Deep space, shal­low sto­ry­line

Be sure to tune in if you’re af­ter se­ri­ous ac­tion and en­ter­tain­ment, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

SCI-FI se­ries Fall­ing Skies picks up three months af­ter last sea­son’s fi­nale, which saw heroic his­to­rian-turned­free­dom fighter Tom Ma­son (Noah Wyle, ER) wan­der into the belly of a space­ship be­long­ing to aliens who at­tacked Earth.

The two-hour sea­son two pre­miere be­gins with a friendly-fire in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Tom’s son, Ben (Con­nor Jes­sup), who was res­cued from the aliens last sea­son. Flash­backs ex­plain how Tom man­ages to re­join the hu­man re­sis­tance and in­clude his con­ver­sa­tions with an alien leader who uses an enslaved hu­man, Karen (Jessy Schram), as his mouth­piece.

The alien or­ders Tom to lead the hu­mans into a ‘‘neu­tral zone’’ that is not un­like an in­tern­ment camp, caus­ing Tom and the alien to ar­gue about hu­man his­tory.

‘‘I would be care­ful to draw too many lessons from the past, be­cause our his­tory has yet to be writ­ten,’’ Tom says.

At­tempts to draw par­al­lels to life on Earth are few and far be­tween. Fall­ing Skies con­cen­trates on the free­dom fight­ers’ ef­forts to blow up alien tech­nol­ogy.

The two-hour sea­son pre­miere ad­dresses the nag­ging ques­tion of what im­pact the aliens had on Ben in the long term. Could he still be un­der their con­trol? For that mat­ter, could Tom be com­pro­mised by the time he spent aboard the alien ship? Tom’s old­est son, Hal (Drew Roy), doesn’t think so, but trou­ble­maker John Pope (Colin Cun­ning­ham) isn’t so sure.

The sec­ond hour of the sea­son pre­miere deals with Tom’s memory loss from his time on the alien ship. ‘‘I don’t trust my­self and you shouldn’t, ei­ther,’’ Tom says, worrying that the aliens messed with his mind. Turns out they med­dled else­where.

Fall­ing Skies re­mains a dark show – vis­ually and the­mat­i­cally – with pin­pricks of bright­ness of­ten found in heart-to-heart con­ver­sa­tions Tom has with his chil­dren, who are grow­ing up in a war zone.

Fall­ing Skies is at its best when it deals

Drew Roy, Noah Wyle, Maxim Knight and Con­nor Jes­sup. with the most hu­man of sub­jects. They may be less ex­cit­ing, but th­ese scenes are more mean­ing­ful. They’re not writ­ten with sub­tlety, but at least the show makes an ef­fort, on oc­ca­sion, to be about more than blow­ing up multi-limbed alien bugs.

At its heart, Fall­ing Skies is an ac­tion show sim­i­lar to a long line of us-again­st­them se­ries. It’s not deep, mean­ing­ful TV, but it’s OK en­ter­tain­ment for fans of breezy, things-blow-up-easy pro­gram­ming.

8.35pm, Fox8.

Thurs­days,

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