russians claim belongs to Hitler reveals that the skull is actually that of a female.  Similarly, in “San Francisco Slaughter” – an episode revolving around the Zodiac Killer – the research team investigates a new suspect and makes a surprising discovery when a 911 operator who spoke with the Zodiac confirms that the voice of the new suspect is eerily similar to the voice she heard on the phone nearly 40 years previous.

Other investigations are not so lucky – a look into government cover-ups at Area 51 (“Alien Cover Up”) only succeeds in fueling conspiracy paranoia and stands mostly on hearsay.  And some investigations are simply not meant to succeed – looking for evidence of the lost city of Atlantis (“The Lost City of Atlantis) or time warps in the Bermuda Triangle (“The Devil’s Triangle”) are investigating the kind of phenomenons that require many years of exhaustive research. And though the teams they gather for each investigation has put in the mandatory time leading up to the filmed investigations, it’s difficult to imagine something new being uncovered. In the case of the Bermuda Triangle, explorers hunt to identify downed planes that were reported missing and in the case of Atlantis, they look to prove that a seemingly man-made structure called the Bimini Road is demonstrably man-made. Both episodes are engaging, but not in the same way as the more testable mysteries. To their credit, the producers have extensive input from an Atlantis doubter throughout the episode and focus more on proving that the Bimini Road is man-made rather than that it is part of Atlantis.

Overall, the first season of MysteryQuest is gripping documentary television. Each episode is 45 minutes long and features plenty of back-story and scientific evidence for anyone interested in a particular historical question. If the producers at the History channel decide to go forward with a second season, they would be best served by investigating more recent mysteries that allow for more demonstrable scientific examinations.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Conspiracy and supernatural junkies
Stay Away if: You’re looking for a straight science show – speculation abounds on MysteryQuest

For more information on MysteryQuest, visit the History channel website

To purchase the first season of MysteryQuest, available March 30th, visit Amazon

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