New documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show that Scotland Yard kept a secret dossier on various science fiction shows and movies out of a fear that they would cause rioting and cyber attacks. On the list of worrying imports were Star Trek, The X-Files, Roswell, Dark Skies, and Lawnmower Man.

We’ll grant you Star Trek and The X-Files, but, seriously, how influential was Dark Skies and it’s eighteen episodes, really?

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The dossier was called “UFO New Religious Movements and the Millennium” and isn’t dated, but the references to the new millennium and the Heaven’s Gate cult seem to date it to 1998-1999. The report was honestly worried that TV shows could drive conspiracy theorists to action:

Fuel is added to the fire by television dramas and feature films mostly produced in America.

These draw together the various strands of religion, UFOs, conspiracies, and mystic events and put them in an entertaining storyline.

... Obviously this is not sinister in itself, what is of concern is the devotion certain groups and individuals ascribe to the contents of these programmes.

Yes, devotion to a TV show is very dangerous. There might be a convention or a newsgroup. Although it is nice that they were willing to admit that the shows weren’t “sinister” in themselves.

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A spokesperson for the police said, “We have no knowledge of this.” This is one time we’re glad to hear that, rather than that it was something very important.

[The Telegraph]


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.