TV Review - Falling Skies: Season 2
|Ben (Connor Jessup) shows his little brother,|
Matt (Maxim Knight) how to shoot in "Falling Skies"
Noah Wyle who most may remember from ER stars as Tom Mason, a professor with three sons who has banded with some rebels in what's left of Beantown to fight the alien force that has invaded. Season 2 picks up three months following the end of Season 1 after Tom was taken on board an alien vessel.
Tom talks to the aliens and I'm happy that they're way more direct with humans than the aliens in ABC's remake of V. It also allows for one of the most interesting exchanges where insight is given that took The X-Files six seasons to deduce or ferret out. That insight is advanced technology does not mean advanced society or culture and that even with the best and most powerful machinery, a race can still be no better than animals. This could be humanity's future. It's the antithesis of Star Trek, which is always hopeful of humanity.
This show, despite the cinematography, isn't bleak. I suspect that the camera work is darker, bluer and more blown-out than The Walking Dead because it's easier to blend effects. The Walking Dead is brighter, more naturalistic and more realistic in his cinematography, yet buried within each episode is a tone or sentiment that humanity's future is doomed. Falling Skies is the opposite. Its episodes look bleak, but buried within its episodes is an optimism and a progression or at least a fight for optimism that The Walking Dead lacks.
Struggles against its optimism are what drive the emotional and character developments, and, like with some other sci-fi adventures, it revolves around the relationship between father and son as well as brother and brother. Tom was separated from his sons for three months. There is some catching up to do for him as he discovers how they've changed in the interim. With a couple of his kids, he discovers how the humanity in them has been lost a little and now it's his job to make sure it's not permanently so.
It's taken to a more literal level with Tom's middle son, Ben, played by Connor Jessup. The aliens experimented on Ben and tried to change him. Ben still possesses the scars from that on his back. It's affected who he is, made him bitter and a bit more cynical. The implication is that he's a little less human and more alien, but the real implication is actually the reverse. Tom has to try to deal with that. Tom's eldest son, Hal, played by Drew Roy, frankly doesn't want to do deal with it at all. He resists his brother's changes. In the while, Tom's youngest son, Matt, played by 12-year-old actor Maxim Knight, hasn't hit puberty yet and is already being trained to be a soldier. His childhood as humanity is rather quickly being lost.
I think the episodes are well-written. I think the acting and the makeup are particularly outstanding. This is a great summer diversion that really gives True Blood a run for its money. In fact, it is perhaps a better diversion than True Blood. What you trade for sex, you get in violence, which generally would be a trade I wouldn't make, but here it works.
Five Stars out of Five.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Airs Sundays at 9PM on TNT.