Falling Skies, from Executive Producer Steven Spielberg and staring Noah Wyle, is probably the most ambitious show TNT has attempted. The series picks up during the aftermath of an alien invasion with the resistance calling these aliens Skitters.
Skitters are lizard-y bug looking creatures with 6 legs and huge heads. They seem to be very fast, agile and have amazing climbing skills. Aside from the Skitters, the streets are patrolled by Mechs, large biped (two legs) mechanical killing machines. The alien force does not just patrol the streets as they have also set traps at locations with food and resources (supermarkets, sporting goods stores, gun shops, .etc). This seems like an especially brutal/morale-killing tactic and I don’t remember seeing aliens do this previously in other invasion-like series.
There is a lot to like about this series. Noah Wyle is the series lead and plays former history professor Tom Mason. Mason, is an academic forced to take up arms to protect his three sons Hal, Matt and the captured and harnessed Ben. He is also the second-in-command to the 2nd Mass, lead by Captain Weaver (played by the always underrated Will Patton).
Now, I really enjoyed watching this pilot. I’ve been looking forward to ‘Falling Skies’ since I received the New York Comic-Con exclusive comic back in January. Leading up to 9:00 pm, I was worried I was setting myself up for disappointment (due in part to my disappointment to the Green Lantern movie, I’m sure). As the 9:00 hour kicked off, those disappointments were replaced by relief. The look of the show was sharp and crisp and the actors were cast very well.
So, the show looked great. It was well acted. What could be wrong with ‘Falling Skies’? Honestly not a whole lot. The problems I had were minor and typical of most series pilots. Colin Cunningham as Pope is one of the characters I wasn’t too impressed with in the premiere, but I’m sure his story will grow and make him an interesting foil as prisoner of the 2nd Mass. The other plot device I was hoping not to see was the Civilian vs. The “Military” decision tree. Look, it’s the end of the world, there are no such thing as civilians anymore, everyone should be expected to help save humanity (I had the same problem with BSG).
There is a lot to like about ‘Falling Skies’ and there is some great storytelling ahead. That is one thing I am sure of. One note to TNT, when you say “limited commercial interruptions” you probably shouldn’t have 3-4 minutes of commercials about every 8 minutes. It was very distracting and took away from the drama of the show. I had to go back and rewatch on my DVR to buzz through and get the real view of the show. ‘Falling Skies’ can be a very special show. It has aspects of ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘The 4400’ and other great genre post-apocalyptic shows. If you keep interruptions and the little in-show spoilers to a minimum you’ll get viewers, streamers and downloaders in droves.
Make sure to tune into the second episode of ‘Falling Skies’ next Sunday at the regularly scheduled time of 10:00 PM EST. Until then, head over to Twitter and let us know what you thought of the show use #fscht to share in the conversation. Also, leave your comments below and let us know your favorite character(s) from the premiere. This week’s ‘Falling Skies’ Question: What do you think the Skitters are doing to the kids with those harnesses? I think they are using them to control the mechs.