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The first episode of the first season starts off very cleverly, very quietly: a little boy's voice is heard in voiceover, while his drawings are shown onscreen, illustrating what he's describing - that maybe the aliens wanted to be friends, but they didn't. I consider Falling Skies to be very unusual in terms of end-of-the-worl stories, because it seems to give genuine consideration to the emotional consequences of whats happened. The drawings done by the little boy, for instance, are part of what the single doctor in the group is doing, as play therapy for traumatised children. Almost everyone has lost their whole family, so there's lots of trauma to go round, of course.
It skips over the first six months after the invasion, to the stage where survivors have grouped together to fight, but they're losing, they're in groups that are too big, and the aliens are pounding them. So the series starts with them splitting up into somewhat smaller groups, of only 300, and heading out from Boston to find safety and a stable place to start the fightback.
One thing I really like is that the central character Tom Mason (played by Noah Wyle) is a history professor, so there are many active parallels drawn between the fight against the alien invaders and the American Revolutionary War, its very powerful. There are other historical parallels drawn too - sieges in ancient history, all sorts of things.
It does seem slightly unrealistic that all of Mason's boys have survived, though his wife has died, but it does give the chance to show, increasingly as the series goes on, that 13 and 14 year olds who can fight, are given the chance to fight, thats how close the humans are to being on the losing side. As this became clear, I wondered if Mason would face any jealousy from other members of the company, because all his sons lived, and so many others have lost everything, but the story didn't go that way. I suppose it was too early.
The cast are mostly excellent. Noah Wyle has a light touch, but he isn't at all superficial, he becomes very powerful, actually. Will Patton, of course, is magnificent, no other word for it. All the cast are very good, though as the series has gone on, I've taken a bit of a dislike to Drew Roy, who plays the eldest Mason son: he doesn't really seem to act, he postures a little bit too much. Maybe its part of the role: he's supposed to have been a jock at all, after all, he just goes a bit too far with it eventually.
There's definitely the sense that no one is safe, nowhere is safe. And thats appropriate.