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2011 Summer Science Fiction TV Series

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Terminator with a Touch of V and a Dash of the Walking Dead

  • Jun 20, 2011
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If you liked the Walking Dead but are allergic to zombies you'll love this one.  Not to say that there aren't any, just fewer and more alive.  You see these aliens came to earth and put these harnesses on some of earth's children to control them.  To remove the harness spells death for its host... a nice throwback to the Pupper Masters.  In fact the Falling Skies Pilot makes many references to old sci-fi.  The skidders, which I understand contain human-like aliens is so very ID4 and the mechs are definite knock-offs of the tripods from War of the Worlds.  Further we see many character archetypes borrowed from the likes of V and Aliens.

We open with some exposition:  A kid is telling the story of the alien invasion from his point of view with pictures.  It's pretty grim.  Then for the next few minutes we see a reenactment of Reese's flashback scenes from "Terminator."  A group of survivors led by Tom (or Malcolm from "Jurassic Park") played by Noah Wyle, are on the run with food for their fellows.  Most of the group is wiped out and the food is lost *bummer*.  This really serves to demonstrate the futility of their existence.  But we do get to see our first alien which looks like Giger's "Alien" with weird crab-like legs.  The humans escape and the reenactment of "Terminator" continues when we see the destitute hideout.  In fact I think it's almost shot-for-shot the resistance headquarters in "Terminator."

I don't yet know what city they're in but the aliens have overrun it and the humans must retreat.  The aliens can now spot groups of 500 or more so they are breaking up into groups of 300 and splitting off to survive.  Tom, who we come to learn is a school leach versed in military history, will be second in command under Porter (Dale Dyle) who seems like he's kind of a dick but has some military experience.  He's like a grizzled older Lt. Goreman from "Aliens"  Tom just loves to talk history, I think to inspire his fellows but it seems to mostly irritate them.  We also learn that he has a missing child along with his two sons in the resistance: Matt (Maxim Knight) and Hal (Drew Roy).  As the survivors pack up and leave we get to know more of the characters.  There's Anne (Moon Bloodgood), a former pediatrician, now their doctor.  There's also Karen (Jessy Schram) a soldier with the 2nd Mass.  Food is low so Tom decides to lead a small group (including Hal, his elder son) back for provisions.  Here' we see some really touching moments between Tom and his sons.

On the road in an abandoned suberb Tom finds a dead boy with an alien harness that looks like a centipede grappling onto his spine.  It has been partly removed and the boy is dead, nearly the age of  his captive son.  By a body of water we see Hal hidinng from a group of alien robots called mechs with many flying ships.  He also sees a group of harnessed zombie-esque captives, one of which is his brother Ben (Connor Jessup).  Hal demands the group scrap the mission and go after him but Tom stops him promising to go after the mission is complete.  So they go to the abandoned, dark warehouse for food.  But suddenly a skidder and mech get the drop on them.  Luckily nobody dies and they successfully take out the aliens.  They gather around to watch the life drain from the skidder wondering what its last thoughts could be.

So they return triumphant to the group with enough food for a few days.  However when they tell Porter of their plan to go back for Ben, he forbids it.  They also made it back in time for Matt's birthday which is another touching scene where all the kids get to share in his new present before the group must go on the move.  Using a dog as bait they scout out the armory and find a mech guarding it.

The next morning Matt wakes up in a clean bed.  My first thought was that this was one of the flashbacks I've been expecting the whole episode.  Tom, however, comes in and dispels that thought.  The group has taken over some houses... at least the fighters have.  The civilians are sleeping in tents and Porter does not listen to Anne's concerns about this proving conclusively that he is a dick.  As Anne discusses the subject with Tom, we get a better view of what day to day life looks like with the civilians at their work and Uncle Scott (Bruce Gray) teaching a class.  He wants to discuss thoughts on the aliens wile Hal and Karen (boyfreind and girlfriend) talk religion with Laurdes (Saychelle Gabriel).

They go to the armory and get ambushed by another group of humans who we soon learn are a group of crazy, militant white-supremacists led by John (Colin Cunningham), a complete psychopath but a psychopath who can kill aliens.  John is Ham Tyler from V rebooted.  He shares a beer with Tom who tries to convince him to join the 2nd Mass.  The militants barter the group's lives for more weapons sending Hal to deliver their terms.  Hal wants to go back after them but Porter again forbids it and puts Hal on lock-down.  Hal escapes and brings Anne back to help Bill who was injured capturing them.  Very pissed at the turn of events John goes after the group.  He used flares that the aliens can see to leverage weapons and food but Porter swears to come back after him.  Meanwhile Bill and Q-Ball who have been left in charge start threatening to rape Karen.  Apparently this was not what Margaret needed to hear as it prompted her to blow both Billy and Q-Ball's brains out.  What a happy family they must have been.  So they quickly get to the group and capture John.  John is imprisoned and we end with Tom leading a group to go after Ben.

I really enjoyed the pilot and believe that this show has a lot of potential.  I am sure that John will become more important as the season progresses and I hope that soon the resistance will begin fighting back.

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Quick Tip by . June 20, 2011
I'm kicking myself for missing this last night. I have been wanting to watch this show since they started previewing it so many moons ago. I was caught up in Father's Day festivities (not a bad thing) and missed this show entirely. Oh well, I'm sure it will come on again soon.
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Rob Roznik ()
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Falling Skies is an upcoming alien invasion science fiction television series created by Robert Rodat and Steven Spielberg for TNT. The first season will feature ten episodes.[1] The show is produced by DreamWorks Television, with Steven Spielberg acting as an executive producer. Falling Skies is set to premiere on Sunday, June 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. with a two-hour pilot episode.[2]

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