With the end of the excellent first season of Game of Thrones, Kish and I have been looking for a new TV series to follow. Our rules for selection among the many different “summer shows” were simple: no medical examiner or police shows, no reality shows, and no silly shows about wacky lawyers who win a trial a week through their courtroom stunts.
We settled on TNT’s Falling Skies almost by default, and it is intriguing enough to keep watching. The show is the story of a hardy band of human resistance fighters in Massachusetts. They are dealing with the aftermath of a devastating alien invasion which saw the regular armed forces wiped out and countless humans massacred. The aliens, nicknamed “skitters,” also have enslaved many children through the use of a harness device that attaches to the spinal cord and allows the aliens to communicate with them. The skitters now are trying to hunt down the remaining humans with the help of mobile fighting devices called “mechs,” while the humans try to regroup in irregular groups of fighters and civilians and figure out how to fight back.
Noah Wyle has the lead as Tom Mason, a former military history professor who is the second-in-command of the Second Mass resistance fighters. Mason’s wife has been killed, his oldest son also is a fighter, his youngest son is trying to have a normal childhood amidst the devastation, and his middle son, Ben, is one of the harnessed children. The Second Mass is led by grizzled Captain Weaver, played by Will Patton, and also features kind pediatrician Anne Glass, played by Moon Bloodgood, a jack-of-all-trades schoolteacher, a cowardly surgeon, and and assortment of rugged fighters and children who are having to grow up too quickly.
Although some of developments have been predictable, the show has some surprises. Our favorite character so far is John Pope, who is very well played by Colin Cunningham. Pope is the bearded, long-haired, street smart but unscrupulous captured leader of a band of renegades who has figured out a lot about the skitters — including how to kill them — and can cook a darned good meal besides. Another interesting character is Lourdes, played by Seychelle Gabriel. Lourdes is unapologetic about her religious faith, even after the invasion has caused many survivors to give up on religion. It is unusual to see such a frank and positive portrayal of a religious person on network TV.
We’ll keep watching.