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Falling Skies: Chicken Little was right
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
It's been said that the best horror movies come during uncertain times. That these movies act as a sort of release valve for the real-world woes around us in stories that play out at a safe distance from reality. If that's the case then I'd like to add a caveat to that statement -- if bad times make for great horror, then bad times also makes for great post-apocalyptic TV series too.
Since the economic collapse of 2008 there's been a slew of great and not so great post-apocalyptic TV series with more due out later this year like The Last Ship on TNT, The Strain on FX and The Leftovers on HBO.
But what I think is the best of the post apocalyptic TV series bunch is set to launch its fourth season this Sunday on TNT; Falling Skies.
Falling Skies is a series about aliens that have invaded the planet with mankind fighting back against a more powerful technological force.
Which, admittedly doesn't sound that unique. This ground has already been covered with everything from the 19th century book The War of the Worlds to last winter's feature film Ender's Game. But where Falling Skies is different from what's come before is that with this series the aliens invaded and mankind lost the war.
In Falling Skies, after the aliens arrived they deactivated all our tech leaving us mostly defenseless. And when we couldn't defend ourselves they rounded the adults and exterminated them, then took the all the children they could find and attached a biomechanical "harnesses" to them, turning them into slave labor while also slowly and gruesomely transforming them into the alien creatures.
With 90% of mankind dead what's left are the stragglers, those who were able to escape being rounded up long enough to band together to fight back. Some of the survivors are military like Captain Weaver (Will Patton), some are ordinary civilians like Tom Mason (Noah Wiley) and some the dregs of society like John Pope (Colin Cunningham).
But it's their desire to fight back against the "Skitters" and take back what's theirs that unites them together in a common cause.
In fact it's never all that clear as to why the aliens invaded the planet in the first place. Was it to secure some sort of raw materials? To steal away our children and turn them into slaves or some other reason? In the end it really doesn't matter. They're here and mankind really only has three choices; fight, hide or die.
And even in fighting back the human resistance knows they can't win. The alien technology was already more advanced than ours when they arrived on the Earth so we're fighting an enemy that has weapons powerful enough to level cities and robots smart enough to hunt people down while we can only shoot back with pistols and rifles. But the one thing the resistance can do is to make the occupation of the Earth so costly to the aliens that they finally decide it's not worth it to remain on the planet and decide to go home.
The third season of Falling Skies introduced a new alien species to the mix, the Volm. These aliens arrived on Earth in a centuries long war against the Skitters and the Volm have technology similar to that of the Skitters too. Meaning that the human resistance along with the Volm are finally able battle on an equal footing and are able to start driving the Skitters back.
But even with these new allies the question becomes are the Volm here to help us, or are we just a convenient pawn in their war with the Skitters? Or worse, what happens if the Volm defeat the Skitters and it turns out that they have plans for our planet as well?
It's all these kinds of questions and ties to things like the Revolutionary War and current conflict in Afghanistan that makes Falling Skies so appealing.
The fourth season of Falling Skies launches this Sunday (6/22) night on TNT. The first three seasons are available on Blu-ray and Amazon's streaming service. Visit me online at DangerousUniverse.com.