×

Falling Skies

TNT's alien invaders return to anchor the network's summer lineup

With:
Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Colin Cunningham, Sarah Carter, Gloria Reuben, Doug Jones, Robert Sean Leonard, Stephen Collins

At this point “Falling Skies” qualifies as a well-oiled machine, down to TNT’s strategy of bringing the series back each year capitalizing on all that male tune-in during the NBA playoffs. Overtly appealing to those guys, the third season opens with a major let’s-blow-some-stuff-up action sequence, before getting down to the always-quarrelsome, rather soapy business of managing the ragtag group of humans fighting a guerrilla war against alien invaders. After a rocky start, this Steven Spielberg-produced drama has blossomed into one of the acclaimed filmmaker’s more enduring recent TV exercises, bolstering its own forces with welcome cast additions and heightened production values.

Without giving too much away, several months have passed since the events that closed season two, with the two-hour premiere introducing shifting alliances, new responsibilities and fresh intrigue. The last of those includes concerns about a mole within the ranks, creating a mystery that carries the through the handful of episodes previewed.

Noah Wyle remains the show’s steadfast anchor as family man/reluctant hero Tom — whose inherent goodness keeps leading to responsibility being heaped upon his shoulders — but there’s considerable support, with newcomers including fellow “ER” alum Gloria Reuben and “House’s” Robert Sean Leonard, the latter almost unrecognizable as an eccentric genius under a frazzled mad-scientist wig.

As light and undemanding as “Falling Skies” is — borrowing from a vast assortment of sci-fi, including parts of Spielberg’s oeuvre — the show also carries lessons for other series (NBC’s “Revolution” comes to mind) in terms of dealing with the issues created by a post-apocalyptic world. And while the alien threat provides glue to hold the human society together, there’s an interesting component devoted to the hunger associated with bringing normalcy to lives even in the most chaotic of times, which is why the producers often appear to be unabashedly channeling a Norman Rockwell painting, flaunting old-fashioned patriotism.

The show’s durability also highlights how elusive TV hits have been even for Spielberg of late, coming shortly after the demise of the high-profile musical “Smash.”

Credit the series, too, with steadily improving its look and special effects (in the early going the robot invaders too often looked like “RoboCop”-lite), including a touch of “Starship Troopers” in the early going.

“Skies” leads an eclectic summer push for TNT that includes a couple reality shows and its ampersand-heavy lineup of procedurals. And while this sci-fi lark is essentially just another cog in TV’s annual invasion of mindless summer escapism, as we’ve seen time and again, capturing that tone and feel isn’t nearly as easy as it looks – one reason it’s nice to see Wyle and company soldiering on.

Falling Skies

(Series; TNT, Sun. June 9, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by DreamWorks Television.

Crew: Executive producers, Remi Aubuchon, Greg Beeman, Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank; co-executive producers, Bradley Thompson, David Weddle; producer, Noah Wyle, Grace Gilroy; directors, Beeman, James Marshall; writers, Aubuchon, Thompson, Weddle; camera, Nathaniel Goodman; production designer, Rob Gray; editor, Jon Koslowsky; music, Noah Sorota; visual effects producer, Curt Miller; visual effects supervisor, Blaine Lougheed; casting, Coreen Mayrs, Heike Brandstatter. 120 MIN.

Cast: Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Colin Cunningham, Sarah Carter, Gloria Reuben, Doug Jones, Robert Sean Leonard, Stephen Collins

More TV

  • Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

    'Outlander' Recap: Everyone Finds Themselves Caught 'Between Two Fires'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Between Two Fires,” the second episode of “Outlander” Season 5. The latest episode of “Outlander” definitely lived up to its episode title, as several characters found themselves caught “Between Two Fires.” Most notably, Jamie (Sam Heughan) found himself having to make a difficult decision [...]

  • 'Riverdale's' Skeet Ulrich, Marisol Nichols to

    'Riverdale's' Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols to Exit Ahead of Season 5

    The titular town in the CW’s “Riverdale” will be getting a little smaller: after the current, fourth season comes to an end this May, Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols will be leaving the Archie Comics-set series, Variety has confirmed. “Part of life in ‘Riverdale’ — and part of growing up — is saying goodbye to people,” said [...]

  • Hunters Amazon

    'Hunters' Slammed by Auschwitz Memorial for 'Dangerous' Historical Inaccuracy

    Amazon Prime’s new series “Hunters” has come under fire from the Auschwitz Memorial for being historically inaccurate, particularly by creating macabre games that take place in concentration camps. The show’s creator David Weil responded to the criticism Sunday in a statement, explaining that “symbolic representations provide individuals access to an emotional and symbolic reality that [...]

  • B. Smith

    B. Smith, TV Host, Author and Restaurateur, Dies at 70

    B. Smith, a former TV host, restaurateur and author, died of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease on Saturday night in her home in Long Island, New York. Her husband announced the news in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. She was 70. “Thank you to Dr. Sam Gandy, East End Hospice and additional caregivers who helped us [...]

  • Our Cartoon president

    'Our Cartoon President' Boss R.J. Fried: 'The World Feels More Cartoonish Than Ever'

    As the Democratic presidential race heats up with each passing moment, the writers’ room at Showtime’s “Our Cartoon President” is constantly on its toes to keep up with the news cycle. “Bernie had his heart attack, and Mike [Leech, writer/producer] says, ‘At “The Simpsons” they never walk into work and say “Mr. Burns had a [...]

  • Claire Denis attends the 32nd European

    Claire Denis and Phedon Papamichael Join Doha Film Institute's Qumra Lineup

    The Doha Film Institute has added French auteur Claire Denis and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (“Nebraska”) to the lineup of star talent who will act as mentors for the Qumra Masters program during its upcoming Qumra event dedicated to fostering fresh Arab film fare that is opening up to TV projects. They join previously announced [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content