Admit it. The only reason you watched the June 19 pilot of “Falling Skies” on TNT wasn’t because “[They] know drama.” It’s because Steven Spielberg’s name was thrown into the promos and trailers. Go ahead and admit it. Doubtless you weren’t alone, because, as the Los Angeles Times reported Monday, “Falling Skies” was the most-watched series premiere of 2011.
The pilot episode of TNT’s new science fiction military drama has been long in coming and well promoted. It even had a spot on the Super Bowl. But all of the promos and previews paid off because 5.9 million people tuned in to see the latest invasion resistance sci-fi story. “Rizzoli and Isles,” a TNT detective drama that premiered last year, holds the top spot, pulling in 7.6 million viewers during its pilot episode.
But was it worth the wait? Difficult to tell, given the long lead-up (it watched like a Stephen King novel develops — good characterization but lengthy), but it did leave its audience with plenty of questions about the aliens — why are they here (on Earth), what do they want (dominance, resources, religious conversion), what is the deal with the captive children and that grotesque symbiotic thing that attaches to their spines? Such unanswered questions, along with good action sequences and a good story line, could keep audiences coming back for some time.
Still, it appears all too familiar. It looks like a lot of resistance/post-invasion/apocalyptic movies and shows seen over the years (the original “V” series, “Red Dawn,” “Jericho,” “Independence Day”). It even has a passing resemblance to “Battlestar Galactic” (the smaller ships looks similar and it is humanity’s last stand) and Spielberg’s own “War of the Worlds” (the general cinematography and the exodus scenes). And that could be seen in the preview trailers.
So admit it. You were willing to give the show a chance because TNT (they who know drama) kept running those promos with Speilberg’s name emblazoned upon the screen. Even though the promos hinted at a storyline seen far too often and aliens that look a little too familiar, you were willing to give the show a chance because you believe in the power of Spielberg.
And why not? He was the creative force behind “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E. T.,” and the aforementioned remake of “War of the Worlds.” Spielberg brought us “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Schindler’s List.” His works more than speak for themselves.
But the name will only carry the series so far, then the show will have to carry itself…
“Falling Skies” can be seen in its regular time slot on TNT each Sunday at 9:00 p.m. EST. TNT can be found on cable and satellite providers nationwide and in the Myrtle Beach area on Time-Warner, HTC, Dish Network, and DirecTV. Check local listings for specific channel designations.