As soon as I saw Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on TNT network’s “Falling Skies” show and Moon Bloodgood and Noah Wyle starred in it, not to mention being a sci-fi fan and drama fan, I knew I had to watch this show. This is the review for the first episode – Live and Learn.
The premiere opens with drawings of how the aliens attacked and took over the world from the perspective of the children. Soon we are introduced to the main characters in this post-apocalyptic tv show. Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) and his son Hal, along with some other military soldiers are scavenging for gas, food and anything which might be useful to their survival. The aliens are hot on their trails and destroying everything in classic Star Trek style laser beams. Some of them die in the battle and the remaining come back to camp after the aliens destroy a vast portion of the city. Here Commander Porter issues an order to move out in units of 300 – 100 fighters and 200 civilians, as the alien sensors are starting to detect groups of people over 500. Mason has his reasons to not want to go because his second son Ben has been harnessed by the aliens. Finally with Weaver as head of the 2nd Massachusetts and Tom Mason, the history professor as the second in command, they move out on a predetermined path. Tom wants to lead a group of fighters who can scavenge for more food and Weaver barely gives him any proper heavy ammo to defend himself and his group. They set out and Mason finds a young dead boy with a horrible harness cut halfway across his back. In another part of the city, Hal accidentally discovers his younger brother, Ben along with other kids and a bunch of Skitters and Mechs. Tom convinces his son and himself that it is not the right time to rescue Ben and go ahead to scavenge for more food. Here Hal finds out a way to kill a Skitter, just go really close and shoot off the head! Apparently, they didn’t know that a Skitter could be killed so easily.
There’s a poignant moment in the show when Tom weighs two books in his hands and mind – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and chooses the Two Cities book to carry along with him, tossing the Captain Nemo aside. Of course, A Tale of Two Cities is about the French Revolution where the French civilians fight the Aristocrats. So, its understandable why he would choose that particular book. 13-year old Jimmy plays a fighter who is considered good by every fighter, travels with the fighting group and this was very shocking to me and so would it be to others.
The interaction between Tom and Hal with the kid, Matt is very nice and heartwarming. There’s a scuffle between the father and son and the eventual plan to rescue Ben is met with a hopeless feeling. So our dear professor indulges them to a bit of fun historical facts where the invading armies are overthrown by the natives due to their relentlessness, like Athenians, Scots vs British, French Revolution. Everybody look like they were hearing somebody talking in Latin. So our professor says the only thing everybody can understand, Red Socks Yankees ’04. With smiling faces and renewed hopes, they set away to do some good old scavenging.
The story seems to be pretty derivative from so many other sci-fi shows. You have the main character, Mason who is a nerd (history professor) and has someone (son) whom the aliens have abducted, the doctor chick and a serious looking asian guy. The young handsome guy (Hal) with a hot blonde (Karen) and another cute girl (Lourdes) who has the hots for him. Even though it has all these clichés, I find the show interesting and I am gonna stick to it. The show will obviously be more about the human drama rather than the technical mumbo-jumbo which most sci-fi shows have. It isn’t flashy and try to be cool. The dialogues are very real and the alien ship, Skitters and Mechs CGI look awesome, in a realistic way.
I didn’t like the fact that Bloodgood barely had any screen time here. And the ending where Matt and the other kids take turns on a Rollerblade and everybody stand around them watching, like as if they have not got anything to do rather than watch, smile and clap for a bunch of kids! And the aliens who could disable all the latest human technologies don’t have a single infrared camera? They could wipe out every last human with that device easily. And North Vietnamese victory over the U.S Military was one of the greatest wins for the natives, why wasn’t it mentioned when the professor was going on about greatest upsets in history!
Anyway I am very interested in why the Mechs look like our robots – 2 arms and 2 legs, while the Skitters have 2 arms and 6 legs. Maybe the aliens were here long before anybody had known and studying the humans and their strengths and frailties? And why did the aliens only harness teenage kids and not adults or young children? And will we ever see how the aliens actually destroyed our world? If you have anything to share, any views, hit the comments people.
P.S: The premiere of “Falling Skies” had the biggest opening in cable history. More than 6 million viewers tuned into the show.