Sticking: Falling Skies

Posted on July 11, 2012

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I know Noah Wyle has been around for awhile, but we didn’t watch ER, and I don’t remember him in A Few Good Men. We became fans of his in 2004, with the admittedly goofy TV movie, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.

So when we saw that Steven Spielberg was producing a post-apocalyptic TV series about humans resisting an alien invasion, and that the series would star Noah Wyle, we were in.

We Watched It

Aliens invade Earth. They are overwhelming in number and in technology. Governments topple and organized resistance ends in weeks.

Now, a few lone survivors of the 2nd Massachusetts Resistance struggle to stay together and survive as they pursue rumors of safe havens and re-formed governments.

In the midst of the 2nd Mass, Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) and his three sons Hal (Drew Roy), Ben (Connor Jessup), and Matt (Maxim Knight), try to stay a family amid the conflicting demands of friendship, military discipline, alien abduction, teenage rebellion, and war.

Sticking

So far, the show hasn’t bogged down into a big-budget after-school special about familial bonds and obedience to parents. Tom Mason is a fallible human being, and a believable dad.

They’ve done a good job of mixing conflict with the aliens, relationship dramas, and the needs of survival.

The aliens are truly alien. We do not know why they conquered Earth, or why they make so little concerted effort to wipe out or enslave every human.

WTF

There are several areas where the show could lose us, and it’s quite the tightrope to walk.

First, there’s the aliens. Their walking tanks are impervious to 2nd Mass weapons, except for bullets made from their own armor. Leaving aside the fact that the idea makes little sense (psst, writers: if you can melt the armor down to make bullets, then a heavy machinegun can penetrate thin spots), if the aliens are too powerful, then we lose hope. Frankly, life is tough enough without a show beating me over the head about how hopeless life can be.

Then again, there’s the aliens. We know that the alien overlords abduct young members of natives and enslave them with a biomechanical “harness.” We know they can implant other biomechanical devices in humans. Tom Mason had one such device in him briefly at the beginning of the second season. The danger here is the lack of trust. If anyone could have a device in them, then you can’t trust anyone. The 2nd Mass falls apart.

The problem is, such a viral infection is a perfect way to conquer a planet (cf The Host, among others) and eliminate resistance. So why didn’t the aliens use something like that right off?

The most recent episode of the second season was very much about relationships. Tom is falling for Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood). Hal is falling for Margaret (Sarah Carter) but, gasp, the operations to remove her brain tumors may have made her vulnerable to alien control. Captain Weaver (Will Patton) found his daughter, only to have her leave him for the life she built with other teenage survivors. So the show could bog down in relationship drama.

Thoughts?

Obviously, this show suffers from Gilligan’s Island Syndrome. Just as the castaways could never leave the uncharted island without ending the show, the 2nd Mass can never be safe and no one can defeat the aliens, or Falling Skies ends. Do you prefer series with definite ends, or those that go on indefinitely?

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