Tom Mason - Noah Wyle
Anne Glass - Moon Bloodgood
Hal Mason - Drew Roy
Weaver - Will Patton
Karen - Jessy Schram
Dai - Peter Shinkoda
Matt Mason - Maxim Knight BR>
OTHER FALLING SKIES SEASONS
OTHER ALIEN INVASION SERIES
The Earth has been invaded and aliens have taken over. Many people have been turned into mindless slaves by larvae placed on their backs and penetrating their spinal columns. To take them off is to kill the person. A few remaining people struggle to survive and fight against the aliens, but the city that Tom Mason lives in has been lost and everyone is moving out. They need food, though, and Tom puts together a team to attack a food warehouse that might be a trap.
FALLING SKIES finally arrives in the UK after much pre-hype and the opening episode falls flat. It is only the opening episode, so it is too early to judge just yet, but the characters are a little too familiar and two-dimensional. That's the ones that get enough screen time and lines to actually make any impact at all. The team that Noah Wyle's Tom Mason puts together to take the warehouse remain faces with nothing much behind them. There is time, though, for them to be fleshed out in future episodes. The scripts, though, are going to have to give them a lot more to work with.
The aliens fall between being pretty good CGI creations and being too familiar to us from other things. Their robot suits are too much like the cylons from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, their contruction towering over the city is too much like the ship from DISTRICT 9 and the aliens themselves a bit too much like those from INDEPENDENCE DAY. Impressively, though, there is no hint as to what they are doing here or what their agenda is.
The show wants to be a gritty reworking of WAR OF THE WORLDS or V, but the opening battle sequence (with a big debt to the future scenes from TERMINATOR) is unconvincing and too obviously shot on a backlot set. Also unconvincing are the facts that the aliens patrol the skies and attack scavengers at night and yet can't pick up a column of three hundred refugees wandering along the middle of a road in broad daylight.
One moment that does work is the kids on the skateboard sequence with its echoes of everything that has been lost.
FALLING SKIES is going to have to improve rapidly if it is going to be the next big hope for alien invasions on TV.Top
Mason takes his team to check that an armory has been cleared of all its weapons. They are taken prisoner by a gang whose leader intends to ransom them for arms and food.
The aliens barely appear in only the second episode of this alien invasion series and that could be a bad sign. Instead, we get a bunch of bikers with guns who are almost completely without identity apart from the leader who is as charismatic as he is amoral. He kills the aliens not for the sake of the humans, but just for the fun of it. He is the equivalent of the Michael Ironside character in V and he is more fun than all the others put together. We can only hope that he is to become a regular on the show as he might liven it up a bit.
Considering that there are standoffs, kidnapping, shootouts and threats all around, it is surprising that this episode is really rather dull. The problem is that the characters aren't interesting enough to get involved for. This is a big problem and needs to be resolved soon if the show is to be successful.
They also need to put more of the aliens on the screen. One brief glimpse of a robot and another of an alien ship just isn't enough.Top
Tom and his team go back for Ben, but bring home another child instead to undergo the procedure of having the alien control harness removed, something that has killed the victim on every previous occasion.
This is a better episode since it brings in the aliens much more, containing some decent action sequences and some less interesting character stuff as the doctor who comes aboard with the theory of how to remove the harness just happens to be someone that was there when Tom's wife was killed and who turns out to be a scumbag.
Much of it is predictable, but the plot is at least starting to grow more interesting and to add some detail to the aliens.
If only the human stories were as interesting.Top
Tom goes in search of more motorbikes for the fighters and has to take along an unwelcome member of the team. Back at the High School, Anne makes strides in learning how the aliens operate.
Another scouting mission falls foul of the aliens and the team only manage to escape by the skin of their teeth. There is nothing new there and the show is already repeating itself only four episodes in.
Thank goodness then for the investigations into the captured alien and attempts to communicate with it. These are infinitely more interesting, though not enough to stave off the sense that this show isn't getting anywhere very fast.Top
Tom and his team set out to save Ben once more, but the plan is far riskier than anything that they have tried before and involves sending someone into the aliens' nest alone.
The mission at the heart of this episode is what it is all about and the stuff that goes on around the edges might be dramatic, but it's of far less interest. The fleshing out of the characters continues and varies from the clumsy to the subtle, but is mainly in the former camp.
We have some interesting insight into the aliens, apart from the way to kill them in hand to hand combat. The way that the brainwashed children are treated by their guardian alien is quite interesting, though none of the characters seem to think so.Top
Word comes that the school is about to be attacked by the aliens and the adults should stay and fight whilst the children are taken to a safe place in the country, something that causes concern.
This is a set up episode and feels like it all the way. The characters discuss all the reasons why they shouldn't let the children go, but it's obvious that they are going to all along. The attack by a single alien and its mechanical partner is somewhat obvious and forced storywise, though it is exciting.
It does beggar belief, however, that any parent would give their child up to a stranger on his say so alone and nobody seems willing to check with a higher authority. The twist at the end, therefore, doesn't come as a big surprise.Top
The so-called Sanctuary is really feeding kids to the aliens for immunity from their attacks and when they discover this, the children make a break back for the school.
It takes ages for everyone to figure out what's going on despite the fact that it's all laid out for them. Once someone does figure it out, he is allowed by the villainous leader to go back to his kids unharmed and then nobody notices when the kids that are so important to their plans just walk out. It's all total nonsense.
It's fortunate then that the ending is at least action-oriented and somewhat exciting or the lack of sense and the tedious subplot about a breach birth would be tedious in the extreme.Top
It's time to take the attack to the Skitters and hit the structure that they're building in Boston. Captain Weaver, however, isn't sleeping properly and is taking some strange decisions. On a scoping mission, Tom learns the truth behind his behaviour, but also about who controls the Skitters.
There's a new alien in town an it looks very much like the robots at the end of Steven Spielberg's AI-ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, only less able to operate the high technology that the aliens have at their disposal. The look of the thing undermines the show somewhat.
Not as much, though, as the subplot about the woman who is living alone, but within sight of the Skitters. At least Weaver's breakdown has its basis in a believable character.Top
Word comes that the attack needs to be aborted, but Weaver refuses to see it that way. Tom becomes increasingly concerned and a mutiny is brewing, but who is going to outwit whom?
So much for standing together in the face of the enemy. The revelations made about the Skitters and their relationship with the human children is the best surprise that the show has come up with so far.
This, though, is about the human characters and it is therefore a shame that it has to be so obvious and predictable.Top
Weaver takes his fighters in against the Skitters in Boston whilst Tom prepares for an attack on the school, but both have weapons that will take the aliens by surprise.
The truth about Skitters and the human children is moved forward with one of the affected boys selling out his people for the chance to take the harness back only to learn that there is no way back.
The attack on the school provides the only on-screen action and it is disappointingly muted, with the promised alien-killing bullets proving less effective than promised and only one being shot up. The whole of the Boston battle takes place off-screen.
Since the expected action finale doesn't materialise, the show has to come up with a cliffhanger ending and it's one that makes so little sense as to be a real headscratcher.Top
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