Falling Skies: The Complete First Season DVD Review
What’s it about?
Falling Skies chronicles the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that leaves most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, survivors band together to begin the difficult task of fighting back against the aggressive aliens. Outside of Boston, history professor Tom Mason (E.R’s Noah Wyle) helps lead a small army named 2nd Massachusetts in the battle of their lives to preserve their families and what’s left of humanity. Joining Noah Wyle are Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) as Dr. Anne Glass, a pediatrician who has become the survivors’ primary physician; Will Patton (Armageddon) as Colonel Weaver, the gruff and emotionally scarred commander of the 2nd Massachusetts; and Drew Roy (The Secretariat), Tom’s oldest son who is just about to turn 18.
Running Time: Approximately 450 minutes
The 10 episodes from the first season are spread over 3 discs:
- “Live and Learn”
- “The Armoury”
- “Prisoner of War”
- “Silent Kill”
- “Sanctuary” Part 1
- “Sanctuary” Part 2
- “What Hides Beneath”
- “Eight Hours”
Audio commentaries on:
- “The Armoury” with co-executive producer and director Greg Beeman
- “Prisoner of War” with co-executive producer and director Greg Beeman
- “What Hides Beneath” with actor Noah Wyle and writer Mark Verheiden
- “Mutiny” with co-executive producer Greg Beeman, actor Noah Wyle and writer Mark Verheiden
- “Eight Hours” with co-executive producer and director Greg Beeman, actor Noah Wyle and writer Mark Verheiden
Disc 3 extras are:
- Animating a Skitter
- Falling Skies panel: San Diego Comic Con 2011
- Behind the Scenes – The Unknown
- Behind the Scenes – Second Mass
- Unanswered Questions – Season 2 Sneak Peak
Falling Skies starts fairly slow but fortunately the show picks up and realises more of its potential over the course of the first season. Anyone hoping for non-stop alien battles akin to War of the Worlds though will be disappointed. The central theme of family takes precedence over the CGI alien skirmishes and there are touches of Spielberg throughout. This means there is a tendency for the show to get a bit sentimental and cheesy at times.
Unlike, say, The Walking Dead, the post-apocalyptic setting is nowhere near as bleak and the stakes never really feel that high. Despite the alien danger the characters find themselves in, you usually know that any of the major players will pull through any scrapes.
At just 10 episodes long, the first season doesn’t have time to outstay its welcome. In fact the show gets better towards the end of the run. It’s an addictive watch and the finale cliffhanger will definitely leave you wanting more.
As for the DVD extras, there’s nothing mind blowing here in terms of supplemental material. The featurettes on the third disc are too short and throwaway to offer any kind of in depth analysis. The Comic Con panel is more humourous than informative. The five audio commentaries are the most enlightening extra and do a much better job at speaking about the challenges of making the show.