Falling Skies is the latest sci-fi television series from TNT or any network I’m aware of to make its way onto the small screen since Stargate Universe. The show is set during the aftermath of an alien attack that took out (according to the show) all but 10% of the population six months after the initial invasion. The premier portrays a group of 600 survivors banding together to resist the aliens, nicknamed “skitters”, hellbent on obliterating the remaining human occupants. This new series fills the gap left by Stargate Universe on the Syfy network which ultimately failed to resonate with its audience.
Unlike Stargate Universe, Falling Skies has the opportunity to create something new for viewers instead of being saddled by the previous entries in a franchise. TNT has limited experience in sci-fi programming with the pickup of Babylon 5 in 1998 and the failed attempt at a spin-off called Crusade. However, after watching their newest venture into the science fiction realm I have reserved optimism about the success of Falling Skies. The reservations mostly derive from two sources, Twitter negativity and the lackluster special effects.
Twitter & more specifically the hash tag #fallingskies is buzzing with first impressions of the show. From observing the last hour or so of tweets it would seem 40% of viewers had a poor reaction, 30% gave it a mixed review and the rest were in my camp with a solid to enthused view of the production. Most of the negatives from the show seem to stem from the special effects used to create the alien invaders. The multi-legged “skitters” trying to snuff out the human race look very unrealistic. The rational brain wants to let TNT slide on this issue, since it’s on a station not known for production quality, but after watching Battlestar Galactica it’s difficult to use a candle when you’ve experienced the handiness of a good flash light.
Beyond the thoughts of the Twitter army and dull visuals the plot of the show does a solid job of holding the attention of viewers (this viewer at least). I’m unfamiliar with the previous shows/movies of a Mr. Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) but I’m pleased by his performance in Falling Skies. His role in the story put me in mind of Rick Grimes from the AMC show “The Walking Dead”. You have a guy thrust from his previous career into a world where he must fight for his life and his family against impossible odds, all the while exuding an air of calm and confidence. SPOILER: The greatest part of The Walking Dead series is that the zombies aren’t the sole protagonist of the story with other humans causing their fair share of mayhem. In Falling Skies you’re treated to similarly bleak surroundings and a human vs human side story that takes place later on against post apocalyptic outlaws. This addition aided in deploying a new dynamic to the show beyond what you would expect from the “skitters”.
Falling Skies is scheduled to air every Sunday night at 10pm, so with satisfying first impressions aside, it may be months until we see what the rest of the viewership has to say. Whether the show is renewed or canceled it’s off to a fantastic start. Let us know what you think of TNT’s newest foray into the sci-fi genre in the comments.
The Syfy television network is on the cusp of putting it’s summer lineup on the small screen. Among the sci-fi TV fare are several gems and a few shows & movies I’m skeptical about.
Haunted Collector – Premiers June 1st at 9PM (ET/PT)
First on the list is a reality series called Haunted Collector. It’s a show about a family of paranormal investigators hunting down “haunted” items/objects. We all know houses & buildings sometimes aren’t good enough for ghouls, right? All things metaphysical seem ridiculous to me & that describes my feelings on this show. However, to some this might seem like an interesting endeavor into the haunted world. All I can say is check it out and decide for yourself.
Hollywood Treasure – Premiers June 1st at 10PM (ET/PT)
The mid-season return of Hollywood Treasure premiers directly after the Haunted Collector. The show is all about acquiring and auctioning movie & television show collectibles. The main player in the show, Joe Maddalena, is almost intolerable to watch but his staff seem to be genuine people. I managed to catch a few of the previous episodes and enjoyed what I witnessed, especially the Stargate collectibles with the likeable Christopher Judge (Teal’c) vetting the items.
Alphas – Premiers July 9th at 10PM (ET/PT)
As I had hoped, SyFy is bringing us a new sci-fi drama with Alphas. However, it isn’t a far cry from their other sci-fi drama, Sanctuary. The show is based around a team of citizens with amazing physical & mental abilities that investigate people with similar abilities that law enforcement are unable to capture. I’m a huge fan of Sanctuary so I’m excited about this series, albeit a bit apprehensive as to whether the main characters can pull it off as well as Amanda Tapping.
Legend Quest – Premiers July 13th at 10PM (ET/PT)
Continuing their string of reality shows, Syfy brings us Legend Quest. The show follows archaeologist Ashley Cowie as she traverses the globe looking for mysterious ancient artifacts. I wonder if this show would be better on Discover or even the Science channel but I’m excited to see how this is put together. If they take a practical & scientific approach to what they find we could be in for a treat.
Eureka Season 4.5 – Premiers July 11th at 8PM (ET/PT)
Eureka returns for season “4.5” with all of it’s quirky sci-fi goodness. The show is set in a fictional town hidden away and funded by the military that houses the world’s best scientists as they work on top-secret projects. I’ve watched every episode of this show and found it incredibly refreshing. Sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica and even Star Trek (especially DS9) keep you on the edge of your seat biting your nails, but Eureka is a fun sci-fi comedy the likes of which you have never seen. If you haven’t caught any of the previous episodes I strongly suggest you check them out on Netflix or wherever you watch backlogs if TV shows.
Warehouse 13 Season 3 – Premiers July 11th at 9PM (ET/PT)
Follow a team of agents at a top-secret facility as they work at caching a collection of mysterious objects/artifacts/relics collected by the U.S. Government. I’ve never watched the show actually, but I’m beginning to see a theme in SyFy’s show writing. We have 2 fictional shows and one reality show depicting a warehouse/mansion/facility with fantastical beings/artifacts. Again, I like Sanctuary so it’s worth a shot, at season 3 I’m regretful to have never seen the show.
Haven Season 2 – Premiers July 15th at 10PM (ET/PT)
Based loosely on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid, FBI agent Audrey Parker is looking for information on her past in a small town in Maine called Haven. During a typical case, she finds herself entangled in a situation that leads her to a mother she has never known. The show reminds me of Silent Hill 2 without pyramid head lurking around with his huge cleaver….SPOILER and the whole schizophrenia deal.
Ghost Hunters International Season 3 – Premiers July 13th at 9PM (ET/PT)
I’ve had the unfortunate displeasure of watching bits of this show during the previous seasons. It’s basically your typical jaunt through a home/building/wilderness in search of paranormal activity, all caught on film. In the case of Ghost Hunters International, the cast and crew traverse the globe in search of ghosts, ghouls & apparitions. As you can tell by now I’m very weary of metaphysical ideology and shows about such. However, if you’re into the those sort of things at the very least the “ghost hunting” team tries to take a more practical and scientific approach to their findings than other shows of the kind.
Ice Road Terror – Premiers June 11th at 9PM (ET/PT)
A deadly ice creature or Yeti of some type is dealt with by some surly truckers, good fun!
Swamp Shark – Premiers June 25th at 9PM (ET/PT)
A show Jeremy Wade from River Monsters wished was true. Mutant sharks terrorize the citizens near a Louisiana bayou.
Age of Dragons – Premiers in July
Zombie Danny Glover comes back from the grave after training Happy Gilmore how to golf to tell Herman Melville’s most popular story, Moby Dick. However, this time the single minded Whale hunter Captain Ahab is in search of new prey, Dragons!
Super Eruption – Premiers in July
This is a movie based on actual scientific possibility! A scientist and a park ranger skidaddle to stop a massive volcano from erupting under the magical Yellowstone Park.
What do you think of the upcoming Syfy show lineup? Let us know in the comments!Read More
Deciding which sitcoms of the 90s were tops is no easy tasks and people’s views may differ. However, it I safe to say that most such lists probably include the following shows:
1. Friends: 1994-2004
Not only has Friends created a large fan base across the globe, it made megastars of its main players. This sitcom debuted in 1994 and no one knew just how big it would become. When Friends made its final curtain call in 2004, many fans wept, it was like saying goodbye to best friends.
2. Seinfeld : 1990-1998
Jerry Seinfeld and his gang provided years of laughter as they did… well, nothing. The sitcom is still enormously popular in syndication. Seinfeld makes every list of great sitcoms over the last two or three decades.
3. The Simpsons: 1989 to present
Talk about standing the test of time. This popular sitcom is still puling fans in 21 years after it first premiered. The show follows the misadventures of the eponymous clan, and it has spawned numerous catchphrases during its phenomenal run..
4. Frasier: 1993-2004
As cerebral as it was bitingly funny, Frasier has gone down in history as one of the most successful spinoffs ever. It won 37 Emmys, with five of them being taken home by the show’s star Kelsey Grammer. Devoted fans watched his character navigate the dating minefield while juggling all his other personal relationships.
5. Roseanne: 1988 – 1997
This show redefined the sitcom as we know it, and made an unlikely star of its lead Roseanne Barr. She garnered as much attention as the show itself for better or for worse. At any rate it brought new focus to the role of women in Hollywood.
6. Coach: 1989-1997
Craig T. Nelson made his chauvinistic character surprisingly loveable. As the coach of a university football team he frequently locked horns with just about everyone. The show also benefited from the sometimes complicated relationships with the women in his life.
7. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air: 1990-1996
Will Smith probably owes his current superstardom to his work on this show. The show revolved around a teenager uprooted from his rough Philadelphia neighborhood and moved to Bel-Air. Will could smooth talk the ladies, but never had much luck with his Uncle Phil, head of the Banks clan.
8. Home Improvement: 1991-1998
This show was appealing on many levels. Tim Allen played Tim Taylor, an accident prone star of a home improvement TV show. His constant desire to fix household appliances frequently had him at odds with his wife, played magnificently by Patricia Richardson. Its success rested largely on the fact that it was a show that many families could relate to.
9. Married with Children: 1987-1997
If ever there was a dysfunctional family, the Bundy clan was it. The dad Al Bundy could never be considered a winner. To top it off he had to deal with a wife who never lifted a finger, and kids who were less than stellar performers. On a side note this show helped usher in the era of controversial sitcoms.
10. 3rd Rock from the Sun: 1996-2001
This family of aliens came to earth to observe human behavior. The group adopted human looks to blend in as they learned the ins and outs of being human. This show was anything but typical as even the most mundane situations were successfully mined for laughs.
There are quite a few other sitcoms of the 90s that could easily have made the list, and may well be on other top ten lists. These include The Drew Carey Show, NewsRadio and Everybody Loves Raymond. To many TV watchers, the 1990s had some of the classic sitcoms that will live on from generation to generation.Read More