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 zips 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 machineguns on the rooftops of the school. 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 a bug 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-in-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 snicker 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 have 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 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.

  • Lefthandedcigaret

    I love the cliched young hot blonde who apparently is an expert in guns, military tactics, explosives, etc…what did you do before the invasion honey?

    • Nix

      Apparently being the sex toy of some scumbags has its benefits — like developing super soldier skills and the like.

  • Guest

    lol. Don’t really like this show, just watch it when I’m bored. btw, who is the woman/young-adult with the black hair and is short (like 4 feet 5 in)

    • Nix

      Lourdes?  Played by the girl from The Last Airbender?

  • Bruce

    I like this show. It’s 100 times better then Stargate Universe, V, warehouse 13, ect. or anything left on the Syfy channel

    • Jolene Robinson

      You’re Kidding I hope!

      • Bruce

        Nope.  I loved SG-1 and Atlantis but SG-U was boring and downright silly at times.  V was a poor remake of a poor 80′s show.  Aside from the ending of Falling Skies (which jumped the shark and should have been skipped) the rest of the show has been enjoyable.  

  • Bit

    This show is that boring that even a well-written article like this is boring. You can’t find anything interesting at this show…

  • Vickevlar

    The larger story arc has me hooked enough to watch the next season.

  • Platerr

    well Bruce, I have to disagree I really liked Universe, and V, but there’s not a great deal to watch on Sci fi anymore as they keep axing everything lol

  • 12345

    Well, thanks for the spoiler alert at the begining of this article, NOT. Real nice work you douche.

  • Darkfather

    I really enjoy the show and feel you critics need to get a real job.

  • Patric Nilsson

    This show i seriously crappy, full of nonsense and cliché characters. I gave up after three ep’s.

  • Grimfaery

    The writer of this article clearly suffers from the ‘bad-guys/good-guys should never make any mistake’ syndrome. They made it pretty clear from the beginning that no one is sure why the aliens are doing a lot of the things we see do (harnessing kids, building simplistic structures, not pressing advantages they clearly have, etc.).

    They also make it clear that the aliens didn’t expect the level of resistance we gave them. In other words, they were very over confidant and less then thorough in the execution of the invasion which could easily explain why the main charter’s group could go so long without being directly attacked as well as a good number of other things going on in the story. When you compare what is happening in the series to historical instances of partisan/resistance style warfare, then a lot of what is going on makes plenty of sense.

    The amount of venom you are spewing towards this show is so full of block headed assumptions that almost all your criticisms fall apart when scrutinized, even if they initially had any actual merit. I don’t expect this sort of thing from a legitimate reviewer. Actually I don’t expect it from ANYONE!

    Do not judge this show from this review!

  • Bobby

    Couldn’t agree more with this article, when did Sci-Fi become so drama based! Lets get back to good old SG-1 type shows, Sci-Fi should be tech witha bit of comedy thrown in. Hey it’s not real!!

  • Daniello

    Sorry, I didn’t even enjoy the pilot. I’m all for alien invasion and all that jazz but .. I just couldn’t stand this. The characters, the acting, is below par if I’m nice. No, I’m not nice, it’s awful. The acting stinks and the characters are so cliché and bad it makes my skin crawl. It’s god awful and it stinks to high even.

    I wish the aliens could win already and take over the planet and make their own version of the events, that’d probably be more interesting, despite it being made in another “language” and all.

  • Guest1

    The Plot is OK, but I am a huge fan of any Apocalyptic shows. The writing sucks, and the acting needs some work. It just makes me wonder if this really did happen, why would they send a patrol out consisting of two kids??? In fact who would send a 12 year old out anyways? I am not going into the blonde girl who is reincarnate Rambo. They have no sense of hiding or stealth what so ever, the bikes they ride all around with are loud and sure to attract some attention, why would you ride them? They apparently have over 100 “fighters”. Why when they do a mission is it only the same 5 people going, and why only five? And why do all the missions have a team consisting of at least one child? In season 2 they hunker down in a hospital, the first thing they do is turn on all the lights, wtf?

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