Conspiracy theories accuse organisations of covering up, through secret planning, an illegal or harmful event. Even the tamest can be outrageous, but the wildest turn the ‘What the hell!’ factor up to 150 per cent. They exist entirely as alternative perspectives to be embraced by crackpots, lunatics, and the disenfranchised.
TruTV’s Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura is a documentary series following a group of investigators who examine a different conspiracy in each episode. This premise could result in an interesting and genuinely thought-provoking fifty minutes of television; the actual result is a melodramatic, budget version of The X-Files.
At the end of the title sequence, host Jesse Ventura, a former wrestler, actor and governor, declares: “Now it’s time I think you heard the truth.”
If the truth you expect is nonsensical gibberish from self-declared nutjobs, revealed through painfully forced, obviously orchestrated interviews, then you’ll be a happy viewer.
In one episode, Jesse and his team investigate – the term is used loosely – the Illuminati, a powerful and secretive organisation supposedly building an underground headquarters beneath the Ozarks.
The evidence: a paranoid team member claiming the school kids who prank call him are really the Illuminati; a new, heavily fortified and not-so-secret surveillance building; and a series of underground caves which they explore with a local man codenamed ‘White Rabbit’.
Jesse and the team then recite the evidence at every opportunity, until you want to scream ‘I believe you!’ just to make them shut up.
Other series highlights include: Jesse self-importantly barging his way into the Pentagon to pointlessly interrogate a member of the 9/11 Committee; Jesse, again, claiming on national news that the Twin Towers were disintegrated by a government death ray; and a vast array of disillusioned experts and paranoiacs saying outrageous things for a little media attention.
If you want a documentary that properly investigates conspiracy theories and provides detailed evidence, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura is not for you. The host and his team are as biased and outrageous as those they interview, using wild opinions to validate their own far-fetched ideas.
The show is simply a dumber, more fantastical X-Files, with a bit of Indiana Jones thrown in for good measure.