TNT goes sci-fi ‘Skies’ soars high


Which are cooler: zombies or aliens?

“Falling Skies,” the new series from TNT makes its case for aliens.

The series starring Noah Wyle debuts Sunday. It has a lot in common with “The Walking Dead,” AMC’s smash series set in a world overrun by zombies, with one big difference: “Skies” is more family-friendly.

Both series begin in a post-apocalyptic world, although instead of an outbreak of animated corpses, an invasion of space aliens is to blame. We don’t see the apocalyptic event and gradually learn about it along with the survivors.

And like “Walking Dead,” “Falling Skies” is really about the human spirit, and and how people get along in a world where society has completely broken down.

In “Falling Skies,” bands of resistance fighters are attempting to survive after the aliens have laid waste to the world and left behind a small occupation force. Outlaw bands of humans are another menace in this new world.

Their days are spent scavenging for food, while searching for a way to reverse the horror that the world has become. Action sequences regularly arise as the rag-tag humans conduct a guerilla war on the aliens — which are divided into “skitters” who move like spiders, and Mechs, their two-legged robot righters, which look like something out of Star Wars.

“Falling Skies” revolves around a large ensemble cast lead by Wyle, who plays a history professor turned citizen-soldier, prone to citing past military battles. He’s joined by his sons, a doctor, and the ex-military leader of the their band of 100 fighters and 200 civilians.

The show is set in the area around Boston, and the parallels to the Revolutionary War are everywhere. The resistance has divided itself into militias with names that sound just like the quasi-military fighters that took on the Redcoats in 1776. Wyle is second in command of the 2nd Massachusetts regiment.

He’s also a father, and an academic — traits that lead to clashes with his regular-army leader.

“Falling Skies” bears the imprimatur of Steven Spielberg, who is executive producer of the eight-week miniseries.

The cast also includes Will Patton as commander of the 2nd Massachusetts; Anne Glass as a doctor with the troupe; and Drew Roy as the eldest son of Tom Mason (Noah Wyle’s character).

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