Saturday, June 25, 2011

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 6/25/11

Quote of the Week: You got all of that from a crate of oranges? (President Levi, Friday Night Lights)

Song of the Week: Our Hearts Are Wrong – Jessica Lea Mayfield (Pretty Little Liars)

Big News of the Week: A Melancholy Happy Trails to Clarence Clemons: The music community lost a great one this week when Clarence Clemons passed away earlier this week due to complications from a stroke earlier this month. Clemons was most famous as the saxophonist for the E Street Band that backed Bruce Springsteen for three decades. But he truly shined at live shows where he was always a crowd favorite whenever he stepped to the mic. He also added his talents to artists as wide ranging from The Temptations to Gloria Estefan to Twisted Sister and most recently appeared on the latest Lady Gaga album and even popped up in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He will be missed.

The Killing: The show got killed this week (bad pun intended) for its cliffhanger ending and rightfully so. The producers say that no one with the show ever said that the first season would be self contained, but my big problem was that everyone assumed it was because it was based on a Danish show that did wrap up the murder mystery in a single season then moved onto a new case in the second. Obviously they knew at the beginning at the season it would end the way it would so all they had to do when people talked about how they assumed that we would learn Rosie’s killer by the end of the season all you had to do is tease that that may not necessarily be the case and that would have temped the firestorm they ended up having with the ending. Then the show had its second presidential moment of the season with Belko about to go Jack Ruby on the councilman after his earlier Monica Lewinski moment with Rosie Larsen. But I am not sure if I will be around next season when Holder stands in front of a Mission Accomplished sign. You can download The Killing on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: That slow motion musical montage of Aria searching for Mr. Fitz may be the creepiest thing I have ever seen on television. Am I the only one bothered that the show is turning statutory rape into some grand love story? You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Friday Night Lights: Another classic Buddy Garrity episode, so great as he hounded the principle and Coach about the potential of him leaving for Florida adding great comic relief, then turning on a dime and giving a heartfelt plea at Tim’s parole hearing. But it was painful to watch Tim this week; dude has a lot of pain in his heart from his time in prison. Hopefully everything works out in the end.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Friday Night Lights on iTunes

Free Download of the Week: DMB Caravan Sampler (iTunes): The first of Dave Matthews Band’s four festivals they are having this summer got under way this weekend in Atlantic City and for those that could not make it, head over to where you can get an iTunes code for a seven song sampler including a track from Dave and the boys.

New Album Release of the Week: When The Sun Goes Down - Selena Gomez and the Scene

New DVD Release of the Week: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition + Digital Copy)

Video of the Week: Remember that story everyone joked about years ago when a woman sued McDonalds for millions of dollars because she spilled their hot coffee on her laugh? Well that is actually the jump off point for the latest HBO documentary in their Summer Series. Hot Coffee premieres Monday at 9:00 and takes a look at “frivolous” lawsuits and looks at the effectiveness of a civil justice system heavily influenced by bottom-line corporate interests. Here is a trailer:

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Voice, Tuesday at 9:00 and Wednesday at 8:00 on NBC: Had you told me three months ago I would be anticipating the outcome of the first season of The Voice I would have laughed in your face and that I would be “Team Blake” I would have been insulted. Sure the idea of the Blind Audition was an interesting concept, but I figure it would in end be the same as American Karaoke: mediocre singers singing crappy song. But there is one reason for my change in heart: Dia Frampton. After the novelty of the Blind Auditions and Battle Rounds came to a close, Frampton put up not just the greatest performance on any singing competition, her rendition of Kanye West’s Heartless was a Grammy worthy performance (for more on Heartless see: You a New Friend I Got Homies). Unfortunately my two other early favorites, one named wonders Xenia and Nakia, exited this week. But after seeing what do was able to do with Heartless and R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion (see: That's Me in the Corner, That's Me in the Spotlight), I cannot wait to see what she has in store for the finale where she will perform an original song (hopefully she gets to write the song herself and is not forced to sing song sappy crap that usually comes from the American Karaoke winners) and a duet with coach Blake Shelton (when I heard this I was sending mental notes to the two suggesting they do a song by The Civil Wars which would fit both of their styles and they can knock it out of the park). It has also been announced that she will also duet with Shelton’s wife Miranda Lambert for the result show on Wednesday. No word who (or if) the other finalist Beverly McClellan, Javier Colon or Vicci Martinez will perform with. I guess Blake was able to get a answer quicker than whatever name Cee Lo pulled out of his extensive rolodex of artists he likes to name drop.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Around the Tubes - 6/24/11

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on True Blood, Football Cops, Creatures of Habits, Cocaine Sub Hunt, Life After Film School, Don King,, Mob Wives, Oprah, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

- True Blood returns to HBO this Sunday at 10:00 and to get ready for the fourth season premiere, head over to the show’s Facebook page and once you Like the show you can Immortalize Yourself where you can make an exclusive Season 4 video staring themselves, their friends and their favorite True Blood characters. You can also sign up fo Blood Line to receive weekly calls from a different True Blood cast member.

- We still do not have a collective bargaining agreement for football, but the Manning brothers are keeping busy with their new show Football Cops which looks like Sabotage with footballs.

Football Cops Trailer

- You cannot do better than free and you can currently do so with the new self titled Creatures of Habit album for free. But if you are feeling generous, it is a name you own price digital download on BandCamp, so you can pay for it if you want.

- We have all heard of drug mules getting their products into the country, but the cartels have many other ways to get cocaine onto our shores which the National Geographic Channel will be looking into with Cocaine Sub Hunt premiering this Sunday ay 9:00. Check out a preview below:

Life on a Cocaine Sub

- Monte Carlo hits theaters next week and this Sunday director and co-writer Tom Bezucha will stop by Life After Film School this Sunday at 7:30 on Fox Movie Channel to discuss how he directed Selena Gomez through the acting challenges of playing two characters.

- Don King may be turning 80 soon, and yes there is an app for that. Yes you can download the Don King app that features a biography, never before seen video of his career and much more.

- In other app news, NBC just recently released its app for the iPad which you can download for free. The app is free and features preview clips from NBC shows, photos, recaps, games and much more.

- The first season of VH1’s Mob Wives comes to a close this Sunday with an “explosive” finale following an all day marathon and will be followed by a reunion show hosted by Wendy Williams.

- Don’t ask me what a “bookazine” is but O The Oprah Magazine is releasing one to commemorate Oprah’s Farewell Celebration: Inside 25 Extraordinary Years of The Oprah Winfrey Show. It will go on sale nationwide June 28 and will be on sale wherever bookazines are sold.

- And just because, Weird Al Yankovic and the Roots performing the internet exclusic Beer Barrel Polka:

Weird Al Yankovic: Beer Barrel Polka

Thursday, June 23, 2011

That's Me in the Corner, That's Me in the Spotlight

Dia Frampton performing Losing My Religion by R.E.M. on The Voice

There were no truer words spoken on The Voice when Blake Shelton said about Dia Frampton, “This girl isn’t just someone who can sing, this girl is someone who has a vision.” Where everyone in the competition is still content with singing straight karaoke versions of their songs, Dia is clearly spending her rehearsal time tweaking her performance all week, not settling on a strong vocal performance, she seems to be the only one on the show who is working to make a great song. Those hand claps at the chorus were so simple, but yet so brilliant and really to her dreamy version of Losing My Religion and turned it into a great performance. If Dia Frampton wins The Voice, she will give instant credibility to the show that the other finalist would not.

Semi-finals: Dia Frampton Sings "Losing My Religion"

Compare that to arguably the best overall performance of the week by Vicci Martinez (faux-hawks aside) ; seriously, it is hard to beat a drum line, but there is no way I would ever buy her version. I already have the Florence + the Machine version on my iPod, why would I want an inferior version in every way, from vocals to music, it is just a bland version compared to the original. Sure Dia cannot compete vocally with Michael Stipe either (of course he does have one of the great voices in rock and roll history) but she changed it up enough to make it a worth wild version on its own merits where you do not naturally compare their vocals.

Semi-finals: Vicci Martinez Sings "Dog Days Are Over"

When they announced that each team’s America’s Vote would go against the Coach’s Save I had to think of Mark Burnett’s other show Survivor and its recent Redemption Island twist. Sure the idea of Redemption Island was cool, but I figured they would immediately vote out whoever got back in the game and that happened. And on The Voice having an America’s Vote and a Coach’s Save is good theater, I thought to myself, America is just going to vote for the same person unless that person runs off the stage crying during their performance. But I also assumed that all the coaches would not give anyone over fifty-five points and Adam shocked me when he put almost all his eggs in Javier Colon’s basket.

But that wasn’t the shocking moment of the week from Adam Levine who admitted he changed his mind from Jeff Jenkins to Casey Weston at the last minute. I wonder what change his mind. I thought Jeff should have been kicked off the show right after his “legal Thomson sister” comment. Though it may have more to do with Casey outselling Jeff on iTunes last week. But I wonder since Adam and Cee Lo had the advantage of seeing their singers practice for a week had any influence on their picks. And considering Jeff was set to perform I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, one of the worst power ballads ever in the history of the world, I would not be surprised if that played a part. I actually knew a couple who chose that song as their first dance at their wedding and I took the under on the length of their marriage. Needless to say I may a pretty penny off that wager. And Curtis Grimes fans rejoice, you can actually buy the songs by the rejects on iTunes where you can purchase his version of Colder Weather. Also available are the Thompson Sisters Cowboy Take Me Away (um nevermind, it was on iTunes yesterday, but seems to have disappeared), and Devon Barley giving Animal by Neon Trees a spin.

But Adam did not have the most shocking moment of the week. That went to Nakia who turns out to have a boyfriend. In the immortal words of Hurley, “Didn’t see that one coming.” So next week on The Voice the final four will be performing a duet with their coaches (I wonder if Vegas is taking bets on who will over-sing more Christina/Beverly or Adam/Javier) and an original song. I wonder if Carson misspoke on the original song, but I hope they do do something original and are allowed to write their own songs if they want because I would much rather hear a song that Dia and Javier wrote themselves than some crappy American-Karaoke style championship song. Then again there will be a short voting window with the results show airing again on Wednesday.

Semi-final Results: George Michael Medley

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Want My Music Television - 6/22/11

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Perform This Way - "Weird Al" Yankovic

I have been listening to “Weird Al” Yankovic my whole life, would tape the Dr. Demento Show whenever he was on, even bought his Box Set release even though I owned all his albums, but I really need the Men in Black mind eraser gadget so I can wipe this music video from my memory. Remember his song Do I Creep You Out? I can finally answer that question with an emphatic yes.

Block after Block – Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim are back to their guerilla tactics on the streets of New York City, but managed to keep their clothes on. Why cannot all music videos be this fun?

Calgary – Bon Iver

After working with Kanye West for his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I was interested on if Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) would take any of that influence into his new album. And from the sounds of Calgary, in this song at least his sound is fuller. And he also seemed to take Kanye’s recent penchant for weird visuals in his music video.

Life Is Life – Noah and the Whale

When we last saw Noah and the Whale they were telling us that life goes on (or at least spelling it) and now Life Is Life. But with the cheerleaders in the performance shots I cannot help but think of the lost nineties gen Popular by Nada Surf.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Ring to Rule Them All

Sure The Lord of the Rings movies were released individually a couple months ago on blu-ray, but who bought The Fellowship of the Ring and thought to themselves, that’s really the only one I want. Most fanatics knew that the full set would get a blu-ray release eventually and a week from today is that day when you can buy The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy, fifteen disks in all, and Warner Bros is going all out for the release. Highlighted by a midnight release party in West Los Angeles where actors from the film will be there to autograph your newly purchased blu-ray and a costume contest with a grand prize of a VIP Tour of Middle-earth (an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand where the movies were filmed). For a full run down of what Warner Bros is doing to celebrate (including the re-airing of The Big Bang Theory’s Lord of the Rings parody), here is the full press release from Warner Bros:

One Ring. One Release. One Unforgettable Night.

Count-Down to “Middle-earth Midnight Madness” Launch Celebration,

Theatre Screenings Lead Huge Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Push for The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition

Special Event Featuring Cast Member Greetings, Costume Contest With Fabulous Prize Packages, and More at Best Buy in West Los Angeles to Celebrate Warner Home Video's June 28 Midnight Release.

Facebook Page, with 5.2 Million Friends, is Official Destination for Insider Information, “Wisdom Wednesday” Q&A with Weta Workshop Talent and new Elvish Name Translator application!

Burbank, Calif., June 17, 2011 -- On June 28, Warner Home Video will release all three of Peter Jackson’s visual masterpieces on Blu-ray in a 15-disc stunning collection entitled The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition. To celebrate the occasion, Warner Home Video has announced a count-down to “Middle-earth Midnight Madness” celebratory event at Best Buy’s West Los Angeles location, 11301 W. Pico Blvd., where fans can join in the anticipation of the magic moment when they’ll finally be able to own the new extended edition trilogy on Blu-ray.

Brimming with enthusiasm, fans from all over the country (and possibly worldwide) will be encouraged to arrive for the festivities at 12:00 PM on June 27 -- dressed as their favorite Middle-earth characters. The Aragorn, Frodo, Gandalf and other look-alikes will be eligible to win one of several exciting prizes[1], with one lucky contestant capturing the Grand Prize of a VIP “Tour of Middle-earth” – an all-expense-paid trip to New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown), courtesy of Air New Zealand and Weta Workshop. Highlights of the Grand Prize package itinerary will include a VIP tour hosted by Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, visits to The Lord of the Rings movie locations, a SKYCITY Grand Hotel VIP experience in Auckland and being hosted at the Weta Cave by the crew from Weta Workshop. Two Second Prize winners will receive an Official 10k Solid Gold version of The One™ Ring from Noble Collections (consumer value $495 each). Three Third Prize winners will receive a life-sized replica of The Sting Sword™, Frodo’s sword used throughout the Trilogy, also supplied by Noble Collections (consumer value $295).

All attendees will be winners, as they marvel at the specially created atmosphere, with autographs from celebrities, and themed give-aways, topped off with the choreographed countdown to midnight and the satisfaction of being the first people in the world to get their new Blu-ray copy of The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition.

In attendance will be talent from the trilogy as well as broadcast, print, radio and online media to report on all activities, including the fan-favored online destination staff will be on hand, as the line starts officially at 12:00 PM on June 27th, to celebrate the release with trivia, games, fan profiles and more! Smaller prizes and swag will be handed out throughout the day. Costumes will be judged by representatives from as well as by Richard Taylor who will judge the finalists via Skype. Taylor, co-owner and creative lead at Weta Workshop is co-founder of the Weta companies in New Zealand. Weta Workshop has an international reputation as one of the film industry’s most successful special effects studios. Richard and the team worked on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy for seven years designing and creating armour, weapons, prosthetics and miniatures for these films, and Richard received four Oscars® and three BAFTAs for Weta’s work on the trilogy in the disciplines of Costume; Make up and Visual Effects.

To round out the event, tickets will be given away for the last and final exclusive in-theater screening taking place in more than 500 theaters across the country. Several lucky fans will have the chance to attend The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Theatrical Series – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on Tuesday, June 28th in Los Angeles 7:00 PM PST. For tickets to other Fathom events and screenings visit

Other key initiatives heralding the Blu-ray release:

The Lord of the Rings Facebook page (, with 5.2 million fans, is the official destination for insider information, talent access, and new content. The all new Elvish Name Translator application, allowing fans to explore the history of the Elvish language and translate their name into the official Elven font, launched on the page on June 6th. Additionally, June 8th marked the beginning of “Wisdom Wednesdays,” a Q&A format where fans get to hear from the legendary talent behind the trilogy. Alan Lee and John Howe, illustrators and conceptual artists for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as well as Academy Award®[2] winning talent Richard Taylor, Design and Effects Supervisor for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy will respond to fan questions, previously gathered through the Facebook destination. Answers began posting on June 8th with future video postings on June 15th and 22nd.

TNT scheduled airings of the theatrical versions include The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Saturday June 18th at 8:00pm ET/11:00pm PT followed by the July 3rd airings of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at 1:00pm ET/4:00pm PT and an encore of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at 4:45pm ET/7:45pm PT.

Additionally, on June 30th, CBS’s hit network comedy series, “The Big Bang Theory,” is scheduled to show, both on air and via, a re-broadcast of their highly-rated The Lord of the Rings parody episode, “The Precious Fragmentation.”

Exclusive in-theater screenings of the trilogy in high definition are taking place on three consecutive Tuesdays this month, each in 500 theaters across the country. Presented by NCM Fathom and Warner Home Video as The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition Event, the screenings will be as follows: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ on June 14; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers™ on June 21; and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King™ on June 28, all at 7:00 p.m. local time. During each event, theater audiences will also view, on the big screen and in hi-def, nearly an hour of additional feature footage per film with extended scenes carefully selected under the supervision of director Peter Jackson. In addition, fans will be treated to personal introductions to each film in the trilogy from Jackson.

Coming soon is the new videogame The Lord of the Rings: War in the North! In this co-op based Action RPG, you must work together or die alone in an epic quest to turn the tides in the War of the Ring. Fight new enemies, visit new lands, and live the untold adventure. Available on Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3, and Games for Windows®. Fans can pre-order the game at or any Best Buy store.

About the Extended Edition:

This highly anticipated extended edition (Blu-ray) set will be released in English 6.1 DTS-HD MA audio and includes a new transfer of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ which was remastered from the original 2k digital files. The set boasts more than 26 hours of additional content, highlighted by the rare behind-the-scenes documentaries created by Costa Botes, the filmmaker given unprecedented access to the set of each production by Peter Jackson. The feature-length documentaries, with more than four and a half hours of footage, focus on a number of complexities and circumstances that tested the filmmakers, cast and crew during the shoot, as well as a look at some of the comical antics and personal moments on the set. The Costa Botes documentaries accompany acclaimed special features by Michael Pellerin from the original extended cut releases to make this the most comprehensive The Lord of the Rings compilation ever. The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition (Blu-ray) will be packaged in multi-disc elite packaging inside a premium rigid slipcase and will retail for $119.98 SRP.

[1] NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal U.S. residents. A parent or legal guardian must accompany any participant under 18 years of age at all times during the event. For official Registration Form and complete Official Rules including costume guidelines and prize descriptions, visit

[2] * Academy Awards® and Oscar® are both registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Monday, June 20, 2011

You Might as Well Face it You’re not Addicted to Curtis Grimes

My favorite part of this episode did not actually stem from anything that happened on screen, but the press release that NBC sent me the next day with links to all the performances with its usual positive adjectives for all the singers like “aggressive and commanding,” “booming vocals,” and “stirring” with one exception that simply read, “Curtis Grimes performs the ‘80s hit “Addicted to Love.” Naturally that was the first one I had to watch and to NBC’s PR team credit, it was one of the few performances that lived up to its description. With Cee Lo and Adam’s teams not being finalized until right before the final eight are set to perform, I wonder if all their team members will get to rehearse a song this week or are they just going to say to Curtis (and the Chicken Little dude) not to bother to show up to practice this week. I would have included the sisters to this list but I do not want to underestimate the pervyness of Cee-Lo.

Curtis Grimes Sings Addicted to Love

As for the eliminations, I was a little shocked that everyone was so shocked that Blake Shelton picked Xenia including Carson Daly. Have they not been paying attention last week? (Of course the answer for Carson is probably yes.) For those that have not been able to depicter the coach’s comments here it is: if they speak in superlatives, they thought the performance was okay. If they sexually harass the singer they did not like the performance. And if they speak in hyperbole, they loved it (except for Christina Aguilera who instead gets a befuddled look on her face as if she cannot comprehend how anyone could be a better performer than her and tries to hide her jealousy by deflecting attention away from the performance). So if you watched last week, Patrick Thomas was sexually harassed, Jared Blake just received superlatives, while Blake said of Xenia, “America is watching a star being born” and actually went on stage to give her a hug. It also did not hurt that going into the show, she had two of the five most popular songs from The Voice on iTunes (Team Black actually accounted for four of the top six). Considering she was one of my three favorite voices from the blind audition, I was glad that she is advancing.

As for the other remaining member of Blake’s team it was refreshing to see Dia Frampton actually get the America Save (you can read my lengthy analysis of her performance here: (You Got a New Friends, I Got Homies) because whenever America is left up to voting for something, they get it wrong ninety-five percent of the time. It may be because of The Voice’s voting system, where other things that have internet voting throw integrity out of the window by encourage losers to sit in front of their computers for hours on end to increase ad click thru rates, The Voice limits ten votes per person but more importantly includes iTunes downloads as a vote, which is the true sign of the support if you are willing to drop $1.29 to buy the song, I just wished The Voice would weigh iTunes download more because of that. And even though she is safely through and no longer count as votes, Dia has been neck and neck earlier this week on the iTunes charts with early front runner Javier Colon and has started to pull away this weekend (as I write this she has a twenty-five spot lead on him. Xenia is managing some staying power too with the fourth most popular download from The Voice). Though I do not fully understand the love of his performance, sure Javier has the best pure voice in the competition, but the guy adds so many vocal gymnastics (really how is not on Christina’s team) it just ruins the song. But I wonder of all the other contestants ran out to take piano lessons this week considering the two most popular performances of the round used the instrument.

Now that the final sixteen have perform it is clear to me with these performances it is like Dia is playing in the major league while everyone else in the competition is still playing tee ball except for Javier and Nakia who are trolling around the minors. Speaking of Nakia, his was my favorite performance of the week. I’m feeling the burn big guy.

Nakia Sings Sex on Fire

For those that have not checked your local television listings, The Voice is changing its rules once again, and having a results show Wednesday at 8:00, so instead of a full week of voting it will be less than twenty-four hours. I do not know why NBC could not keep the full week voting in tack for this next round and have a results show on next Monday when they are airing nothing but reruns. Giving people a full week to vote allows performance to go viral and bring in new fans, and their buying dollars to iTunes. Sure Dia has shown that people are still willing to buy truly brilliant performance a week later, but I bet more people are willing to part with $1.29 if they think it means something. So if you are a fan of any of the elite eight, be sure to get your votes in after the show because you will not have a full week to do so. Hopefully this gets ironed out better next season. One change I would like to see is the contestants go against each other, not just their team in this round because no one on Team Bald deserved to be in the final eight let alone the final four. It would be a shame if someone from Blake or Cee-Lo’s teams (assuming he does not choose the sisters) not make the finals just so Christina is represented.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Previewing Falling Skies

The cast of Falling Skies, well half

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.

Noah Wiley with a beardFalling 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.

Th moderateyl attractive Moon BloofgoodOther 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.

Yes Hanna Griffith is not a motorcycle riding, gun toting chickIt 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.