Welcome to ?Falling Skies?, the American post-apocalyptic science fiction series created by Robert Rodat and produced by legend Steven Spielberg (both Rodat and Spielberg worked together on the 1998 war film ?Saving Private Ryan?). So expectations are high.
For this reviewer there was a moment of doubt, ?a routine affair? I thought after viewing the first episode, ?nothing exceptional or worth positive comment?, I believed. But how wrong I was. Three episodes in and I am hooked, embracing the survivors including father of three and second-in-command of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment Tom Mason (Noah Wyle). Taking a pinch of everything from the ?Terminator? franchise, reimagined shows ?V? and ?Battlestar Galactica? (showrunner Mark Verheiden had even worked on BSG as writer and producer), and ?Jericho?, ?Falling Skies? does what is intended: allows you to deeply care about the characters while introducing them to dangers, friendships and even death. Both the ?skitters? (humanoid six-legged creatures that have invaded the Earth) and ?mechs? (mechanical two-legged drones) are well realised and work affectively in raising the tension, the ?mechs? and that chilling call of theirs especially.
Children are captured and a terrifying biomechanical device attached to their spines for the purpose of mind control ? the resistance refer to it as a ?harness?. This allows for two purposes: slave labour and a zombified army, unquestioning and fearless. They can also be expendable, as is proven in one episode.
Although created by Rodat, there is certainly a heavy touch of Spielberg in this, and it is all the better for it. The special effects are simply captivating, and the combination of CGI and live action so seamlessly blended that you forget just what is real, and what is not. For some people a possible negative could be the heavy use of soap-style story-telling, but for this viewer there are no concerns – ?Falling Skies? may well depict life after invasion but focusing on emotional conflict such as a father worrying for the safety of his sons is necessary to allow the series growth instead of restricting it, real life ?Human? issues mixed with science fiction elements.
This is one US show that is guaranteed to entertain if you are a sci-fi fan. Let us just hope that it is seen through to a conclusion and not left hanging, like so many television projects these days. It certainly deserves that! Highly recommended.
- Falling Skies: The Complete First Season – DVD
- Final Season of LOST on DVD and Blu-ray
- A Town Called Eureka – Season 3.5