Falling Skies: A Discussion (Spoilers)

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Falling Skies: A Discussion (Spoilers)

Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2011-06-19 06:27pm

So the much-hyped new TNT drama 'Falling Skies' is on tonight. Anyone else going to be giving it a look? I'll post my review after I see the episode.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by TOSDOC » 2011-06-19 10:23pm

So far not bad, though the first hour is a bit better than the second. Maybe its all the commercial breaks.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by TOSDOC » 2011-06-20 11:41am

Ok, the episode shaped up towards the end, there were some nice twists that I enjoyed. I went online and read the webcomic on their site (www.fallingskies.com) and it answered a lot of questions. Being a father and watching it on Father's Day, I got a kick out of the father moments in it. I would watch it again.

I'll leave the review to Captain Chewbacca, first dibs and all, but I enjoyed trying to figure the aliens' biology and motives, especially the question posed by one of the young students about the mechs' bipedalism vs the aliens' multiple limbs. Pondering that has raised some grotesque imagery for me...
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2011-06-20 03:12pm

Finally watched it, overall I thought it was pretty good. The setup sorta reminded me of one of Zor's 'RAR HIPPOTETICAL' scenario threads; What would an SDNer do if aliens invaded? The series does a great job of feeling real. The invasion is happening NOW (or rather 6 months from now) and it does seem both grand in scope and very personal and gritty.

Noah Wylie does a good everyman trying to keep his family together during the badness. I liked the glimpses of humanity (kids playing, having breakfast and school) but at the same time the show did a great job of showing HOW things would change. For example, the guy teaching biology to the kids in the camp says 'Life is beautiful and wonderful, and we have to be greatful that we can study life to kill the aliens'.

I'm sure there will be a lot of Revolutionary war references (the series is set in Boston and the main character is an American History professor) but they don't feel hammy. The aliens are VERY alien and mysterious, one of the main plot points is why they are 'harnessing' captured children with an alien parasite that allows them to control the kids for slave labor.

Overall the characters are good, though I fear the teenage son will get too angsty too fast, and he's already stuck in a quasi-love-triangle with a recon scout and the last catholic girl in Boston. I'm sure everyone's favorite character will be 'Pope', who is pretty much a copy of Sawyer from lost. Evil, selfish, educated, and with his own motivations, he describes the invasion as the 'best thing that ever happened to him' because now he gets to kill all he wants.

Should be a good series.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Darksider » 2011-06-20 03:44pm

something I found to be a bit odd, why are the basic alien troops walking around without armaments of any kind. The mechs have big honkin' space gunsTM, so we know they know how to produce ranged weapons, but the skitters waltz around completely unarmed. The skitter in the supermarket seemed to be wearing some kind of body armor, so it was probably a soldier, but they all walk around unarmed.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Zixinus » 2011-06-22 11:29am

The Civil War analogies were actually grating: it seems that the guy is one of the professors that forgot that during the Civil War, the British were busy having a war with France and France supported the rebels.

Whereas, we don't know shit about the aliens. We don't know the points of their strategy, their goals or even their names. All we know is that they are superiorly armed and, for once in TV sci-fi, were bringing out the WMDs and other massive strategic weapons on the first call.

The situation is not comparable.

Oh, and it's sad that the only biology teacher they have can't tell why aliens bothered with two-legged robots. Apparently, the idea of locomotion wasn't part of his curriculum.

Not too bad though, otherwise. I am curious as to where this will go.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Themightytom » 2011-06-22 01:28pm

Um I am pretty sure two legged aliens was a set up for a reveal that they are kidnapping kids to stick them in mech suits.

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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2011-06-23 10:13am

Or something like that.

Overall, I liked it. There were some parts that annoyed me (such as the "lol history professor" jokes, and the frequent Revolutionary War analogies), but it was overall rather entertaining. It's also nice that the skitters aren't your basic cost-saving forehead alien.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Zixinus » 2011-06-23 01:30pm

Um I am pretty sure two legged aliens was a set up for a reveal that they are kidnapping kids to stick them in mech suits.
I'm hoping that it comes to something less stupid than that.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by TheHammer » 2011-06-23 05:49pm

I just have a hard time being the premise. The whole "Aliens wiped out all the army, so now the average person has to fight". Seems incredibly pointless and hopeless, yet somehow I expect some Deus Ex Machina to allow the humans to survive.

An ongoing war with the aliens, or at least the notion that human armies were able to inflict significant damage (i.e. Battle Los Angeles), to at least give survivors a fighting chance might have captured my interest.

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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by NecronLord » 2011-06-23 07:36pm

Zixinus wrote:The Civil War analogies were actually grating: it seems that the guy is one of the professors that forgot that during the Civil War, the British were busy having a war with France and France supported the rebels.
Deduct one Internet from your stack for confusing the American Civil War and Revolution.

Perhaps he forgets this because saying 'actually yeah we're fucked, best let them kill everyone over the age of ten now.' would be rather counter-productive.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by NecronLord » 2011-06-23 07:39pm

TheHammer wrote:I just have a hard time being the premise. The whole "Aliens wiped out all the army, so now the average person has to fight". Seems incredibly pointless and hopeless
It is more implausible that a civilisation that can travel between the stars can't smack armed forces down into dust in their alpha strike than it is that ordinary people would be all the remaining resistance.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Vympel » 2011-06-23 07:53pm

The pilot was meh. I can't take the "mechs" seriously, with their goofy obvious targeting system.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Zixinus » 2011-06-24 06:02am

Deduct one Internet from your stack for confusing the American Civil War and Revolution.
Gah, sorry. I was thinking of the Revolution, I have no idea why I written Civil War instead.
Perhaps he forgets this because saying 'actually yeah we're fucked, best let them kill everyone over the age of ten now.' would be rather counter-productive.
Yeah, I get that impression that he uses the Revolution bit because it hits a pang with his troops.
Still, it's rather grating.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by weemadando » 2011-06-24 06:06am

So is it in fact the terrible Iraq War analogy that it appeared to be from the trailers?

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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by NecronLord » 2011-06-24 07:37am

weemadando wrote:So is it in fact the terrible Iraq War analogy that it appeared to be from the trailers?
I wouldn't say so, no. Nothing about it made me think of Iraq.

The aliens are very definitely out to kill or brainslug everyone, no occupation stuff here.

Certainly not as Iraqesque as BSG's New Caprica.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by TheHammer » 2011-06-24 11:52am

NecronLord wrote:
TheHammer wrote:I just have a hard time being the premise. The whole "Aliens wiped out all the army, so now the average person has to fight". Seems incredibly pointless and hopeless
It is more implausible that a civilisation that can travel between the stars can't smack armed forces down into dust in their alpha strike than it is that ordinary people would be all the remaining resistance.
What I'm saying is, if that were the case what possible hope could a resistance force of surviving humans have of defeating them? I guess I am just having "Battlefield Earth" flashbacks...

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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Themightytom » 2011-06-24 12:12pm

Zixinus wrote:
Um I am pretty sure two legged aliens was a set up for a reveal that they are kidnapping kids to stick them in mech suits.
I'm hoping that it comes to something less stupid than that.
Then you should avoid watching Skyline.

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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Ahriman238 » 2011-06-24 07:29pm

Call me contrarian, but I liked it.

The writing and acting were great, there some very human moments in there like everyone stopping to watch the kid on a two-wheeled skateboard, or everyone wanting to save Ben even though they know it's a horrendously stupid thing to try.

And as for the history lessons/revolutionary war analogies, they worked to. He's a history teacher, he'll speak in terms of what he knows. Besides, the world's governments and militaries have been soundly defeated, according to the bandito leader 90% or so of humanity is dead (not I expect accurate census data after the collapse of civilization, but I figure we can rely on him for a ballpark figure) and the few survivors scavenging for food and supplies in the ruins have more in common with refugees than soldiers and still haven o good ideas for reliably killing the invaders. In this sort of situation, you really want your people to think in terms of the underdog winning.

It also has some historical validity, smaller poorly-equipped armies can beat back superpowers by being impossible to eradicate and too expensive to keep fighting. My old history prof. used to call it the Porcupine Principle (which was even sort of referenced in-story) porcupines and skunks have some of the most tender, succulent meat in the animal kingdom since they don't really have to chase their food down or flee from predators. But even so, other animals rarely hunt porcupine and skunk, because the meat simply isn't worth the hassle of getting a nose full of needles or stink.

I do have a few quibbles, like the intelligent and sort of refined bandit leader. When he started his story about a bazooka and a ship I started an eyeroll, until he said that the ship casually dodged the bazooka round.

I live a half-hour's drive from Boston, and that shot with the alien tower looked nothing like the Boston skyline. While they clearly looked at a map of the metropolitan area, there were more than a few "What did he say?" moments, like the fictitous route 3. Also, if there's a Shop Smart in Watertown I've never seen it. There is a Super Stop & Shop, so I'll put that one down to not wanting to name a real company.

I love that the Alien's motives are a mystery so far. All anyone knows is that they put these harness-things on kids that somehow control them. They may be in trouble though, if LAW rounds just make the mechs mad, and the alien trooper shrugged off a lot of automatic fire at close ranges. A side note, where did they get all the Kalashnikovs? I know they're one of the most common weapons in the world, but they're pretty rare in the states, more so in Mass. which has pretty strict gun-control laws, by US standards.

The first airsrike from a ship seemed pretty good, the second was pretty lame, with people less than twenty meters away being uninjured.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Zixinus » 2011-06-25 08:03am

A side note, where did they get all the Kalashnikovs?
The USA makes a lot of those, not exact copies usually but something on similar design (don't ask me why). While Mass. may have more strict gun control, it is likely that the weapons got around somehow.

That, and I would guess that they wanted to save a bit on the props.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2011-06-27 04:22am

Alright, watched episode 2 tonight and it was a LOT better than the pilot.

The characters are a lot tigher, we're starting to see an actual resistance forming, and Pope continues to be hilarious. 'Certified in culinary arts' indeed.

Also, the scene with Noah Wylie and the Skitter where he takes the thing almost hand-to-hand and WINS? Awesometastic.

And maybe I missed something, but how exactly is the doctor connected to Noah Wylie? Is he a brother-in-law or something? I think they said it and I missed it.

If possible, could a mod edit the title of this to an ongoing 'Falling Skies' thread similar to the Game of Thrones in fantasy?
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by loomer » 2011-06-27 11:23am

The portrayal of alien suffering as being very real is interesting. Normally the more grotesquely alien the creature, the less they bother trying to make you feel sympathy.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by Zixinus » 2011-06-27 12:34pm

Yeah, things seem to be more focused now. I'm also glad that we dropped the civil war references and started focusing on some actual thoughts: hey, maybe to actually defeat the aliens we need to know more about them?

The "operation" was also pretty interesting to watch too. It seemed fairly logical yet I'm quite certain that there is a reason why we got an unnamed black kid instead of Adam (or whatshisname). The ending scene certainly hinted at such.

Watching the slave kids work was also interesting. Apparently, the aliens are real interested in recycling scrap metal.
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Re: Falling Skies: Pilot (1x01)

Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2011-06-27 04:44pm

I saw in a trailer for a future episode
Spoiler
They start making bullets with scavenged Meks that lets a handgun punch right through their armor.
Should be awesome.
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Re: Falling Skies: A Discussion (Spoilers)

Post by LadyTevar » 2011-06-27 09:12pm

Also, if there's a Shop Smart in Watertown I've never seen it. There is a Super Stop & Shop, so I'll put that one down to not wanting to name a real company.
Oh come ON! No one got that joke? "Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart!" Nit and I were giggling over the Bruce Campbell reference. We also got into a discussion comparing Pope to Vid-game baddies like the Khans from Fallout. Pope wants to be Caeser, but he was stuck with common Raiders.
BTW: I also expected Pope to brag about taking down a ship with the bazooka. I think it says more that the ship dodged so easily than anything else.

Now, as for the Mek's "goofy obvious targeting system", Nit and I have an idea why it's like that as well. DARPA was doing research into plasma weapons, and got a little success using a targeting laser to cut a path to the target that the plasma follows. Think of water flowing down the least resistance.
Four lasers, making a square, would not only give the plasma a path, but contain it within that path to further focus it. Plasma would also explain the overly large explosions generated by the Mek's weapon. The color change as the lasers lock on may be a simple visual cue for the pilot, or it might be a result of the lasers charging up to channel the plasma. However, because of this lock and charge, humans can dodge if they are quick enough. The lock and charge also seems to limit the time between firing, or am I the only one who noticed that the Mek needed several seconds between shots?
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