20 June, 2011

FALLING SKIES - Without a Parachute

Hey look, everyone, we have a brand new sci-fi show on cable and it is about aliens and humans and invasions and blood and milk and milk and blood!

I realize that the blood and milk, milk and blood reference is an inside joke only I and maybe like three other people on the planet will get but I am leaving it there because I am koo koo like a coco puff.

FALLING SKIES makes it premiere as a two-hour episode of epicness etc etc etc, I don't write reviews. So, instead I am going to write my impressions in a nice bullet-point-by-stuff (I am already bored just writing these words which is why I am making less sense the more I type) as I watch:

  • The opening of the episode with kids talking and drawing about what happened as some kind of therapeutic exercise is an interesting method of delivering exposition while trying to connect the audience to the world and characters through their pain.
  • By skipping the whole invasion and birth of a rebellion stuff the writers immediately get us into the action and drama of an occupation.  This is both a good and bad thing.
    • Good because the show doesn't take many episodes, or even many minutes, to define itself to the audience. If you like where this show is going in the first few minutes, then you are sold on this show.  If not, then goodbye.
    • Bad because when someone who is important to these characters dies, we don't know why we should care, so we are depending on the actors and the music to sell us on the weight of the loss as opposed to already being invested.
  • Unfortunately, none of these main actors have that immediate thing that makes me want to tune in even if the story is not working for me (like SUPERNATURAL and FRINGE have).  Though, Dale Dye is superb as the rebel commander.
  • A great sci-fi TV show needs a super hot chick or two, with talent, to make tuning into lame story telling and crap effects easier.  CHUCK has Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and this show has... no one yet.  This is why SGU failed.  No super hot chicks with talent worth tuning in for every week.  I better see some hot chicks with talent soon!  And by talent I obviously mean jubblies!
    • Alright, so I mean acting talent.  But jubblies too.
  • Speaking of CHUCK, SUPERNATURAL, FRINGE, and add LOST and virtually any geek centric show with a loyal following on television, all of them have/had leading actors who were unforgettable the second they popped on screen.  This show has Dr. John Carter, the most boring of boring doctors from ER.
  • Setting the show in this world where regular people are now soldiers fighting on streets whose names we recognize, for people and things we understand to be valuable to anyone, does make for an effective story telling device.  It will be interesting to see what they do with it.
  • Dr. Carter deciding to not go after his captured son because it is too dangerous, as his other son freaks out... very effective scene.  His history lesson of "inferior forces" is the first time the show gives me real hope that it has the balls to be well written.
  • There is a blond chick on the show who is cute.  I am going to call her blond chick until I learn her name.  She has potential.
  • You would think that Dr. Carter would have learned how to shoot his weapon effectively, not like a hemroid ridden squirrel boy.  Plus, why aren't they using high powered rifles against these aliens?  Wouldn't a rebellion want to equip itself with weapons that require less ammunition to take down a target?  Seems to me that they are expending far too much ammo on targets to be economical.
  • The opening of the second hour of the premiere delivers a totally pointless scene.  So glad they decided to use up their budget for no reason.  $5 says that we get at least one lame episode this season because they used up $100,000 on that "breakdown of discipline."
  • Dark haired chick who is a doctor is attractive for an old woman.  Her character brings us to an interesting question about the value of civilians to a rebellion.  Dr. Carter gets another moment that gives me some hope about the writing potential of this show.  It is brief but delivered well.  Civilians are a liability and the biggest motivation to keep fighting.  I dig that notion.
  • This classroom is awesome.  I may have just found a character to love.  I rewind.  I love this actor.  I feel like I have seen this guy somewhere but I don't know where.  He has a great delivery style and voice.  I hope he sticks around.
  • So far, this second hour/episode is delivering more than the first.  This is why pilot episodes usually suck.  Origin stories suck in general.  The follow-up is usually much better.
  • I rewind again.  I love this classroom scene.
  • "I don't pray for God to give me things. I don't think that's how it works."  Preach it, sister.  I wonder if this show is going down the BSG route of dealing heavily with questions of religion and god.
  • Competing interest bad guys?  Why do these cats remind me of the "Others" from LOST?
  • Ooh, we have a new name for blondie.  "Sexy freedom fighter girl." YES!  I love it.  I am sold.
  • The selection process in this scene, of who to keep, is pretty impressive.  The bigotry from the New Others feels organic.  The dialogue is fresh as well.  Speaks well of the writers.
  • "I'll tell you, professor, and this may come off as a little insensitive considering the 90% of mankind that's already gone to the grave, but the arrival of these evil creatures is the best damn thing that's ever happened to me." Am I wrong for liking him?  He is the Han Solo character of this show.
  • Apparently blonde New Other girl has two cloth bags ready to use just in case someone else shows up to be taken into the secret layer.
  • New Han Solo is also new Sawyer (from LOST, I can't believe I need to explain this to you, who was the other new Han Solo, so this guy is the new new Han Solo?).  He has all the good lines and dishes out nicknames.
  • Han Sawyer is a tad more evil than I expected.  He doesn't seem to think much of his men.  Two-bag-blond has her own agenda, I did not expect that one.
  • The second episode had some good characters and dialogue.  But I hope it wasn't an indication of this show doing a bunch of mission of the week stuff.

Overall Score
Episode 1 - 80 out of 100
Episode 2 - 90 out of 100

Episode 1 didn't instill me with much confidence for the show but episode 2 made up for that with fun characters and dialogue.  Now, if they can put quality writing with strong characters and actors, and deliver a show that isn't just some alien invasion procedural, I will stick with it.  I want to see more of Sexy Freedom Fighter Girl, Han Sawyer, Rebel Commander and Professor Cool Voice.  Plus, more stuff like that classroom scene.  If we get that kind of material, then this could be the new cool sci-fi show to love.  But, as I already said, if this is just some dumb alien invasion show with moments of greatness, then I won't be surprised if I eventually stop watching.


  1. Blonde 1 from American Pie: Naked Mile (the girl girlfriend that wouldn't put out.
    Blonde 2 rich daughter from DOA.
    So yes it has hot chicks.
    Also for the younger crowd the annoying brown haired chick flirting with the naked mile chicks man is from The Last Airbender. Just thought I'd put it out there.

  2. Thanks. It is good to be able to place the hot chicks.

  3. It has potential but lacks something.

  4. I thought the pilot was alright it has the potential to be a good show.

    The only two things i didn't like.
    1. They advertised the show as having limited commercial interruptions.

    2. They had people walking around in groups in broad daylight with no sign of any aliens.

    It would make more sense if they had to go for supplies at night and move around more quietly.

    Like those flashback scenes in the first Terminator film.

    The actor that plays the commander is Will Patton.

    He's been in several movies such as Armaggedon and Remember the Titans.

  5. Overall I agree with your review. It had some high points, but I wasn't blow away by it. I'll probably give it a few more viewings and see how I feel, but that's only because it's the summer hiatus. Also, I liked sexy freedom fighter girl's attitude better, but I feel she's going to be overshadowed by mopey, New Other girl. As a female viewer the only thing I can say about cute teenage boy (Hal? 9000?) is that he annoys me less than that kid from V who I constantly wanted to punch in the face for being a disrespectful asshole! Oh, and overall the production value was decent for TBS, but that could just be the fact that it was the premiere.

  6. When I said "commander" I meant the actual commander, not the rank of commander. Dale Dye plays Will Patton's superior. I didn't bother learning the ranks since I was commenting as I watched and was too lazy to rewind.

    And I know all too well who Will Patton is. I hate him.

  7. Finally saw this.

    I gotta agree that the addition of the Han Sawyer character livened up the enterprise. I saw some of him in the previews, so I'll be interested in where they are taking him. There's nothing like a bad boy who reads to make things interesting.

    This should do for a while as a summer show until we see the new Torchwood.

  8. Yeah, we shall see if it holds up over time. I am not expecting too much. I just need a nice geeky distraction while I wait for the good stuff.

  9. I couldn't really get past the mind-numbing blandness of Dr. Carter as the lead. They couldn't hire someone with charisma or even a little personality?

    I'm also having trouble identifying with the Han Sawyer character, seeing as I've never ruled over a gang of thugs who indiscriminately murder, rape and steal. Now there are two ways they can go with Han that I would be willing to accept: (1) they show that in a world overrun by aliens, you need a ruthless, amoral a*hole on your side or (2) if he gets, I don't know, shot in the kneecaps and left for wild dogs to devour. What I can't accept is if they redeem him and show he's really a softie down-deep.

  10. They are going to redeem him and show that he's really a softie down-deep.

  11. Hummm, Blood and Milk??? Last time I saw that in a movie I could not walk past a coffee table without getting chill bumps...
    does that make me one of three??

  12. Zaphoid BeetlebroxJuly 4, 2011 at 12:49 AM