Falling Skies is an American science fiction post-apocalyptic dramatic television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The series
stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, a former Boston University history professor who becomes the second-in-command of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, a group of civilians and fighters fleeing
post-apocalyptic Boston following an alien invasion that devastated the planet six months before the events of Season 1.
The series, a production of DreamWorks Television, is broadcast in the United States on the cable channel TNT and, in Canada, on Super Channel (first run broadcasts) and on Space (second run broadcasts on a one-year delay). The series premiered on June 19, 2011.
On July 18, 2014, TNT renewed the show for a 10-episode fifth and final season.
Falling Skies tells the story of the aftermath of a global invasion by several races of extraterrestrials (including the insectoid multi-legged beings known as "skitters," a race of humanoid gray-skinned beings that seem to be their commanders, and mechanical attack drones called "mechs") that neutralizes the world's power grid and technology, destroys the combined militaries of all the world's countries, and apparently kills over 90% of the human population, all within a few days.
The invasion and the aliens' objectives are not explained, though the aliens try to round up children between the ages of 8 and 16 and attach a biomechanical obedience device onto (and into) their spines, referred to as a "harness." The harness controls the child's mind, and forcibly removing it instantly kills the child. The story picks up six months after the invasion and follows a group of survivors who band together to fight back. The group, known as the Second Massachusetts (an allusion to a historical regiment from the Continental Army), is led by retired Captain Weaver and Boston University history professor Tom Mason who, while in search of his son Ben, must put his extensive knowledge of military history into practice as one of the leaders of the resistance movement.
Reception and Ratings :
The first season received generally positive reviews from the majority of television critics. On review aggregator Metacritic the pilot episode scored 71%, based on 26 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter wrote "...the entertainment value and suspense of Falling Skies is paced just right. You get the sense that we'll get those answers eventually. And yet, you want to devour the next episode immediately." Thomas Conner of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "...a trustworthy family drama but with aliens." He continued, "It's 'Jericho' meets 'V', with the good from both and the bad discarded.
It'll raise the summer-TV bar significantly."Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B+ and wrote, "A similar, gradually developed, but decisive conviction makes Falling Skies an engaging, if derivative, chunk of dystopian sci-fi." He continued, "...Falling Skies rises above any one performance; it's the spectacle of humans versus aliens that draws you in." In the Boston Herald, Mark A. Perigard gave the series a B grade, writing "Don't look now, but Falling Skies could be a summer obsession."
Less enthusiastic reviews came from critics such as Brian Lowry from Variety who stated that he enjoyed the action sequences but that "the soapier elements mostly fall flat", and called the series "painfully old-fashioned". Mike Hale, from The New York Times, called the series "average" and "good on the action, a little muddled on the ideas". He added that "the tone is placid and slightly monotonous, as if we were watching the Walton family at the end of the world". The Washington Post reviewer Hank Steuver criticized the actor portrayals, writing that "the show is slowed by so many wooden performances, Wyle's included". He also states he found himself "root[ing] for the aliens, which cannot have been the writers' intent"
The two-hour premiere of Falling Skies was watched by 5.9 million viewers, making it cable television's biggest series launch of the year, with more than 2.6 million adults 18–49 and 3.2 million adults 25–54. The eighth episodewas watched by 4.31 million viewers and scored a 1.5 ratings share among adults 18-49 and became TNT's highest rated series in target demos. The first season finale received 5.6 million viewers, the highest rated episode since the series premiere; with 2.5 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic. The first season tied with the FX series American Horror Story as the biggest new cable series of the year among adults 18-49. In the UK, it premiered on non-terrestrial channel FX, with 402,000 viewers.
The first season will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 5, 2012 in North America, and on August 29, 2012
in Australia. The complete first season DVD includes hours of bonus features including: Extended version of the pilot episode; audio commentary on the pilot
episode; a Season two preview; the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International panel; deleted scenes; character profiles; international promos; behind the scenes featurettes,
including the Making of Skitter, Harness Makeup Tips and Director One on One. A collectible Trading Card will be released exclusively to Blu-Ray.