FALLING SKIES: 1.01 “Live and Learn”
FALLING SKIES: 1.02 “The Armory”
How thrilled was I to find out that the Falling Skies premiere actually had record ratings for its premiere night! The show was cable’s #1 series launch of the year, drawing more the 5.9 million viewers. And hey, it deserves it. It’s quite possibly my favorite new summer show.
Have I ever mentioned how difficult it is to write about a good show? Seriously. It’s super-easy to write about a show you hate, or even one that you like that has some critical elements. Take a look at some of the shows I cover. Some of the top shows — Modern Family, Community — aren’t on the list. It’s hard to write about good stuff.
So bear with me this summer as I write about Falling Skies. This is some good stuff. And here’s why:
Unique premise: Yes, the idea of an apocalypse has been done before. I watched Buffy, for God’s sake. And aliens aren’t now. Hello, V? But once you consider that they’re six months in. The aliens are here — that’s nothing new anymore. Now it’s a tale of survival. And from the start of the first episode, you certainly felt the pressure of being there. Just watching Hal and Tom cower as the aliens killed someone in front of them…it’s hard.
Emphasis on family: Of course, this show is about Tom’s family. It’s about getting Ben back (what are those harnesses, and what do they mean?). It’s about making sure that Matt still feels like his dad’s around (I ADORE Matt, by the way). And it’s those little moments that really make you realize that family relationships are still going to be the same, even when times change. That little nod to Hal about thin walls when Tom walks in on Hal and Karen? Perfection.
Character development: I don’t know if you noticed, but there were no flat characters in the first two episodes of this series. You didn’t notice? Well, that’s good writing. Ok, so I’ve cheated, and I’ve seen upcoming episodes. The character development only gets stronger, and it’s visible in the first episodes of the show.
Villains: Yes, the aliens are the bad guys. But so are the people. I loved Pope’s storyline at the armory. Not only is he just despicable (which came to that fantastic ending with him being shot at in the car), but he seems to have some way of finding out more and more information about the skitters and aliens that the rest of the world does not. It may just be experience, but the fact that he was almost flourishing in comparison to the rest of the troops with his cold beer and fresh kill makes him entirely interesting — and dangerous.
But ultimately, this show is just fun. It keeps you on the edge of your seat (I saw the episode twice and still jumped when that alien jumped out at Hal from the food storage place). Sure, it’s got its fuzzy moments, but after hearing so much about how this show really wants a message of hope, how can you blame them for wanting to keep in a warm, fuzzy moment with Matt riding his new birthday present? In fact, it needs it. It can’t all be war, as Weaver may think. Maybe he’ll change his mind.
What were your reactions to the first two episodes?