Stars: Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Maxim Knight, Connor Jessup, Sechelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Peter Shinkoda, Colin Cunningham and Sarah Sanguin Carter
Writer: Robert Rodat
Director: Carl Franklin
Network: TNT, Sunday nights
Original Telecast: June 19, 2011

There have been so many alien invasion flicks and TV series that have dealt with the alien invasion theme, that adding another one into the mix almost seems redundant. What else can be added, that we haven’t already seen done before – and better?

Still, the new TNT series FALLING SKIES hopes to stake out its own special place in this over-used genre and to ensure its quality it not only has SAVING PRIVATE RYAN Academy Award nominee Robert Rodat as the creator, but also RYAN director Steven Spielberg executive producing.

The end result for Part 1 of the two part series premiere “Live and Learn” is promising, if not a little undercooked.

The story starts not when the aliens first attack, but months after they’ve wiped out most of the military and taken out all our national monuments. Many younger kids have had alien ganglia attached to their neck to transformed them into mindless drones, while civilian survivors have banded together on the outskirts of society in an attempt to survive and find a way to stop this alien threat.

FALLING SKIES is seen through the eyes of Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) a former History professor turned reluctant military leader. He’s part of a small band of survivors serving as 2nd in command of the Second Massachusetts resistance fighters. Two of his sons are with him – teenage Hal (Drew Roy) who has turned into a fine warrior and youngest Matt (Maxim Knight) who Tom has been trying to create some semblance of a normal childhood among this heavy upheaval for humankind. Tom’s middle son Ben (Connor Jessup) is not so lucky – one of the many alien slaves and it’s clear during the course of the series the goal will be to save this third son.

A close confidant of Tom is Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood), the Second Massachusetts’ doctor and Weaver (Will Patton) who is the leader of this faction of the resistance.

The episode has a lot of heavy lifting in terms of storytelling to get the audience up to speed – particularly what exactly this alien threat is and how to stop it. It’s clear that humans do not have the manpower to single-handedly wipe them out, but as Tom points out – history has occasionally favored the scrappy underdog.

The acting is pretty good, with Wyle the perfect person to anchor (and bring accessibility) to such a large story. We understand his pain and his fight, but we also relate to him because he is the everyman FALLING SKIES champions.

Bloodgood is strong and makes do with her slightly underdeveloped character which will probably get more interesting as the season wears on. She’s always a very interesting actress (she was great in JOURNEYMAN and the heart of the otherwise tragically bad TERMINATOR: SALVATION), and she clearly has a lot to offer here as the story gets more complex.

The alien FX is solid too, if not a bit familiar. At least these aliens do things – and they’re pretty aggressive throughout. For a premiere episode, you almost want to see a little more fighting and little more alien action, but I counter that it’s much smarter to have a slow burn of this stuff, so audiences don’t come in expecting a $100 million movie each week like some pilots promise and rarely deliver.

In some ways, FALLING SKIES is everything that the V reboot  and THE EVENT tried to be, but never quite could achieved. Perhaps the beginning of the invasion just isn’t as interesting as putting you into the thick of the action. It worked for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and it does work, for the most part here.

FALLING SKIES has a wealth of promise, and with only a 10-episode season, it will be interesting to see if it builds or simply peters out. I’m hoping for the former.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

Click on link: For AX’s FALLING SKIES – Season Premiere – Part 2 review – “The Armory”

Click on link: For AX’s FALLING SKIES – Season Premiere – Part 2 review – “Prisoner of War”

Click on link: For AX’s Exclusive Interview with FALLING SKIES star Noah Wyle

Click on link: For AX’s exclusive photos from the Los Angeles premiere of FALLING SKIES

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TV Review: FALLING SKIES – Season 1 premiere – “Live and Learn”

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Comments:

  1. Pingback: TV Review: FALLING SKIES Season 1 premiere Live and Learn (VIDEO) » Tv Shows News

  2. I didn’t know it was on tonight. Caught the last of part 1 turned it off shortly after part 2 began. Couldn’t for some reason get passed the typical B movie scene. Humanity fragged out of its’ mind death and destruction everywhere the eye can see. Holding up in homes of people possibly dead or worse and here it comes. Stupid teens trying to get all touchy feely in the room of someone who probably has an alien jellyfish jammed in their back. Really, in the first episode? Might try to watch it again but oye.

    Ray
  3. Falling skies fell flat…was really looking forward to it…fell for the hype. =(

    Can’t believe they didn’t start from the beginning…flashback to come?

    Very disappointed and bored already…fast forwarded through most of it.

    Same ol’ same ol’ …sorry.

    zbrushguy
    • Watched the 2nd episode…no better…dumb & dumber!
      Just one dumb scenario after another…what a waste of time, money, & effort. I love Sci-Fi, but this was not done well…a predictable downer.
      Wish they would do a mini-series on the classic,
      “Day of the Triffids”….many great (old) sci-fi stories are going to waste.
      The trailers for Falling Skies looked promising, but I won’t watch it again…ever. Bleggghhh!

      zbrushguy
  4. Anyone with the smallest understanding of military strategy and tactics (not to mention basic common sense) will be severely disappointed in Falling Skies. Any time anyone picked up a weapon and moved or engaged, I cringed. Painful to watch, and it lessened my enjoyment of the show immensely. Is it really too much to ask producers and directors to spend a few dollars on qualified military advisors and then listen to them?
    There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s self-lobotomizing. The writers obviously were counting on their viewers to do the latter. We are asked to believe that in a post-apocalyptic world, the Second Massachusetts resistance fighters are so hard up for troops that they’d actively recruit an individual who murdered one of their own. The desire to do this, of course, is based on the criminal’s expertise in offing aliens. In what has to be the most awful tactical advise I’ve ever seen anyone give, the leader of the criminal gang tells the hero that he’s been doing it all wrong and that instead of shooting for the head, he should shoot for the legs first and then the head. Anyone with more than two firing synapses upstairs would also question the wisdom of letting someone like the criminal live after he clearly cannot be trusted. It’s obvious the bad guy will play a major role in this series and I find it insulting to the viewers that the writers would not think twice about it. Some may find garbage like this engaging, but the list of mistakes and just plain bad tactical moves is endless and turned what could have been a very good show into a 2 hour joke.

    The Godless Monster
  5. Pingback: 7 Skies Season Sites « My Blog

  6. I absolutly love Falling Skys! I can not wait for the second season to start, I love Noah Wyle, He was the best in ER. I watched that also for 7 seasons.

    Diane G

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