'In Search Of': The Iconic '70s Series Returns to Explore the Unknown With a 21st-Century Approach
HISTORY, July 20, 10/9c
By Jeff Pfeiffer
Although TV shows that investigate paranormal mysteries are common today, it really wasn’t until the 1970s when the genre began taking off. That was when In Search Of became among the first, and still perhaps the best known of such docuseries, with the franchise initially hosted by Rod Serling and later — and more famously — by Leonard Nimoy.
This Friday, History premieres a 10-episode, hourlong reimagining of In Search Of. Zachary Behr, one of the executive producers of this revival, explained why it’s a good fit for the network.
“We have a great audience on History for this sort of programming with Ancient Aliens,” Behr said. “We’re always looking for ways to bolster that kind of programming.”
Zachary Quinto hosts the series, which like its predecessor will explore everything from aliens to Atlantis to mysterious creatures. The actor is also an executive producer and lead investigator. Quinto has already taken on — and brought his own unique presence to — the Nimoy-originated role of Spock in the current Star Trek films, and here he steps into another beloved Nimoy role.
Behr agreed that helped make Quinto “a huge piece of the show, and … we felt he was absolutely the perfect one for the role.”
The producer explained that in addition to Quinto’s strong onscreen presence, he also “has a personal desire to get to the bottom of these kind of timeless mysteries.”
“[It] was really important to Zachary that he be kind of ‘boots on the ground’ out in the field, and he traveled all around the world for this show. … He’s really out there doing it all.”
That dedication means Quinto is involved in the show’s “immersive demonstrations and experiments.”
Behr explained these include things like analyzing the brain activity of people (including Quinto) in an episode exploring the potential for superhuman strength. In another episode, Quinto takes part in what Behr called an “elaborate experiment” to try to experience what people who make alien-abduction claims say they’ve felt.
“We tried to take the best elements of [the original In Search Of] and fuse them into a version that feels really modern and fresh,” Behr concluded.
“It’s important that we pay some kind of homage to the people who have come before us, but this show does feel quite fresh in its approach.” Of course, true In Search Of fans likely have one key question: Will the homages to the original series in this incarnation include bringing back its famous theme music?
On that topic, Behr was every bit as mysterious as the subjects of his series. “Well, we’re exploring the music right now,” he laughed, “so I can only tease you with that.”