TNT’s Falling Skies Season 1 Suffers from Shoddy Writing and Shockingly Bad Plotting
I’ve considered doing an episode-by-episode review of this show ever since it premiered this Summer, but never could summon the effort to do it. For one, the show is just not very good. And two, I would just end up ripping on it because, cripes, this is one bad show. It’s such a poorly written and directed mess, that I would have preferred if the whole thing was just a drama about a former professor living in the woods with a cute doctor and the professor’s kids hanging around. But instead this is a sci-fi alien invasion TV show.
Here’s the thing: I will gladly accept the concept of the alien invasion. That’s a must, right? You either say Yes to that and move on, or you turn the channel. So yeah, I’ll accept that the aliens employ what looks like a few hundred skitters and a few hundred mechs to take over the planet. You rarely (RARELY) see the aliens doing anything that even resembles military-like behavior. No units (unless their version of “units” are two skitters in the same general vicinity with one mech to back them up), and they certainly lack any coherent logic. Really? Using zombie kids to pick up supplies to build your giant structures is an effective way to utilize slave labor? Couldn’t one mech do the work of 50 slow-moving kids? I mean, the effort they take to round up and enslave these kids, you’d think the aliens could achieve that (and more, even) by just converting one of their killer mechs into a worker mech. But apparently not.
The problem is that “Falling Skies” seems to have blown its wad in the two-hour premiere. The episodes have become little more than human drama in a school setting. Which is fine, if everything around that drama weren’t just so goddamn stupid. Here’s one: apparently despite having high-tech warfare equipment and spaceships that zip across the sky, the aliens can’t detect a bunch of humans hiding out at a school in the middle of a dead city. Apparently none of those scout ships could ever spot all that human activity going on in, above, and around the school. Or those guys walking around with machine guns on the rooftops. Sigh. Or, hell, Hal and his buddies tooling around on their motorcycles in broad friggin’ daylight, right out there in the streets. These humans are as discreet as bugs trying to get your attention by jumping on your car’s windshield wipers. Then again, these aliens are so clueless, why not?
Again, logic problems. “Falling Skies” has so, so many logic problems. I really didn’t expect this from the show, considering the people working in the background, but ever since the pilot, which showed a hell of a lot of promise, the rest of the season has become one big mess of illogical madness. I’ve tried to overlook this part of the show, but I just can’t. It’s just so big and obvious and a middle finger to anyone in the audience who even spends a second thinking about the plotting. So let me get this straight: after the mech and skitters attack that school in that one episode, they never bother to report in to HQ? Or HQ doesn’t know where their apparently VERY LIMITED skitter/mech ground forces are at any one time? Cause hell, after the skitters and mech attack that school that one time, I expected the rest of the aliens to show up to finish the job later. Imagine my shock and non-surprise when nothing happens to the school until freaky Skitter Boy Rick sells them out in the season 1 finale. Sigh. Who plots this shit?
The best thing about “Falling Skies” are the main characters. Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, and Colin Cunningham (despite the fact that he seems to know WAY too much about everything for my liking) are the best things about this ungodly bad show. The acting is pretty good all around, unless a specific episode needs a specific villain to “juice” up the plot — the moronic civilian who hates Ben for being a POW, the stick-up-his-ass soldier sniffing Weaver’s jock strap in the finale. And Hal, who is supposed to be 16 years old, but looks more like 25. Well, that’s probably because the actor IS 25. I snickered every time someone on the show mentions that Hal is “just a 16-year-old boy.” But hey, at least Hal has something to do. I have no idea what Lourdes’ purpose on the show is. Or whatever happened to Karen (Jessy Schram). Well, we eventually learn what happened to Karen, but it sure seems like we’re the only ones who care, cause ol Hal sure didn’t seem all that affected by his girlfriend getting captured by the skitters after that one episode where she was captured. Apparently despite being “just a 16-year-old boy,” Hal has gotten plenty of tail, and easily shook off losing Karen to the bad guys. What a stud!
Look, I’m not saying that “Falling Skies” doesn’t have potential. I really, really liked the first two hours, but the rest of the season has become utter shit. That’s all there is to it. It’s just one badly written and directed episode after another. I don’t even mind the bad CGI skitters and mechs — I accept that, limited basic cable TV budget, etc. But there is really no excuse for such shoddy writing and run-of-the-mill directing, and the shocking lapses in story logic is just killing me, man. It’s just killing me.
I’ll tune in next year to see where “Falling Skies” Season 2 goes, but if they don’t get a showrunner in there to tidy up the scripts and plot this thing out better, I’m not resisting the alien invasion anymore. Fair warning, TNT.