There really has not been a strong run on alien invasion. In theaters there was the horrible Skyline and the lackluster Battle: Los Angeles. On the small screen, the underwhelming V and The Event were just recently axed. But on pedigree alone, Falling Skies should be much better than the recent run on the genre. The show was created by a guy who knows a little about aliens, Steven Spielberg, and a writer Graham Yost who wrote for Spielberg’s The Pacific and created a little show called Justified.
Falling Skies picks up six months after the initial attack with a chilling narration from a child giving us an account of how twenty percent of humans have been wiped out since them. A group of six hundred survivor decide it is best to separate into two smaller groups as to not pick up detection from the alien forces and us the view follow a group led by former reservist Will Patton (Remember the Titans) as he lead a group of one hundred fighters and two hundred civilians he affectionately refers to as “eaters.”
His second command in what they call the 2nd Mass is Noah Wiley (The Librarian) got so high in rank solely because he was a history professor in his previous life and has a vast knowledge of military campaigns and has no problems of flaunting his knowledge to anyone who will listen. Wiley lost his wife in the invasion and one of his three boys has gone missing which means he is either dead or has been captured by the aliens, and the first option may actually be the best because the aliens put a harness on kids (adults are killed) on their spine to control them.
Other members of the 2nd Mass include Wiley’s boys the youngest Maxim Knight and the elder Drew Roy (Secretariat) who is a scout for the resistance along with Jessy Schram (Veronica Mars) who takes a shine to Roy. Moon Bloodgood (Faster) is a former pediatrician who is helped out by Seychelle Gabriel (The Spirit) who was pre-med when the invasion and is interested in adding a triangle into Drew’s relationship. While Colin Cunningham (The Sixth Day) and Sarah Carter (DOA: Dead or Alive) show up later and do not seem to keen in fighting alongside their fellow humans.
But this is an alien invasion and the aliens are adequately creepy with their four legs. This may be the best CGI ever on television to date. And if the insect like creatures, known as Skitters or cooties, were not bad enough, they also brought along armed robots called Mechs that are armed with guns and missiles. And above the city of Boston is a huge home base (think Independence Day ships with legs that reach down to the ground). The aliens are so advanced that the remaining humans still do not know what they really want or how to go about fighting them.
It is hard not to think of the other post-apocalyptic series that debuted last year in The Walking Dead as both groups try to live together with death surrounding them. With the gradual introduction of the characters, The Walking Dead was better at creating a connection with the people who populate its world where Falling Skies introduces most of its cast (nineteen main and recurring) in large clumps throughout the two hour premiere making it hard to form a bond with most of them. But Falling Skies has a better pacing than the slowly moving The Walking Dead. At least for the first couple episodes there are no moments where you will be yelling at your screen, “Just get somewhere.” In a summer that is usually filled with the junk food equivalent of television, Falling Skies is a welcome dose of quality.
Falling Skies premieres tonight at 9:00 before moving to its regular Sunday timeslot of 10:00 starting next week (preceded by the season premiere of Leverage. Presumably you will be able to download Falling Skies on iTunes because there is already a page there.