If I told you that a history professor and his three young sons would form part of resistance to save human civilization, I would forgive you for saying I’m a little crazy. I would normally agree! HOWEVER, if I told you it was a series called Falling Skies, spawned from the mind of Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, 10,000BC) and a certain Steven Spielberg (do I really need to list his history!?) then maybe I seem a bit more sane (I said maybe). Set after an alien attack, it focuses on the survivors who banded together to form a unit known as the 2nd Mass, a regiment based out of Massachusetts and one of the many groups that were formed after the surprising and devastating, calculated assault by these alien creatures, to provide a chance for humankind to survive.
Led by the gritty Captain/Colonel Dan Weaver (Will Patton– Armageddon, Gone in 60 seconds), the 2nd mass bravely battle against the Espheni (pronounced Esh-fen-ni) whilst defying the odds trying to stay alive Sometimes though the unlikeliest person can be the savior. Step forward professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle – best known for his role as Dr John Carter ER), a simple father of three boys, with an extensive knowledge of military history which is put to good use during the ongoing war. Together, Weaver and Mason form a formidable yet unlikely duo, relying on each other for honesty and council, while becoming friends through these troubled times, not to mention having the unenviable task of keeping their group alive
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Amongst this band of not so merry men and women are Mason’s three boys, Hal, Ben and Matt. Now not to ruin the story for anyone who hasn’t seen any of the series so far (skip the next few lines if you don’t want to know), life isn’t exactly easy for the Mason clan. With their dad being heavily involved in the fighting, danger is never far away, which is evident when Ben is taken to become a harness kid, a way for the Eshpeni to use human children as slaves and also communicate through them. Hal is left without the use of his legs and used as a spy for the aliens at one point when they put a worm-like parasite into his head.
Now you might be thinking to yourselves ‘this sounds like every other aliens invade storyline, so why should I watch it?’
And I admit, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before in various ways. But it’s not so much the battle against alien invaders that grips you and more of the way that these people join together and become a single driving force to win back our planet. Human resilience, our ability to endure and thrive under pressure and change, these are the things that engross you in the storyline of Falling Skies, while the cgi and effects capture and ignite the senses to help to keep you coming back for more.
Now you may be more familiar seeing him in scrubs in a operating room, but Noah Wyle gives a passionate performance as Tom Mason, showing both determination, cleverness and born leadership qualities that we see more of as the story progresses, and while Weaver is the leader of the 2nd mass, it becomes obvious that Mason is as much a driving force in the battle as his friend and later becomes Weavers superior.
Patton gives a solid performance as a no nonsense soldier, who wont take sitting down from this alien race hell bent on becoming the dominate force on the Earth. Not to mention some of the characters they meet on their journey who bring a touch of humour, such as the manipulative and underhanded John Pope (who in my opinion is brilliantly played by Colin Cunningham). Add to this the bond that the Mason boys share with each other as they grow up in this war torn earth, plus the way that everyone in the 2nd mass act as a family, even if it is a dysfunctional one, you believe in their will to not just survive but also win this war.
You may wonder why I haven’t told you more about the story within Falling Skies, and there’s a reason for that and I will share. If I can consistently keep coming back after 4 seasons and take this journey, I think you can too. After all, being part of the 2nd mass is an adventure in itself!