Review: Falling Skies Pilot (Summer 2011 SciFi Series on TNT)

Falling Skies (Summer 2011 on TNT)

My husband and I watched th3 much anticipated (translated: hyped) summer science fiction series premiere of Falling Skies last night via TNT.  I must have missed something the first time around, because I did not pick up from the story (what was actually aired, not what was hyped in the pre-premiere ads) what happened to the Earth.  Yes, some information was revealed through observation, like the lack of any electronics as a result of the alien EMP bombardment.

A discussion I’m following at the GoodReads Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club likened this story to a cross between H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon.  I’ve read both of those books, but I’ve only posted a review on Alas, Babylon (click here to read my review).  From what I can tell from the first two hours, there is some similarity to Frank’s vision, but so far not much to Wells (at least the aliens haven’t exhibited a penchant for succumbing to an Earth virus or bacteria).

I learned this morning, when I read the discussion thread mentioned above that the alien invasion occurred six months prior to what I watched in the first two episodes.  That the aliens wiped out 90 percent of the human population and for some unknown reason needs to enslave the younger members  of the remaining humans (but nukes or otherwise disposes of older ones).  Basically, what’s left of humanity is in survival mode, on the run and severely out-gunned.

Most of the writing was predictable and the acting mediocre (and I expected a better performance from Noah Wyle).  The special effects adequately portrayed the aliens and their technology, but failed to wow me.  I enjoyed seeing Dale Dye in a cameo-like appearance in the first few minutes of the first episode and I loved Colin Cunningham‘s portrayal of a post apocalyptic leader of rogue criminal gang (although with a complete breakdown of civilization, what defines a ‘criminal’ except the memory of peace and freedom held by the survivors).   Quite a change in roles for Colin, from his days as an Air Force officer in the Stargate program.

I’d rate these two episodes three stars and I do plan to continue watching the series.  I will hold out hope for better acting and writing, since the prospects for either in the science fiction genre is slim at best.  I’ll take what I can get to wile away the summer.

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