Today, I’m going to talk about the acclaimed TV show Falling Skies from the executive producer Steven Spielberg.
Seasons 1 to 3 have 10 episodes each one but season 4 will have 12 episodes!
What this show is about ? This show is a science fiction show, it is also a drama. It deals with an alien invasion on Earth in a post-apocalyptic world. We follow the story of Tom Mason and his family along with the 2nd Mass, the resistance group in which they are.
How can we sum up each seasons ? I would say that season 1 is about presenting the situation: the characters, it is the installation of the show. Season 2 is much more about surviving and wanting to go on this place where we try to get a normal life, on this place that Charleston is supposed to be. Then, season 3 is about rebuilding our World in Charleston where we try to get a kind of normal life even if the fight continues.
Let’s take a look to the main characters.
Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) is THE main character. He used to be a college history professor but now with the war he becomes a leader to the Resistance with his knowledge of the military tactics and history. As the leader, he is Tom ends up being President of the New United States based on Charleston.
Hal Mason (Drew Roy) is Tom’s oldest son. He quickly became a man after the invasion and a good soldier for the 2nd Mass. His love story with Maggie grows as they share their passion for the fight and go on patrol together.
Ben Mason (Connor Jessup) is Tom’s middle son. He had been rescued from the skitter but the spikes of his harness remained. These spikes gives him strength that he did not have before because of this he becomes a leading fighter in the 2nd Mass. With a group a de-harnessed kids, Ben forms an elite unit along with the rebel skitters to accomplish missions that the others cannot do.
Matt Mason (Maxin Knight) is Tom’s youngest son. Besides his young age, he wants a greater role in the Resistance, he wants to fight.
Weaver (Will Patton) is a tough soldier and as captain of the 2nd Mass he uses his military experience to fight the aliens. However he does not have patience or at least not a lot of patience for the civilians of the 2nd Mass. At Charleston, Weaver is promoted Colonel of the 2nd Mass and tries to rebuild his relationship with his daughter Jeanne.
Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) is a former pediatrician who becomes the combat doctor of the 2nd Mass. She also is the maternal figure for the Mason’s sons as her relationship grows up with Tom.
Maggie (Sarah Sanguin Carter) is a good element of the 2nd Mass. Maggie will not hesitate to protect the ones she loves. She had a story with Pope who mistreated her before they join the 2nd Mass. She fears Pope could reveal her secrets to Hal who has feelings for her.
John Pope (Colin Cunningham) is the troublemaker of the 2nd Mass. He is the leader of his group of soldier called the Berserkers. He wants more than anything to kill skitters, this is what he lives for. Pope creates his Popetown at Charleston where he can live like he wants.
Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) used to be a student college in pre-med. She is now working with Anne and has become a doctor.
Anthony (Mpho Koaho) is a well-known fighter of the 2nd Mass, ready to risk his life for the most dangerous missions.
Dai (Peter Shinkoda) is highly skilled fighter of the 2nd Mass.
Now let’s have a look to the aliens and their technology.
The skitters. They are the alien infantry. Their specie have been harnessed by the Espheni. However some of them have resisted to the effects of the harness and have formed a rebellion who joined the 2nd Mass.
The Espheni also called the Overlords and the fish-heads by Pope. They are the mind of the alien assault.
The Mechs. They are deadly robotic drones that gives support to the skitter infantry.
The Mega-Mechs.They are an advanced model of the normal Mechs.
The Eye worm. It is a biomechanical parasite controlled by the person who implant the eye worm to their host. The eye worm controls the implanted people and it can be in a very bad way.
The Crawlies. These creatures are used to take the enemy by surprise behind the front lines.
The Harness. It is a bio-mechanical organism that is used to control species by the Overlords.
The Beamers. They are the airships used by the skitters on the battlefield.
The Motherships. These are defensive structure which prevent the Volm ships from entering on Earth. The Motherships can also form a grid but the prolonged use will provoce radiation and human life on Earth will cease to exist.
The Volms ( Doug Jones ). They are a specie of alien that have been fighting the Espheni for hundred years. They became human’s ally when they arrived on Earth after the destruction of an Espheni cannon.
The Volm technology.
Back in 2011, from the moment I saw the first trailer for Falling Skies, I wanted to watch this show.
So I watched season 1. I fell in love with the show.
The series opens straight into the battle, three months after an alien invasion. We skip the part when the aliens arrive that decision I think was pretty good. We already had series were the aliens arrive. For example we have V ( 2009 ), a show that I love. So it was interesting to start when the war has already begun. It is a different way to introduce the character. We already are in the fight, the characters have already change because of the war. They became soldiers, war doctor, refugees, leader.
What about the chosen cast? I personally think they pick the right actors.
Each actor is excellent in his role. They know their characters and they know how to make them convincing on screen. For example, we can talk about Drew Roy’s performance in season 3 in the episode Be Silent and Come Out when Drew plays the Evil Hal. Season 3 adds a great addition with Doug Jones as Cochise and the Volms, he is made for those alien roles. I take Drew Roy’s as example because the episode Be Silent and Come Out was aired just a few weeks ago but I could have talked about Sarah Sanguin Carter, Connor Jessup, Jessy Schram, Moon Bloodgood, Colin Cunningham, Will Patton, Noah Wyle, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel whom performance are also excellent. Through out the 3 seasons, Falling Skies got some amazing guest stars like Terry O’Quinn as Arthur Manchester, Jessy Schram as Karen Nadler, Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. Kadar, Doug Jones as the Volms and Cochise, Gloria Reuben as Marina Peralta.
What about the story ? I think the story is well-written. It always keeps you on the edge of your seat. The seasons are splitted between action scenes ( with big battle scenes at the beginning and the end of each seasons ), interactions between the characters, how humans survive in this post-apocalyptic world and Mason family drama ( like Pope would say ). The season finales end with cliffhangers so you immediately want to see what is going to happen next. The writers know how to keep you watching the show. They also know where they are going with the story, you can see it when you watch the show. Each character is well-written with an very interesting story for each one. Each episode has a excellent rhythm that keep enjoying the episode. Science fiction, drama, action, mystery, cliffhanger, these are the elements of success.
Like there is aliens that means there are special effects. The special effects are great! The skitters, the Volms look so real. You can imagine that they are in front of you. The special effects are mind-blowing.
I did not talk about my favorite episodes yet so this is what I am going to do now. Every episodes are great but there are some that I love even more.
I will start with Strange Brew (episode 8 from season 3). This episode is very different from the others, it has a different structure. We have this dream within a dream, within a dream. A dream in a dream in a dream, it reminds me the movie Inception. The first dream sends Tom in a kind of pre-war life where each character is different from usual. Ben is the geek, John Pope is a professor ( yes, he is professor, it is hard to believe ! ), Marina Peralta is also a professor, Doug Jones is finally seen without his alien suit who is also a professor, Anthony is the Dean of the school, Maggie is a history student along with Lourdes, Weaver is Tom’s vocie of reason, Karen is the policeman, Dai comes back ! … as Anne’s husband and finally we see for the first time Rebecca Mason who was just about like I imagined her. This dream allows us to have a vision of what pre-war life could have been. I said could have been because in the real pre-war life, John Pope was not a professor and the others not what they are in the dreams. It reminds me a lot LOST with the flash sideways. It is kind of Falling Skies version of LOST. Then you have the second dream where you do not know if it is a dream or reality then you realize it is another dream and then you wake up as Tom wakes up. Finally the end, I loved the ending scene of the episode. Tom talks one last time with « his wife » because it is his sub-conscient that created this image. It gives him the chance to turn the page about her death and how can you end it better than making tom walking away from his house in the night.
Then A More Perfect Union (episode 10 from season 2). This episode finally shows the Rebel skitters in action. I was so excited about it. It confirmed that there really was a skitter rebellion. The 2nd Mass is back into the war with this new mission. Ben returns. We have this sequence of action where Dai dies after being one of the best soldier of the 2nd Mass. At least he did not die so easily.
The writers knew how to get an honorable death for Red Eye. Hal has been implanted by Karen – he has an eye worm! The 2nd Mass has their big victory here – the cannon is destroyed, one of the overlord is dead. Lots of things are happening in this episode nad I love that.
The ending is quite a big cliffhanger like I love them – the arrival of the Volms! It is the best way to end a season.
Now my favorite characters. First, Ben Mason. Ben is one of huge victim of this war, he has been harnessed by the skitter and now he has to deal with what the spikes of his harness gives him – fear from the other humans, powers, abilities he did not have before. So this makes him struggle with his identity. Does he belongs to the humans or to the Rebel skitters ? Ben has a very captivating story. In season 1, Ben is a civilian, he undergoes the war but he wants to help. In season 2, Ben is the fighter, he uses his new abilities for the resistance. He is also this teenager who wants to save the world. In season 3, Ben is still a fighter and is in the elite unit with other kids like him, deharnessed kids so he is now with other kdis who lived the same thing he lived. He also deals with the problem of keeping the spikes or not – keeping his abilities or being again this geek kid that cannot really help. Ben got a great evolution throughout the series and this is what I like a lot in this character how the writers made him evolve. Connor Jessup really captures his character and knows how to make him feel what he feels.
Then Maggie. Maggie is a loyal soldier to the 2nd Mass. It is also a tortured character that have lived some bad moments in her life but who has ind a way to survive – the cancer, the story with Pope gang before the 2nd Mass. She is keeping these secrets inside her and does not want to tell them to Hal. Maggie does not really know this love life and familly structure but now that she is with Hal, she is a part of the Mason family and she quite enjoys it. She also has a big evolution. She is this secret woman with dark secrets and does not want to expose her feelings and does not want to get into a relationship with Hal. However, after a long time she opens her heart to Hal, she finally tells about her baby, her cancer, her drugs problems. Maggie is also the voice of reason when Karen returns in the 2nd Mass. Maggie suspects her, she has her eyes open and she knows what is the best for the group. She is ready to protect the ones she loves. Her loyalty for the 2nd Mass is quite strong. Maggie is a strong character female who deals with strong situations and I love that. Sarah Sanguin Carter provides an outstanding performance here.