Falling Skies – Premiere (Live and Learn/The Armory) Review

After an unprovoked and devastating alien invasion of Earth leaves the planet in tatters, the remaining humans must learn to work together and fight the aliens if they are to continue to exist. Former history professor Tom Mason as Second In Command of the 2nd Mass must juggle his duties as leader with his duties as a father to his 3 sons, one of whom is being held captive by the aliens.

I’m a big fan of science fiction and I’m always on the lookout for new shows, but I must admit that I hadn’t heard a thing about Falling Skies until it actually came out. While I’m glad that more science fiction is making it to TV, I want it to be quality drama.

Unfortunately, this premiere didn’t really bring anything new to the table and ended up as an enjoyable but unsatisfying experience. The opening was very well done with children narrating the back story of the invasion. Simply put, the aliens showed up, we didn’t fire because they might be friendly, and they nearly wiped us out. Oh, and they’re taking all the children for unknown reasons. This was a great way of getting all the stakes on the table right from the start but unfortunately the rest of the premiere didn’t really seem to capitalise on that setup.

We see a great deal of everyday life for the survivors of the invasion, scavenging for food, always on the run, taking what enjoyment they can get, but there never really seems to be a purpose to it all. Former history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) keeps telling us about the great revolutions in history, but there is never really the sense that this will be one of them. Everybody talks about it, but in a series like this you really need to show the beginnings of the revolution early in the piece or people are going to lose interest.

There are some good performances on display here, and they make the lack of much story much less noticeable. The relationship between Tom Mason and his son Hal (Drew Roy) works particularly well, only occasionally getting a little too Disney. Unfortunately, the character of Weaver (Will Patton) seems like he might be one of the most interesting characters on the show, but the way that he is written makes him far too unlikable, the small hints of his multi-faceted nature only make this more frustrating. Moon Bloodgood also seems a little bland as Anne Glass, doctor and love interest for Tom. Moon has done some great work on other shows like Journeyman, so I hope that her character is given more of a chance to grow over the next few episodes.

Overall, I really wanted to like this show, but the amount of problems made me lose interest along the way. All of the actors are sincere and there are hints of interesting things to come, but we haven’t seen any of it yet. I think that Falling Skies has a great deal of potential, but it remains to be seen whether or not it can live up to that potential before the show loses its audience. The TV landscape is littered with science fiction shows that failed to live up to network expectations.

What I Liked – Great setup. The relationship between Tom and Hal Mason was well done. Action wasn’t over the top.

What I Didn’t Like – Some of the performances were a bit flat. The character of Weaver was too unlikable. There didn’t really seem to be an overall goal for the show.

Rating – 3 out of 5 (Average)

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