Just finished watching Falling Skies series 1, of which Steven Spielberg is executive producer. Scenario: aliens have landed on earth and decimated the human population. Human refugees organise themselves into armed groups, but they feel more like the early settlers of American history to me. The strange comparisons to the US’s past continue with the main character being a history teacher who keeps referencing various battles. What’s going on with this whole ‘learning from the past’ vibe? Well, this series seems to be some sort of metaphor for/comment upon/description of how contemporary America has lost its way. There’s a struggle for survival. The American dream is finished. What comes in its place? Well, a lot of navel gazing and saccarine emotion, that’s what. It’s a bit nauseating in the first few episodes and might put many off. The sentimental soundtrack doesn’t help. There’s also a complete lack of humour in the show (except for a character called Pope, who doesn’t get enough of a showing really), which means the whole thing just doesn’t come across as real or credible. In moments of adversity, humour (be it gallows humour, attempts to lift spirits, or reference to shared cultural tropes) is always displayed by human beings, because life is surreal or hyperreal at such times.
On the good side, the aliens are cool enough to steal the show much of the time. They are mysterious and don’t get over-exposed. It keeps the viewer going all the way to the end of the series, where there are some decent reveals. I’m glad I persevered, and wouldn’t rule out watching the second series.