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DVD Review

DVD cover

Falling Skies
The Complete First Season


Starring: Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Drew Roy, Jessy Schram, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Colin Cunningham and Sarah Carter
Warner Home Video
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 02 July 2012

Falling Skies chronicles the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that leaves most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, survivors band together to begin the difficult task of fighting back against the aggressive aliens. Outside of Boston, history professor Tom Mason helps lead a small army named 2nd Massachusetts in the battle of their lives to preserve their families and what’s left of humanity...

Falling Skies takes a new angle on the alien invasion story. Instead of the aliens arriving and conquering us, the story starts six months after they've arrived and already made mankind's life hell.

The main aliens (Skitters) are eight legged beings which have employed robotic "mechs" to help them wipe out humanity. The question of why an eight legged race would design a bipedal robot task force is addressed early on (but fully explained as the show progresses). However, not all of mankind is being targeted for extermination. The Skitters round up human children and attach living harnesses to them so that they can be turned into slaves.

It's obvious pretty early on that mankind has no chance of defeating this alien threat and that the best they can do is to merely survive. But as this series progresses one band of fighters slowly come up with various ways to incapacitate their enemy until they decide to strike back at them with one big attack. Of course, this won't wipe the enemy out, but it will make them aware of the fact they can be harmed and that mankind has no intention of just handing their planet over to the aliens.

The show works well because it doesn't follow the threat / task of the week style of storytelling. The plot itself is incredibly thin, but what makes this a compelling series is the strong characters and shifting dynamics of their relationships.

Extras include audio commentaries on several episodes; Animating a Skitter (3 min, 53 sec); Falling Skies Panel: San Diego Comic-Con 2011 (20 min, 45 sec Q&A); Behind the Scenes: The Unknown (2 min, 45 sec cast and crew giving out teasers for the show and its basic story); Behind the Scenes: Second Mass (3 min, 01 sec more info on what the show is about); and Unanswered Questions: Season 2 Sneak Peak (1 min, 48 sec).

If I had one slight complaint, it would be with the final episode. Obviously designed to end on a cliffhanger to lead into a second season, the conclusion just reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Equally the aliens aren't overly original in design. The Skitters look like a cross between those in Alien, Predator and Starship Troopers. Likewise, the Mechs look like your typical Japanese manga/anime mechs or RoboCop's ED 209.

What we end up with is a strong character driven series that actually gives the characters more respect and attention than the main story. And the results speak for themselves. This is a mature, entertaining show that is certainly worthy of your attention.


Darren Rea

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