TV Review: ‘Falling Skies,’ Season Four

Falling Skies TV Review

The creative roller-coaster ride that is “Falling Skies” opens season four on a downward arc, as the TNT series goes a little gaga with its alien-invasion metaphors, including Hitler Youth-like camps to re-educate younger prisoners. While the show picked up considerable momentum in its last go-round — and remains perfectly watchable popcorn fare — the notion of dueling alien constituencies, with one friendly to the humans, risks spinning “Skies” off its axis. Noah Wyle’s sturdy Everyman, who frets about his extended brood, remains extremely valuable in grounding the show, but for all the Skitters he’s dispatched, even he can’t overcome the show’s camp factor.

Suffice it to say whatever gains the human insurgency scored — with help from another alien force, the Volm — are pretty quickly erased, scattering the members of the central group while setting up new dangers. That includes leaving some incarcerated and others to battle on, demonstrating that even the invaders (yep, those not-so-affectionately-named Skitters) — when one is captured — can be subjected to harsh-interrogation techniques.

Exec producers David Eick and Greg Beeman (who wrote and directed the premiere, respectively) admittedly face a delicate balancing act, creating a formidable enemy while at the same time trying to make the humans’ guerrilla warfare tactics appear to have a fighting chance. But now that Wyle’s Tom and his new wife Ann (Moon Bloodgood) have a baby daughter who grew to adulthood remarkably quickly and possesses strange powers, well, the train to silly town appears to have left the station.

To its credit, the Amblin-produced show has rebounded from narrative stumbles before, and strictly on an action level, has become more enjoyable, parlaying its success into better and more generous special effects. The series also promises an infusion of guests, among them Mira Sorvino as a potential love interest for perpetually cranky wiseass John Pope (Colin Cunningham).

TNT has been extremely shrewd about scheduling “Skies” in friendly fashion — using scads of promotion during the male-viewer-heavy NBA basketball playoffs, and, in this latest flight, pairing it with another testosterone-fueled series, the Michael Bay-produced “The Last Ship.”

Based on the first few hours, then, it would be premature to suggest the sky is falling. But as the producers labor to manage and advance all the show’s moving parts, they appear to have lost a couple of battles. Let’s just hope that doesn’t bode ill for the larger war.

TV Review: 'Falling Skies,' Season Four

(Series; TNT, Sun. June 22, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Vancouver by Amblin Television.

Crew

Executive producers, David Eick, Greg Beeman, Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank; producers, Noah Wyle, Grace Gilroy; director, Beeman; writer, Eick; camera, Nathaniel Goodman; production designer, Rob Gray; editor, Donn Aron; music, Noah Sorota; casting, Megan Branman, Dylann Brander. 60 MIN.

Cast

Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Colin Cunningham, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Sarah Carter, Sechelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Doug Jones

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  1. miniwheatfreak says:

    I was still watching the show until a few minutes ago (on On Demand). I think they tried to make the main character act “braver”, but I don’t like it as it seems bordering on cruelty. And letting Pope’s girlfriend die? Come on! I know they had to make Pope go back to the dark side, but this is ridiculous. Now every single episode seems like a rerun of the previous one. Sorry, TNT lost me.

  2. Xin says:

    FS is simply too tame and too cliche. New school shows are really gritty, develop really unique characters, and occasionally – without warning – kill some of them off. FS does some things right – but not these. If I see another explosion with an aftermath of really confined, tidy, and amateurishly designed remnant flames, I’m going to scream.

  3. davidhp says:

    It looks to me as if this show has definitely jumped the shark – too contrived and too many worn out plot lines. The show had potential the first couple seasons, but it just completely went bizarre this season.

  4. Local Voice says:

    Falling Skies is rapidly becoming failing skies. The Volm just up and left? Is that the best you could come up with? The rapidly growing alien/human hybrid child is now promoting peace? Can we say “V, the original series”? How much influence is Spielberg exerting to change the esphendi approach to a more Nazi-esque technique. I much preferred the stand up fight to this psychological horse hockey. I’m willing to give it a couple more episodes, but my hopes are not high.

  5. Cochise says:

    The characters are tired, the plot.. is tired. I DVR’d this premiere and found myself fast forwarding on 1.5x speed due to boredom. I know a good story when I see one and I did like this series, but the plug should’ve been pulled if this is the best they can do now.

    • Eugene says:

      Two thumbs up, with respect to your comment, Chochise. Boring just about best describes Season’s 3 and 4. The writers wrote in hugs and kisses as the standard reaction to what should be fear and excitement following most every intense combat scene. If I see one more episode where 80% of the time is spent on closer personal relationships, accented by hugs and kissing, I’m going to puke. Nothing against affection, but when it consumes most of the content, something is wrong and makes for boring content. Tone it down, folks.

  6. A.E. says:

    UHM, THIS WAS AMAZING. I just watched. BY FAR one of the best episodes in a while. Look, if you are trying to watch something explainable, then your on the wrong ship. It’s science fiction my friend. AMAZING PREMIERE.

    • scott says:

      Yes this show is going in the wrong direction. There is culturally nothing left to fight for everything is destroyed, gone and they held on the hope of reforming the U.S.A. but that has long been forgotten. If they somehow survive the question is what are they surviving for? They destroyed every nations armies and they cannot destroy the meager 200 inexperienced fighters. What happened to the generals of last season and military? Seems to be all over the map.

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