Last night second season of Steven Spielberg produced sci fi post apocalyptic series “Falling Skies” returned to the US TV screens with double bill of two separate episodes broadcasted back to back. Most of us can agree the first season of “Falling Skies” was a bit of a car crash even compared to previous low budget attempts at the subject such as Jeremiah or Jericho. And most of us were surprised when the network announced season two, especially when many of the much better produced and received series that year were canned. I didn’t set my hopes high for season two, but against all odds decided to take a peek at what it has to offer.
The good news is – the budget probably improved. Or special effects got cheaper. One of the two. The new season looks better visually. While Moon Bloodgood (“Terminator Salvation”, “Day Break”) and Noah Wyle (“E.R”, “E.R” and, probably “E.R.”) look less like they were in a queue to jobcenter and more like they are leading characters. So that’s improvement. The bad news however, is, that the pace, feel and script is still shocking bad. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but let me just reveal this: Double bill season premiere. 50% of which (and 10% of the entire season effectively) is spent on two handful of extras and a bus, crossing a bridge. Of course I am exaggerating slightly, there is a tad more to the plot than that. But it’s not far off. It’s bad enough that most of the time you have to watch the same group of people moving in front of camera over and over to create crowd. One bridge. One bus. One handful of extras. One episode.
As if to prove the point in the saying “never have so many done so little for so little gain” just about everything else in “Falling Skies” remains the same. Limited scenography and locations, grossly underused supporting characters. The kids are still annoying, you still want half of the cast to perish in the next alien attack and as the final credits scroll though the screen you still ask yourself if watching paint dry or tea evaporate from your cup wouldn’t be more interesting way to waste 40 minutes plus adverts, but at the end of the day – it’s there during holiday season, it’s one of the very few sci fi series you will experience this year and it’s here to stay for at least this season. Falling Skies is on your TNT right now between June 17 and August 12, 2012 and episode 1 & 2 (“Worlds Apart” and “Shall We Gather at the River”) out 10 airs for UK viewers on 3rd of July on FX UK.