Why Falling Skies is Awesome

Author BethTX returns to give us some good news…

Why Falling Skies Works for Me

I’ll start by warning that this is a disturbingly positive article, totally unlike me at all. The sarcasm is kept to a bare minimum and I have nothing but good to say. In other words, you may want to skip this and wait until the Pod People are finished using my personality.

I don’t watch much TV, mostly because I find myself sneering at most shows with a Simon Cowell-like, “That. Was. Utterly. Dreadful.” People look at me like I’ve sprouted horns when I tell them I’ve never seen Seinfeld, Oprah, Friends, anything involving a lovesick vampire, or any of the interchangeable reality garbage that passes for TV. Basically, if there isn’t enough action or it doesn’t rely heavily on fart jokes, leave me out.

When I do find a rare show I like I become a little obsessed. I want to own the Blu-Rays, buy the merchandise, read the interviews, and discuss everything in-depth. I take a pass on fan fiction because 99% of it is so bad that I’m sure little brain tumors form after each misspelled sentence I read. I can actually hear the English language consider suicide with each fic from a 14-year-old girl who writes herself into a story where Ben falls in love with her and they both go on to beat the Skitters singlehandedly. And why is her name always something ridiculous like Jade, Jasmine, Shawna, or Summer? Girls with names like those end up swinging from a stripper pole and are the first to go when aliens attack. Truth. Look it up. Anyway…

Falling Skies and The Walking Dead are currently the only shows I’m really into. Of the two FS is far in the lead (more on that later in a co-authored article with Kid Carnival) but it’s too easy to say “I like it because of the acting and writing”. I’m like a two-year-old who always says “But whyyyyy?” until I drill down to the root cause.

#1: It grabbed me from the start. I tuned in for 2 reasons: Noah Wyle and post-apocalyptic kickassery. I would watch a show called “Noah Wyle Sits at His Kitchen Table Reading Angry Feminist Poetry”. He’s handsome and I’m shallow. Sue me. But Falling Skies threw in the added attraction of a battle within first minute of the first episode. I came to see alien bad guys wreaking havoc and they gave me alien bad guys wreaking havoc. Good decision to dive right in rather than showing life leading up to the invasion. The aftermath is exciting. Watching the Mason family eat breakfast on the day of the invasion, however, not so much. They work in backgrounds and explanations throughout the show; for example, we don’t need to see Tom and his wife together to know they loved each other. We see it in Noah Wyle’s acting when Tom talks about her.

#2: Good balance of action and drama. Any given episode may focus somewhat more on one or the other, but so far there have been none where the 2nd Mass sits around knitting and talking about their feelings.

#3: I care about the majority of the characters. That’s the difference between a movie and television. I can watch a crappy SyFy movie with forgettable throwaway characters and still enjoy it because, meh, it’s 90 minutes out of my life and I like bad CGI aliens well enough to spend that time. To keep me coming back week after week and year after year it’s not enough that I see action; I also have to be invested in at least a couple of the characters. Falling Skies writers and actors have gone above and beyond with the portrayal of each character. The incredibly talented actors are given believable dialogue and scenarios for the most part (I won’t harp again on the lack of realism of romance during an alien apocalypse).

The story is built around the Mason clan. Cast the wrong people and the show fails. Write the wrong dialogue and it fails. Forget to develop the characters and it fails. FS has failed to fail on all counts.

#4: Quality special effects, no exceptions. It’s Steven Spielberg, so no danger of bad CGI. The Skitters are creepy and the Mechs are terrifying and we’re still trying to figure out what the hell that weird scaly Tyler thing was. I can’t decide whether I want to feed the Overlords a cheeseburger or put them in touch with the Ford modeling agency.

In general, it’s just a well-rounded, overall enjoyable show. There. See? Positive.

BethTX is a Contributing Author here on the Falling Skies Blog, just as sarcastic as me (not an easy accomplishment), and I was able to forgive her for listing The Walking Dead in the same sentence as Falling Skies.

Keep the Resistance Strong!


~ by The Falling Skies Blog on August 8, 2012.

3 Responses to “Why Falling Skies is Awesome”

  1. Great Article Beth.

    Oh, and at the risk of getting my Contributing Author status revoked, I also like TWD (and no I don’t have as big of a crush on Daryl as I do on Pope thank you very much I’m a one man woman).

    Now get back to the sarcasm, Greg and I can’t keep up the snark on our own. 🙂

  2. I’m hangin’ on by spit with TWD, but I’ll give it another season!

  3. That’s interesting; I think I watch a LOT TV, yet I haven’t seen any of the shows you mention either. I also keep mixing up Seinfeld with some other show I haven’t seen, so I’m not sure what it really is about. (The guy with the bizarre hair, yes? No? Whatever.)

    OH and: Big exception from the silly names rule: Summer Glau. Not only is she not a stripperific 14 years old self insert, but a beautiful actress with an excellent taste in roles/genres. Had to point that out.

    Other than that, I absolutely agree. My relationship with TWD is more like holding onto the memory of a dead friend. I love what we had, I like to think about what could have been. But in the end, it’s just a rotting corpse and there’s nothing left of the friendship we once shared. *wipes CGI tear away*
    FS didn’t have me from hello like other recent shows (namely Spartacus and Game of Thrones), but it was enough to pull me in and follow it non-sarcastically (reached that point with Spartacus in season 2). That is already an achievement. FS also proved me wrong on my initial – negative – expectations, most notably “bleh, flag waving military glorification ahead”. Though I often say Tom Mason does dumb things, I have to admit that’s the character who balances the military aspect – I’m always up for a good conflict a la military vs civilians or scientists or younameit.

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