tek's rating:

Falling Skies, on TNT
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Caution: spoilers.

The show begins six months after aliens have pretty much taken over the Earth, having wiped out most of the population, particularly the military and all the world's major cities. And I guess they knocked out our communications technology and electricity (though people can still use generators). Also, they abduct children and attach things called "harnesses" to their spines, which apparently turns them into mindless slaves (and the kids die if anyone tries to remove the harnesses). However, there are pockets of resistance. At the start of the series, we see a group in Boston, which is led by a man named Colonel Porter. He realizes the city is a lost cause, and because the aliens' airships have recently gotten to the point where their scans can pick up groups as small as 500 people, Porter decides the group has to be broken into units of 300 people each- 100 fighters and 200 civilians (though the distinction between "fighter" and "civilian" isn't what it once was). He says he's already sent out nine such groups, and now gives orders to three more. The main one this show is going to focus on is called the "2nd Massachussetts." Its leader was just killed, so Porter makes Captain Dan Weaver its new head, and assigns former history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) as Weaver's second in command. Neither of them wants to abandon the city, but they have no choice. Aside from that, they don't agree on much.

Tom's wife, Rebecca, was killed in the initial attack. He has three sons. His oldest, 16-year-old Hal, is a scout for the 2nd Mass. His youngest, Matt, is 8 years old, and just wants things to go back to how they were. His middle child, Ben, was captured and harnessed. Hal's girlfriend, Karen Nadler, is another scout, but before too long, she gets captured and harnessed, herself. Other characters include a former pediatrician named Anne Glass, who now serves as a field medic for the 2nd Mass, and also as a sort of speaker for the concerns of the civilians. Weaver feels there's no time to worry about such things, but she's clearly close to Tom. There's also a former pre-med student named Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel), a devout Christian, who assists Anne. Fighters include men named Dai and Anthony, as well as a 13-year-old boy named Jimmy. Early in the series, Tom encounters a band of marauders led by a guy named John Pope, who takes Tom and some others hostage, though ultimately he ends up a prisoner of the 2nd Mass. One of Pope's people, a woman named Maggie, turns against Pope and joins the 2nd Mass as a fighter. After awhile, Pope will prove to be of help to the 2nd Mass in a couple of ways (cooking and later producing ammunition), though people still don't trust him. And there's a guy named Scott (Anne's uncle, I guess), who teaches the children in the group. He also does some research that could prove useful against the aliens, with which Matt sometimes helps him. Though later on, Matt ends up helping Pope, against his father's orders.

I should say the 2nd Mass, or really all the units under Porter's command, call the six-legged aliens "Skitters." Nothing is really known about them, like why they're here or what they want. (Pope's group called the aliens "Cooties," and presumably other people around the country and the world will have any number of other names for them.) The Skitters are kind of hard to kill, I guess. And even harder to take down are their mechs and airships, and especially their motherships, which currently stand as sort of towers in all the major cities. Still, people eventually get a bit better at fighting them. At one point, there was a mission to try to retrieve Ben from the skitters, but instead a kid named Ricky Thompson (the son of a fighter named Mike) was rescued, though Mike was later killed. A doctor named Michael Harris joined the 2nd Mass for awhile (he was an old friend of Tom's), to try an experimental procedure he'd developed to remove a harness. It seemed to work out, and later Ben was also rescued and unharnessed using Harris's technice (along with several other children). Though Harris was later killed by a skitter that the 2nd Mass had taken prisoner. And eventually it would turn out that Ricky wanted to go back to the skitters, though Ben hoped he'd change his mind. It also turned out that in spite of the harnesses being removed, Ben and Ricky were still going through some kind of transformation. Meanwhile, Ben helped Scott with a radio transmitter that could jam the skitters' communications, maybe even cause them pain. And at one point, it is discovered that there is another species of tall, somewhat humanoid aliens, who apparently command the skitters (which also turn out to have been harnessed). And Porter returns, to explain a plan for attacking the aliens' tower in Boston. However, it requires a coordinated effort between regiments. The 7th Mass has been destroyed, and contact has been lost with the 4th and 5th Mass, so it's unclear whether the plan should even be attempted. Later, there's some question as to whether Weaver is still fit to command, but that all works out. The attack goes forward, even without the help of other regiments, while the civilians begin to retreat from the old school which the 2nd Mass had been using as a base for several weeks (or months, I dunno). The attack on the tower didn't go quite as well as hoped, but in the end (just before the series takes a hiatus in the middle of the season), Karen shows up, to speak for one of the command aliens. They want Tom to go with them, to talk, since this level of resistance had been unexpected.

So far the series is mostly just sort of okay, but sometimes it can be fairly interesting. The characters are also just sort of okay, but I guess I like them well enough. That's all I can think to say for now, because I didn't have the chance to watch the series past the first season.

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