With the attendance of writer Robert Rodat and star Moon Bloodgood (Dr. Anne Glass in the series) who graciously fielded questions from the audience, TNT’s Falling Skies was screened in Boston tonight. The show which will air June 19, is a sci-fi action thriller that brings us to the 2nd Massachusetts, a company of 100 fighters and 200 civilians running from alien invaders. Although the action in the first episodes takes place in Massachusetts, it was filmed in Toronto, Canada due to budgetary considerations, and some of the references, like Route 3 leading east, are in error.
It is an interesting premise that has been squeezed to death by writers over the centuries, the survival of the human race, the plight of the oppressed, the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity, how men from different walks of life band together for the common good. But because it is a theme often used, it requires some finesse to do it one more time and not look “overdone”, and this was not the case.
It is obvious that TV series special effects cannot be as polished as those for a high end film, but if you cannot do it right, why do it at all? The opener comes a sandwich short of a picnic, maybe even the potato chips, too. Some of the performances are good, none is outstanding albeit believable except when it comes to the northeastern accent. Some of the details, like the skateboarding and LaCrosse scenes are inspirational, the hoodlum bikers are a good antithesis for the protagonists, and the communication among the aliens is not well explained (maybe an opener and a short half hour episode were not enough)… And if we got the gist of the conversation correctly, it’ll be a cast of thousands as they move south throught the country and new pockets of insurgents come their way.
As the plot thickens and what is left of BU American History Professor Tom Mason’s (Noah Wiley’s character) family of 3 sons tries to reconnect, we never quite feel the empathy or the urgency for their plight, and they keep telling us that the mission is primary, that they will return to their own family needs later on. I kept looking at my watch (true sign of how bored I was) and half of the audience rushed out before the credits to avoid having to go through the Q&A that was to follow. Actually that was the best part.
You make your own mind. It is pitted against a blockbuster series on another network that occupies that time slot. If you watch, let me know how you feel about it.
From Beautiful Beantown on the banks of the Mighty Chuckie, for The Examiner, this is Lily.