Falling Skies

Sundays 10:00 PM on TNT
Falling skies
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Falling Skies Series Premiere Review: History Repeats Itself...

by at . Comments

There's nothing especially unique about the premise of Falling Skies. Throughout the two-hour premiere, various scenes reminded me of War of the Worlds, Independence Day and even Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

So, what makes this Steven Spielberg-produced drama stand out? Those were all movies. This is a TV show.

Falling Skies Premiere Scene

Indeed, the two-hour episode (which I'd argue was one hour too long, as the second half strayed too far from the main, engrossing alien takeover; and 120 minutes of time is simply a lot to ask from viewers unfamiliar with a show) played out like a film, replete with impressive effects, production values and multi-dimensional characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here's why:

Noah Wyle. Who didn't love him as John Carter on ER? It's been years since Wyle has been a regular on the small screen, and he's the perfect fit here as Tom Mason, a father of three, desperately seeking that third.

It's a subtle, reserved performance, with Wyle saving outpouring of emotion for scenes that truly call for it. Tom comes across as a pragmatic optimist, someone who can honestly refer to civilians as a "hindrance," while saying they also inspire him to fight. His history references also make for a nice touch.

The dueling human camps. Falling Skies doesn't just pit man versus alien. Hints of tension between the controlling army and a civilian camp lead by Captain Weaver (Will Patton, appropriately gruff) make for an interesting dichotomy between the people themselves.

Multiple types of aliens. Also a fascinating twist. Why are there two kinds of visitors? Did the Skitters make the Mechs? What does this say about their intentions, their planet of origin? A lot of material to mine here.

Those darn harnesses. This is where Falling Skies very much separates itself from a mere story of alien invasion. Why are kids fitted with foreign-looking attachments? Will they eventually, tragically turn into Skitters as a result?

The two hours felt a bit long, but such an extended premiere did allow for a nice balance between action and human emotion. I feel like I know these characters already, I'm invested in the search for Ben and I'm intrigued by the insightful renegade John Pope (great scenes between his portrayer, Colin Cunningham, and Wyle's Tom in hour two).

I've already seen the third episode and it's even better than the pilot. With the feel of a summer blockbuster and an emotional center anchored by the steady presence of Wyle - along with the potential to fill in blanks such as how the resistance movement was formed and how the characters got to where they are - Falling Skies is at the top of my summer programming list.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (139 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Brits in their 40s will recognise that this show is in fact the british tripods series, the 'harness' is nothing new, i hope full credit is given to the author of the tripods series

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av watched the movie n guy thumps up up you all a good work you guys did there i love it tho av not watched the seasson finally

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To the producers, get it out on DVD.

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The shows not bad, I have three boys that are all into scifi. However Fox 8 is spoiling it with all the ads....

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Falling Skies - another boring blah blah blah interspersed occasionally by some graphic aliens. Same as Jericho but without the acting :-) Can't anyone think of something original?

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"The sky is falling" is a sadly accurate description of Falling Skies. Over the past three episodes, there has been no indication of pride in a job well done on the part of the writers, directors, and most of the actors. Clumsy segueys between scenes, irrational plot development (such as leaving a young rescued boy who has had his harness removed in a traumatic medical procedure alone and unconscious in the same room with the unguarded harness), failing to follow logical patterns of behavior when stealing food from under the Skitters' olfactory organs -- but why not, as the Skitters' Mechs can't hit anything they aim at, and the steady parade of people living rough and dirty in a refugee camp who somehow manage to always sport clean faces, nice make-up, and attractive hair. This isn't even taking into account the trite personalities who find their way into every show of this genre (old, crusty military leader with heart of gold, brave well-educated warrior struggling to raise his 3 sons and rescue a forth, beautiful, soft-hearted pediatrition, bad-boy chef with tragic family story who just wants to roast some crispy critters ....) Falling Skies isn't truly BAD bad...it's just pathetic, and painful to watch. Of course, part of that pain comes from overbooked commercials. If this show is trying to convince viewers to buy DVRs, it'll have at least one success to report. My only other serious complaint is the devout little civilian girl who sees good in all that happens and finds comfort in Christian prayer -- leading, of course, to other major characters finding similar comfort in Christian prayer and giving the audience a comfy Christian "feel good" for the end of the third episode.That scene gave me less of a sense of a starving, frightened refugee camp living under the threat of emminate attack and left me feeling like I'd accidentally changed channels and gotten The Waltons. On a petty note, the music is distracting, and nobody is keeping the priceless captive alien Skitter safe from harm until it can be debriefed as to the invasion's goal and purpose. Where is the skilled interrigation expert who can create a bond between the skitter and him- or herself, thereby obtaining truthful, informative answers. Oh, wait! Right! Doctor Vivisection wants a turn at the space alien first, starting with cutting up a second (mercifully dead) alien right in front of the very much alive captive, who predictably objects to the procedure. I thought about naming this review "The Three Stooges have an alien adventure", but I think Larry, Moe and Curly would do a better job of dealing with an invasion than has the Massachusettes 2nd.
Mr. Spielberg, we hardly knew ye ... were here. You're too talented to put your name on a show this bad! RaineyCat.

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"The sky is falling!!" is a sadly accurate description of Falling Skies. Over the past three episodes, there has been no indication of pride in a job well done on the part of the writers, directors, and most of the actors. Clumsy segues between scenes, irrational plot development (such as leaving a young rescued boy who has had his harness removed in a traumatic medical procedure alone and unconscious in the same room with the unguarded harness), failing to follow logical patterns of behavior when stealing food from under the Skitters' olfactory organs -- but why not, as the Skitters' Mechs can't hit anything they aim at, and the steady parade of people living rough and dirty in a refugee camp who somehow manage to always sport clean faces, nice make-up, and attractive hair. This isn't even taking into account the trite personalities who find their way into every show of this genre (old, crusty military leader with heart of gold, brave well-educated warrior struggling to raise his 3 sons and rescue a forth, beautiful, soft-hearted pediatrition, bad-boy chef with tragic family story who just wants to roast some crispy critters ....) Falling Skies isn't truly BAD bad...it's just pathetic, and painful to watch. Of course, part of that pain comes from overbooked commercials. If this show is trying to convince viewers to buy DVRs, it'll have at least one success to report. My only other serious complaint is the devout little civilian girl who sees good in all that happens and finds comfort in Christian prayer -- leading, of course, to other major characters finding similar comfort in Christian prayer and giving the audience a comfy Christian "feel good" for the end of the third episode.That scene gave me less of a sense of a starving, frightened refugee camp living under the threat of emminate attack and left me feeling like I'd accidentally changed channels and gotten The Waltons. On a petty note, the music is distracting, and nobody is keeping the priceless captive alien Skitter safe from harm until it can be debriefed as to the invasion's goal and purpose. Where is the skilled interrigation expert who can create a bond between the skitter and him- or herself, thereby obtaining truthful, informative answers. Oh, wait! Right! Doctor Vivisection wants a turn at the space alien first, starting with cutting up a second (mercifully dead) alien right in front of the very much alive captive, who predictably objects to the procedure. I thought about naming this review "The Three Stooges have an alien adventure", but I think Larry, Moe and Curly would do a better job of dealing with an invasion than has the Massachusettes 2nd.
Mr. Spielberg, we hardly knew ye ... were here. You're too talented to put your name on a show this bad! RaineyCat.

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At two hours, the pilot was somewhat interesting, if confusing. The second episode was boring. But the third episode almost finished any interest I might have had in "The Sky Is Falling!!!" With the poor writing, disinterested directing and uninspired acting, it damn well should be falling...right on Spielberg's head! A clever plot line and good scriptwriting can compensate for "mail it in" acting. Sharp direction can pick up where the writers and actors stumble. But when all three groups are uninterested in working to their potential? Harsh, true. But when the rescued boy's father leaves his unconscious son alone in the same room with the harness that was just cut off the kid? And nobody monitoring the patient?

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TERRIBLE WRITING. HORRIBLE DIALOGUE.
It actually upsets me!

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total disappointment. Hammy acting, bad writing. completely unbelievable. And how come, when most of the charecters have automatic weapons and near complete miltary gear, that not a single one of them wears a helmet? Would it mess up their hair?