Falling Skies

As the best series on television, “Falling Skies” is the crown of the science fiction post-apocalyptic drama genre since 2011. Due to mainstream popularity and positive critical reception, a third season set to premier some time in 2013. 5.9 million viewers watched the season premier, which made it the biggest television series launch of the year. The show is created by Steven Speilberg, master of science fiction, and Robert Rodat, the film writer for Saving Private Ryan. The plot begins six months after a devastating alien attack on the earth and centers around a group of humans that has somehow managed to survive. The main character of the show is Tom Mason, a former Boston University professor of History portrayed by Noah Wyle (made famous by his role as Dr. John Carter in E.R.). Mason becomes the second in command of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, the name of which is an actual historical allusion to a regiment from the Continental Army. This regiment is a band of fugitive survivors made up of both fighters and civilians attempting to flee the ruins of Boston and fight back against the ongoing invasion. Mason is a somewhat unlikely hero considering his former peaceful and rather boring occupation of history professor—however, his extensive knowledge of war tactics, which he learned from examining the most powerful militaries in history, proves to be useful in strategizing against the invaders. The invaders themselves consist of three different fearsome varieties of extraterrestrial. First, the “mechs”, a species of deadly attack drones designed to search and destroy. Next, the “skitters”, an eerily human race of six-legged, green-skinned monsters. The skitters have the morbid goal of capturing children between the ages of 8 and 18 in order to insert a “harness” into their spine with the purpose of forcing the child to obey alien command. Removal of the harness is fatal to the child. Last but not least, the mysterious “overlords”; although little has been revealed about the overlords thus far in the series, there are hints as to the effect that the overlords are the true masterminds of the invasion and that they maintain some control over the other two alien races. These invaders effectively wipe out all of the earth’s military forces and neutralize all electrical activity, rendering earth’s technology useless. According to reports, the invaders have also annihilated over 90% of the earth’s population. Among the missing is Mason’s own son, Ben.

Falling Skies is essentially a carefully constructed answer to the question, “What happens when human society as we know it has to be rebuilt from the ground up?” What happens after the battle has already been lost? The earth has already been successfully conquered and human culture has been effectively destroyed. Falling Skies does a great job of bringing such a scenario to life.  In answer to the question, “What happens next”, Falling Skies presents a hopeful picture of human resourcefulness and tenacity in the face of defeat. The main theme of the show focuses on the ideas of family and brotherhood among humankind, a theme that effectively tugs on viewers’ heartstrings as they enjoy the action and unfolding of the plot.


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