Many months ago, when I first heard about “Falling Skies,” I expected this new TNT sci-fi drama to be heavily influenced by “The Walking Dead.” And to some degree it is, as a host of Boston-area survivors band together to to fight back against alien invaders who’ve descended onto Beantown for an unknown reason.
But, really, “Falling Skies” is nothing like “The Walking Dead.” Where “The Walking Dead” had strong acting and a solid sense of camaraderie among the remaining zombie apocalypse survivors, “Falling Skies” is sadly just the opposite.
Noah Wyle’s Tom Mason has three sons, one of which has been missing for months until he’s spotted among a group of captive teens. Still, Wyle has no chemistry with his non-captive sons Hal (Drew Roy) and Matt (Maxim Knight). Loving words (and some tough love) is conveyed by Wyle through dialogue, but unlike “The Walking Dead,” you just don’t ever believe these people have real, close relationships with one another.
And that’s a problem, especially when aliens are coming to kill the characters you’re supposed to be rooting for.
As for the aliens themselves, the humans refer to them as “skitters,” due to their multiple legs and lizard-like hides. The special effects are decent considering the show’s budget, but nothing stands out as spectacular. Sometimes the aliens look pretty good–other times (especially on close-up), they look like a stunt man in an ugly suit.
“Falling Skies” is really a mix of everything you’ve seen before. There’s a bit of “The Matrix,” “War of the Worlds,” and even a tinge of “District 9.” The familiarity is not the problem. The fact that this has been done far better in the past is.
“Falling Skies” isn’t horrible TV entertainment, and Moon Bloodgood continues to demonstrate why she should be a bigger TV and film star. But this Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi drama is a B-movie from an A-list Hollywood titan. And to that end, it’s a big disappointment.
SCORE: ** out of *****
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In Boston, the “Falling Skies” alien invasion began at 9 pm eastern on TNT.
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