Preview: NGC’s “When Aliens Attack” and “Area 51 Declassified”

By Ryan Berenz

You may escape the Rapture this weekend, but what about an alien invasion? The Martians have arrived, and they’re very, very angry in When Aliens Attack on National Geographic Channel May 22. This two-hour special dramatizes a timeline of hypothetical events before, during and after a planet-wide alien invasion, positing some ideas on how humanity’s battle against a technologically superior outer-space aggressor might be fought. Dr. Travis Taylor, a Defense Department engineer and co-author of An Introduction to Planetary Defense, is among those who don’t like our odds. “I war-gamed over 400 different scenarios to figure out if we had any chances based on certain levels of technology, and out of those 400, I only came up with one scenario where humanity actually ended up surviving,” Taylor says. But don’t surrender to E.T. just yet. Over time, low-tech insurgent tactics might wear down the aliens. “The old ideas of guerrilla warfare of ambush and raid, those types of things could be successful,” says West Point military historian and defense expert Dr. Lt. Col. Brian DeToy. “For us, it may be just to outlast the others.”

Alien enthusiasts and conspiracy nuts alike should stick around on NGC for Area 51 Declassified, which reveals true stories from the famously secret military installation. This documentary presents never-before-seen images from inside the base and previously untold stories from some of the people who were there during the 1950s. “I think what really sets this film entirely apart is it’s completely factual,” says producer Peter Yost. “The government has declassified to us countless documents, hundreds if not thousands of images and hours of footage from inside the base. We have interviews with people ranging from security guards to the deputy commander of the base and the deputy commander of the CIA who was in charge during the forming of the base back in the ’50s. It’s solid. It’s real, and it’s verifiable.”