TV Time: Falling Skies

“Falling Skies” made its debut last night on TNT. People no doubt came to the show for various reasons. For some, it was the draw of executive producer Steven Spielberg. For others, the hope of a possibly decent sci-fi show. For still others, the belief that young hunk Drew Roy is related to me (He isn’t.).

Me, I came for the music.

The score for “Falling Skies” is composed by Noah Sorota, whom I’m told is The Wife’s cousin, which makes him my cousin-in-law. Here at The Report we support our friends and family in the entertainment business whenever we can, so I sat down last night and watched the two-hour premiere.

I generally don’t pay much attention to the background music of films or TV shows. Sure, I enjoy a catchy theme song, and I appreciate a good soundtrack and composers have written many a stirring opening or main theme for a picture. But in general, scores bore me. The only movie score I ever bought was the one for “Star Wars,” and even then the only songs I ever listened to was the opening theme and the closing fanfare and the cantina song. I’m sure I’m not alone.

So it was a bit of a challenge to watch a show and actually focus on the music. I thought the Cousin-In-Law did a nice job. I especially like the music in the quieter moments, like the end of the first episode, but it also did the job in the more tense moments.

As for the rest of the show, well… the first problem with ‘Falling Skies’ is that it’s an alien invasion story, and my feelings on alien invasion stories hasn’t changed (Quick version: Any aliens smart enough to travel to Earth are going to have as much trouble taking down us puny humans as the English did taking over the New World. Less, really, since the technological gap between aliens who have conquered interstellar travel and us is a great deal wider than the gap between the colonists and the Indians.).

 Still, I’m willing to put that aside. If only that were the show’s only weakness. So, the premise is that aliens have attacked and pretty much taken over. The aliens are half typical alien/half squid. They have fairly cool robots that do their dirty work.

The remaining humans scramble around for food and guns, go on forced marches to new locations for no apparent reason (I confess I was paying more attention to the music than the plot, so I missed a lot of what was going on), and most of all — fight amongst themselves. Yes, even in the face of alien Armageddon, humans can be counted on to fight amongst themselves. It makes you wanna root for the aliens.

Most of the fighting goes on between Capt. Weaver (Will Patton), your typical no-nonsense military guy, and our hero Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), a history teacher. All our sympathies are with Mason, as Weaver is usually portrayed as an out-of-touch jerk.

There’s a bunch more stereotypes disguised as characters — including an Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle that got tiresome when they first appear on-screen together — but I don’t want to get into it.

The premiere featured two episodes, the first I don’t remember much about less than a day later, and the second really annoyed me. In the second episode,  Tom and some of his crew are captured by some punk who wants to trade them for a big gun.

Really? Aliens have taken over and are probably going to exterminate anyone who they can’t enslave, and the humans are fighting over guns. All Hail Our Alien Overlords!

But the saddest thing is at the end of the episode where they finally turn the tables on the bad guy and Capt. Weaver doesn’t blow his fool head off! Food is scarce, supplies are low and you’re going to keep this guy around? I just don’t get it.

So, sadly, I don’t think I will continue watching “Falling Skies.” The aliens and the robots were interesting but there’s just too much soap opera. At least “The Walking Dead” has the occasional Holy $#!+ moment.

Still, I hope the show does well and they pay my Cousin-In-Law handsomely. Maybe he’ll introduce me to Spielberg some day and I can show him my screenplay about a pig with super powers who goes back in time to fight dinosaurs.


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