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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B to B plus.
Produced by Stephen Spielberg and teleplay contributions by a number of writers, including Robert Rodat (best known for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and Mark Verheiden (who wrote 9 episodes for the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and will be an executive producer for the upcoming DARK TOWER series). First off, this is not INDEPENDENCE DAY, people. It's a grim survival tale of humans...
Published on March 31, 2012 by MISTER SJEM

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142 of 175 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of potential, mostly unrealized
With a premise like this, Falling Skies should have been a real winner. There should have been lots of tension, action, and philosophy. Instead, we have lots and lots and lots of quiet conversation, down time, and what is presumably meant as character development, but which just comes across as filler, meaningless chat, and stock characters. If the planet were really...
Published on October 22, 2012 by Music maven


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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B to B plus., March 31, 2012
By 
This review is from: Falling Skies: Season 1 (DVD)
Produced by Stephen Spielberg and teleplay contributions by a number of writers, including Robert Rodat (best known for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and Mark Verheiden (who wrote 9 episodes for the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and will be an executive producer for the upcoming DARK TOWER series). First off, this is not INDEPENDENCE DAY, people. It's a grim survival tale of humans almost wiped out by an alien invasion some six months ago. The remnants we focus upon are roughly 300 men, women and children and most of them have no military experience.

There's an interesting opening in which the children explain an alien invasion of Earth through drawings to their teachers. Electricity and satellites are knocked out and something like over 90% of humanity is gone. About the only reason the humans are able to even mildly resist is simply that the alien force has left the planet with garrisons but you don't know what's happening over the rest of the world which leads to some intriguing presumptions and rumors. Said garrisons have giant bots helping them and the sinister means to mind control the human children through "harnesses" (alien membranes that attack from the neck all the way down to your lower back). Even when the children are freed from the harnesses there are surprises like the aliens finding ways to control those children at opportune times.

Noah Wyle, a military professor turned sub commander, is the main character in this tale who tries to give hope to the survivors even though his wife is dead and his middle child has been taken and harnessed by the invaders. Wyle is good enough in his role but
acting is all over the board. Some are very good (like Colin Cunningham as the gang leader turned cook/problem solver), some are subdued but done well enough (like Will Patton as the grizzled Desert Storm veteran who all see as their leader or Dale Dye as Colonel Porter who is best remembered as Colonel Sink in BAND OF BROTHERS) and others are in the "C-ish" grade range (like some of the teenagers and medical people). I think the second season will have more episodes and give us a better feel for the acting range of this cast.

Special effects feel like they're on budget at times but you have to remember that this is TNT. I'd say they're good enough and the reveals as to the special powers/technology of the aliens are fairly well done. The biological hierarchy of aliens was a good idea especially as revealed at the finale. As I said above the tone is grim but not hopeless.

The first season was met with positive reviews and the two-hour premiere 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 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. (Wiki source).

This show was approved for a second season and hopefully it will be more than ten episodes.

STORY/PLOTTING: B to B plus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B; SPECIAL EFFECTS: B; SETTING/FOCUSES: B plus; OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus; WHEN WATCHED: 2011.
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150 of 179 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid, If Familiar, Sci-Fi Survivor Story That Needs To Heighten Its Action And Human Drama For Season Two, August 18, 2011
This review is from: Falling Skies: Season 1 (DVD)
When the TNT network announced a Spielberg produced science fiction epic for its summer slate of programming, I was eager to sample the wares. With its massive advertising campaign, the network clearly had high expectations--and initial ratings were strong and instantaneous causing the show to receive an immediate second season order. Season One consists of ten episodes that weave a solid story of survivors in the aftermath of an alien invasion. Channeling a low key energy, as opposed to a pulse pounding tone, the show does a nice job establishing every day folks caught up in extraordinary circumstances. The piece's central theme is that we're all heroes in our own way and we're all stronger for standing together. It is a remarkably earnest presentation that remains mildly downbeat without ever seeming hopeless. This matter-of-fact feel is both one of the strongest elements of the show, but also one of the things that kept me from truly investing in the drama.

In truth, there is nothing particularly revelatory in the plotting of "Falling Skies." While I enjoyed the creature conception of the skitters (one of the alien life forms), admired the ambitious special effects, and was intrigued by some of the concepts (particularly the harnessed children)--I couldn't escape the general feeling that I'd seen it all before in countless similar variations. With a familiar feeling narrative, then, it is left to the screenwriters and the characterizations to make the show really pop. And I'm not sure that a memorable cast of characters has yet to evolve. Noah Wyle does most of the heavy lifting and makes an admirable every man hero. But many of the peripherals don't really stand out as interesting or fully developed individuals. When Steven Weber shows up for a few episodes, he creates real passion. When Henry Czerny pops around, there is a nice sense of menace. None of the regular supporting cast makes as much of an impression as these guest stars.

I'll take that back--we have Colin Cunningham as a unscrupulous villain that might be on the path to reform. His scenes have such urgency, such humor, such unpredictability. And in contrast, the other members of the cast seem a bit dour or unfocused. The show is still in its infancy, and I hope that in the return there is an imperative on distinguishing the individual characters a bit more. Still, if you like this sort of survivor drama, you'll probably enjoy "Falling Skies." As the season progressed to the inevitable big showdown finale, the resolution did feel a bit underwhelming. As it stands, the show had a decent (if not spectacular) debut but needs to heighten the action and human drama in its sophomore year. It has a talented cast, they just need to be allowed to shine. I want to love "Falling Skies," but merely like it. As a viewer, I need an urgency from the writing that makes me feel like I'm in the trenches with heroes that I really care about in a meaningful way. I just haven't gotten there yet....KGHarris, 8/11.

Bonus Features: DVD set is 3 disc, Blu-ray is 2 disc. In addition to the 10 episodes, there will be a sneak look at Season "Animating a Skitter" feature, and commentary tracks. Exclusive to the Blu-ray, there is also "Falling Skies from Pencils to Print: The Comic Book Revealed" plus collectible trading card.
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142 of 175 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of potential, mostly unrealized, October 22, 2012
By 
This review is from: Falling Skies: Season 1 (DVD)
With a premise like this, Falling Skies should have been a real winner. There should have been lots of tension, action, and philosophy. Instead, we have lots and lots and lots of quiet conversation, down time, and what is presumably meant as character development, but which just comes across as filler, meaningless chat, and stock characters. If the planet were really devastated by aliens and people were hunted by advanced machines, the remaining people would be desperate, frightened, and frazzled. But the characters here are relaxed, chatty, and might as well be on vacation. Other than the very infrequent moments when they are actively encountering the aliens, there is no sense at all that any aliens exist. And how is it that these advanced, interstellar travelers can't see a group of 300 people traveling together on foot? The production values are cheap and easy, and while the digital work on the aliens is at least acceptable, there is far too little of it. TV budgets are not movie budgets, of course, but look at what Spielberg can do with sounds and the implied presence of hostile aliens in a movie like War of the Worlds. Lack of money doesn't have to mean lack of effectiveness. This show should be much, much better than it is.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falling Skies, September 13, 2011
This review is from: Falling Skies: Season 1 (DVD)
Falling Skies begins 6 months after an invasion of Earth by aliens from an unknown origin. It chronicles survivors' struggles to survive and their attempts to fight back the alien incursion. I've read a lot of criticism of the show as "too slow". I think that may be a result of the fact that the actual invasion is not depicted. This is not a rock-em/sock-em show. It's not about that. It's about 300 people trying to figure out how to stay alive (food, water, medical supplies...etc) in a world that no longer functions. No computers, no fuel injected cars, no TV, no radio. They have to have runners between groups of people. At the same time, they have to figure out how to fight back without the technology to which we have become accustomed.

Some people have written that they want to know who the aliens are, where they come from, what they want. The show focuses on the Mason family. Some people want more of the characters fleshed out more. That's all tough to do in 10 episodes. I say give it a chance. See what happens next summer. If I have a complaint about the show, it's that it WAS only 10 episodes. Most of the "summer" series are at least 13. Three more episodes might have given them time to silence some of the criticisms that I have mentioned. I hope they do more than 10 for next summer. I have thoroughly enjoyed what I've seen so far.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Entertaining than "War of the Worlds", May 17, 2012
This enjoyable variation on "War of the Worlds" from executive producer Steven Spielberg finds a group of survivors struggling to maintain their existence in a post-alien invasion Boston. Noah Wylie stars as one of the de facto leaders of a resistance movement intended to stop the aliens, who mostly leave the deserted suburban areas of Massachusetts alone outside of occasional patrols, but who also abduct younger humans for their own - as of yet unknown - reasons. Wylie often clashes with military veteran Will Patton over balancing the group's safety with trying to make a dent against the extraterrestrials, all the while taking care of his family, including three young sons.

Though familiar, "Falling Skies" is entertaining stuff, mainly because the quality production values are matched with a strong human component. Wylie, so good for many years as John Carter on "ER," makes for a perfect everyman - a professor reluctantly thrust into battle, who often finds himself reflecting on the group's predicament in the context of history - and he's matched by a fine supporting cast including Patton, Moon Bloodgood and Sarah Carter. Fine special effects and a satisfying mix of sci-fi action and human drama make "Falling Skies" well worth checking out.

Warner's Blu-Ray edition of "Falling Skies" looks terrific with 1080p transfers and DTS MA soundtracks. A good selection of extras include commentaries, a San Diego Comic-Con featurette, behind the scenes featurettes, a sneak peak at Season 2 and a BD exclusive look at the Dark Horse comic book.

In some ways "Falling Skies" comes off feeling like Spielberg's second stab at "War of the Worlds," but the series ultimately works better thanks to better fleshed out, and more likeable, characters. Before Season 2 hits the TNT airwaves this summer, newcomers would do well to check out Warner's Blu-Ray Season 1 release when it streets on June 5th.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad and boring, December 29, 2012
The acting is poor, the special effects are B quality, the dialog is below average, and the pacing can best be compared to continental drift.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wow, I certainly didn't value my time, June 1, 2013
By 
CDH (Cornelius, NC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Falling Skies Season 1 (Amazon Instant Video)
Poor screenplay, marginal acting, little thought into creating a plot that is something more or different that what you've seen over and over again. They keep trying to tie it into the American revolution, but it was done in such an obvious and poor manner. How did this series get so many stars?
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good tv show despite the massive amount of hate it gets online..., April 16, 2012
It's not a masterpiece but it is very entertaining and a good summer show. I believe most of the hate is coming from scifi fans who were expecting this show to be some groundbreaking alien epic/masterpiece like Battlestar Galactica. I can understand how folks might have felt with such high standards when they finally watched this show at first. But if you still hated it after a few eps then why watch? I don't mean to sound rude but if you still don't like this show then go find something else to watch. There are quality scifi shows like Fringe & Awake on tv that desperately need ratings. Go help them out instead of spending time complaining about the ones that don't meet your standards.

Anyways...Falling Skies is a very compelling, if somewhat flawed, survival drama set in an alien post apocalypse. It's not groundbreaking but some of the ideas presented are good and with time may become amazing. The resistance fighters remind me of the group in the original V miniseries (the excellent one made in the 80s). The aliens have taken out the major cities & hit down the military in their first wave of attacks. Now it's up to non-military people to help fight. That means even teens will have to carry guns and fight.

Noah Wylie is a great lead and the actors playing his sons are good also. I like the father/son relationship between Tom and Hal. Most shows would have Hal being rebellious & hateful of his father. That is a cliché that this show actually avoids & in some ways subverts. Hal is supportive of his father most of the time and voices his opinions maturely instead of being a brat. The teen son on V (2009) was awful in comparison. Also, the teen son of Terra Nova was no better.

I also really like the female characters on the show. I love the Walking Dead but you have got to admit that Falling Skies has way better female characters. I am thankful there is no one like Lori on this show.

Moon Bloodgood plays a doctor named Anne and potential love interest for Tom. She is a great character. Instead of weeping and going on about the loss of her family, she focuses on doing what she can for the group & helping others. I love that the writers don't push the romance between her character and Tom. They have some light banter and these really nice quiet moments that are more meaningful. These moments evolve during the first season that will most likely lead to romance in the second season.

These are just some of the elements that make this show pretty entertaining. You have characters that are relatable despite cliché, ongoing mystery about the aliens, good cgi, and the usual post-apocalyptic drama. I would definitely recommend this show especially if you've liked the Walking Dead, Jericho, or Spielberg's other alien miniseries Taken.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How real can you get?, January 7, 2012
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This review is from: Falling Skies: Season 1 (DVD)
The thing about Falling Skies was how real it was. As a history teacher myself, it was very easy to identify with Tom to begin with--there are those of us who really think like that. But suppose the aliens did come and knock out the satellites and electricity and all you had to survive on was pioneer instincts and big empty houses of a lost world. That is what continually got me. In fact, in viewing it over and over again, I starting thinking that way: and when the aliens come, we won't have THAT to rely on. But as long as the kids are safe...
So there you go, Spielburg has done it again. The petty problems of yesterday, with cellphones and fast cars and internet porn and even good food that you could take for granted at the end of the day--all gone. And there is Tom, in the final shots of Season 1 ( forgive me if you are not there yet) taking the step because he needs to save his son, but also, also, yes, the reason historians live for, just to know what is there.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your New Sci Fi And It's Good!!!, August 7, 2011
This review is from: Falling Skies: Season 1 (DVD)
Serious without being grim, uplifting without being saccharine, "Falling Skies" dares to image what feature films will not! A world in which Will Smith or Aaron Eckhart did not bring down the mother ship in time. This time, aliens are setting up shop around the world, building huge metal structures over all the major cities.

Quickly I was taken in with this show, on the edge of my seat wanting more. I cannot wait until the 2nd season, and the first on DvD! I believe this will be the new Sci Fi, that "SyFy" fails to deliver these days. Watch! Watch! Watch! ....and buy the DvD, you won't be disappointed.
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