There was something very familiar in TNT’s pilot Falling Skies, the new epic summer blockbuster sci-fi adventure series starring Noah Wyle. Was it the alien invasion that destroyed humanity’s way of life? Was it the advanced alien race that is enslaving humans? Was it the band of people bonded together by fate who have taken up arms to fight the invaders? Was it the band of criminals who are taking advantage of their new-found lawlessness? Because, I swear I’ve seen this show before.
Normally, this is where I’d go over the premise of Falling Skies and outline the characters, but I’m not going to do that here. If you’ve seen any alien invasion movies or TV shows over the past twenty years, then you know what Falling Skies is about. It shouldn’t surprise me, but I was hoping that Falling Skies would show me something different. So far, there is nothing new under the sun. I can appreciate the fact that the show spared the audience of invasion scenes and jumped straight into the aftermath, but what transpired was your standard aliens vs human resistance fanfare.
What I don’t appreciate is TNT’s presentation of the pilot. Before every commercial break, they would show you what is “coming up on Falling Skies”. In a two hour premier, this gets old pretty quick. As a member of the audience I want to be surprised with what’s in store for me. Showing me scenes of what’s ahead really waters down the experience. If that’s not enough, I have to listen to the voice-over telling me “…and it keeps getting better.” Really? Well, I’ll be the judge of that.
Another interesting aspect was all the comments that were live-tweeted during the show. Aside from my cynical mind-set, I was surprised to see a fair amount of positive and mixed responses. Some people were confused with the fact that they didn’t show the invasion. Some thought the show’s pace was too slow. Others thought highly of the pilot and are looking forward to more episodes. According to TNT’s web site, it’s cable TV’s #1 series launch of the year with nearly 6 million viewers. However, as with any TV rating statistic…time will tell on the show’s actual success.