Is The Third Season A Charm For Falling Skies?

Show: Falling Skies

Premiered: June 2011

Why Was It Made? When a network loves a premise very very much, they make what is known as a "pilot baby." Actually, in this case, when Steven Spielberg says, "You know what I'd like to make? I'd like to make a science-fiction version of the Revolutionary War, only instead of the British, it's aliens. And unlike the British, the aliens win, but then those pesky Americans keep fighting because, you know, pesky Americans!" I probably could have just stopped at "Steven Spielberg." Steven Spielberg called TNT and TNT answered the phone with, "We'll buy it!"

Why Did I Stop Watching? It's a little hard to remember at this point. In the case of this show, June 2011 seems like fifteen years ago. I stopped halfway into the second episode of the first season in part because of the effects, which were shoddy, but also because I got tired in that short time I spent watching of being beaten over the head with the HISTORY LESSON this premise was spawned from. Also, making Noah Wyle a history professor – but like a history professor who KICKS ASS – seemed, for lack of a better term, silly. Especially when he reminded someone in the cast every five minutes of his former job, and how it was pertinent to their current situation vis-à-vis the battle they were fighting against the aliens and couldn't they see how they could learn from what our forefathers did on this very soil and don't you see how we are just like those revolutionary fighters and YES, I FUCKING GET IT ALREADY. So I changed channels but still barfed anyway.

Why Give It Another Shot? Because I was sure it had been canceled. Also, I would have lost a $100 bet about this being the THIRD season. "There was a second season of Falling Skies? Sure there was. And next you'll tell me Full House ran for eight seasons. Ha ha. What's that now?" Curiosity drove me back, along with my nostalgia for the first couple seasons of Battlestar Galactica, which this will never equal. But it might! (It won't.) Most importantly though: Third time's a charm. That's not just a saying. It's the law.

What Aspects Of The Latest Episode Would Seem To Invite Further Viewing? Falling Skies contains the ingredients of a science fiction show I should like. It's post-apocalyptic. There's good aliens and bad aliens, good survivors and bad survivors, clear goals that must be achieved that are filled with danger and suspense. Plus, the cast is filled with solid actors: Wyle, fellow ER alumnus Gloria Reuben, Terry O'Quinn (Lost), Robert Sean Leonard (House), not to mention Matt "Max Headroom" Frewer, character actor Will Patton, and Moon Bloodgood (current record holder for most O's in one name). Finally, there's a creepy baby involved. I like me some creepy babies.

What Aspects Of The Latest Episode Discourage Further Viewing? A handful of details about the show make it tough to get fully on board. Topping the list, the alien threat is known as "skitters," which sounds like a delicious candy that has embarrassing gastro-intestinal consequences. Some of the aliens look human and their spines glow when they have sex, which is straight out of the early episodes of Battlestar and is pretty lazy. The design of the mechanized alien drones also borrows heavily from BSG, with a healthy dose of Imperial Walker. Not that my science fiction has to be completely woven from virgin cloth, but at least show a little effort, right? And despite seemingly having all the pieces in place to appeal to me, the show is missing memorable characters you root for. It's missing its Han Solo, or more accurately, Starbuck. I can't imagine being shocked or upset or thrilled if any or all of them get killed off.

Final Verdict: Maybe? Like two more episodes? Despite not being fully invested in a single character in the show, the season three premiere made me curious to see where this story is going. Also, Game of Thrones just ended. What the hell else will I be doing with my time?

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