Starring: Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight, Peter Shinkoda, Colin Cunningham
From Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, producer Greg Beeman (HEROES) and writer Graham Yost (JUSTIFIED), comes FALLING SKIES, a new sci-fi series premiering tonight on TNT at 9.
FALLING SKIES takes place in Boston in the aftermath of a brutal alien invasion. Most technology has been destroyed, and the military and most major cities have been decimated. Survivors from all walks of life have banded together in small clusters clinging to the few remnants of society they have left and trying to understand the “skitters”, as they’re called, what they want, and what their true intentions are.
Leading the cast is Noah Wyle (ER), as Tom Mason, a history professor and father of two boys, Hal (Drew Roy), who acts as a scout for the Mass 2nd, the group survivors that Tom’s family is a part of, and Matt, who is eight and is trying to find a way to cope with the whole new situation he finds himself in.
Moon Bloodgood (TERMINATOR SALVATION) is the resident doctor Anne Glass, who also acts as a teacher for the group’s children. She, along with Tom, are the inadvertent leaders of the civilian side of the Mass 2nd. We also meet Weaver (Will Patton), a hardened solider who feels that the civilians are more of a liability than a necessity, and whose only motivation is moving his soldiers from on point to the next.
The series premiere sets up the initial conflicts of the series, but this is one of the issues I had with it because FALLING SKIES doesn’t really seem to know whether it wants to be a WALKING DEAD style show, in which the characters are the center and the sci-fi element is ancillary or if it’s going to be a more straight sci-fi show with a bit more emphasis on character. This discrepancy leads to no real sense of urgency or dread for the characters because we aren’t sure until about the last 30 minutes of the pilot of what the threat is or why we should be nervous for the surviors.
The aliens themselves are also a little slow and a little dumb for my taste, especially since I’ve gotten used to the incredibly smart and savvy aliens of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA or even the scrappy but resourceful aliens of DISTRICT 9. You would think that an invading force that could ravage the entire country would be able to track groups of people with more efficiency than what you end up seeing on screen. There are also moments later in the pilot where it seems as though we should sympathize with the aliens, though no real reason is ever explained.
However, Colin Cunningham, who’s John Pope you meet in the second half of the premiere, is really what gives FALLING SKIES energy and momentum and was one of the reasons I actually liked the show. I’m not going to tell you much about his character, but he’s worth waiting around for. He’s one of the more complex, darker, and funnier characters in the series, at least from what I’ve seen, and I think that people will end up gravitating toward him and his performances even more than the leads.
While FALLING SKIES isn’t perfect, I never judge a show by it’s pilot and I have seen a few of the episodes following it and things do get more interesting and the show will definitely scratch your sci-fi itch this summer.
3.5 out of 5
FALLING SKIES has its two hour premiere tonight on TNT at 9pm, and will air on Sundays at 10 on TNT afterward
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