Monday, June 20, 2011
After a couple months of anticipation, TNT's new series "Falling Skies" premiered last night in a two hour special.
The story begins six months after an invading alien force has wiped out all military forces and disabled electronics across the globe. Humans survive in roaming "camps" and ordinary fathers and mothers have become scavengers and warriors in the fight to keep their families safe. Meanwhile, children are being kidnapped and forced into mind-controlling harnesses by the bug-like alien race. The purpose of these devices and the agenda for controlling the children is still a mystery, but removal of a harness has so far been fatal every time.
Noah Wyle plays a father of three boys who lost his wife, and their mother, in the initial attack. One of his sons was thought dead but is discovered alive...wearing a slave harness.
The budget invested for the appropriate action sequences helps to make things engaging, even if the promised "limited commercial interruption" at the top of the hour was actually multiple breaks at about 7 minutes apart. (Whaa?)
The visual design of the show is appropriately bleak and there is so much potential for this to be another "Battlestar Galactica". But the light tone of the dialogue and unrealistic ability for most everyone to emotionally adapt to their circumstances takes a tremendous amount of power away from the story.
Considering the stakes and the tragedy involved, I wanted to see so much more gripping, emotional drama, which could have been implemented without sacrificing a single beat of action. It's also made far too easy to identify who is in the right and who is in the wrong, which further removes tension from the viewing experience. When you're settled on who the black and white hats are and think you know who deserves what, it just becomes a waiting game for everyone to get what they are due.
This is the kind of show that, if it lasts two seasons or makes it all the way to a non-cancelled conclusion, I'd go back and check it out on DVD. But time is a very precious commodity for me these days, and I could spend that "Falling Skies" hour more enjoyably each week with an involving RPG on my xbox.