Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review


The moderately-entertaining TNT Sci-Fi series Falling Skies looks and sounds good, and is filled with a ton of supplements.

For any of you who made the awful mistake to watch AND stick with the first season of  TNT’s Falling Skies, my sympathies.  Predictable, full of plot holes, and chuck full of terrible dialogue, the alien invasion series lost my interest after the promising opener.  From the perfectly dolled up female leads like Moon Bloodgood – whose hair and ‘wartime make-up’ seemed out of place – to the soap-opera-like story lines, season 1 failed in almost everything it wanted to achieve.  And yet the show survived and even flourished, with millions of television viewers tuning in to see Noah Wylie and company brave their best against aliens that remind me of Robocop‘s ED-209.  Its appeal is undeniable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  As Season Two arrives on Blu-ray, we see improving but still  frustratingly bad writing that that looks and sounds better than Season One.


When we left History teacher-turned resistance leader Tom Mason (Noah Wylie, ER) he was boarding an alien ship while his commander Captain Weaver (Will Patton, Armageddon) stood dumbfounded.  Three months pass before Tom re-appears, having been dumped hundreds of mile away but not before being offered a deal to surrender.  We see this and other scenes in a series of flashbacks that show us the inside of the alien craft and some of their polticial organziation.  Unfortunately, Tom is accidentally shot by his own son Ben (Connor Jessup), who’s himself been altered by the Skitters.  As the 10-episode arc gets underway, the 2nd Massachusetts are in deep trouble, having lost many men during Tom’s absence.  All Doctor Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) can do is patch up Weaver’s men for the next rout.  But hope is on the way, when Weaver learns that other resistence cells are regrouping in Charleston.  The rest of the season is spent on the move, with the erratic John Pope (Collin Cunningham) questioning Tom’s loyalties after being with the Skitters, and other twists and turns as 2nd Mass. makes their move to safer ground.

TNT promised better stories and more action for Season 2 – we got the action all right, especially in the premiere; but, it’s the cheap dialogue and soap opera aspects of the show that still drag it down.  Wylie and Bloodgood don’t really have the chemistry to carry on a relationship, and Patton’s stiff delivery of lines doesn’t help inspire anyone to resist anything.  Believe me, I appreciate the various twists and turns which each episode seems to bring, but many of these base characters haven’t grown much over the past two seasons.  Character development has always been a problem for Falling Skies, and it’s these continued errors which cast a shadow over every other aspect of production.  Why a daughter would ever leave her father in the middle of a conflict the  is beyond me.  Call me a perfectionist, but there’s another issue that has bugged me since the series’ beginning: while I appreciate the hot women doused in dirt, why is it that oral fastidiousness is more important than survival?  Each time a female character opens their mouth, we get a glittering set of pearly whites.  There’s too much high quality surrounding creator/producer Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) for him to continue squandering his assets in the field.  And yet, the series enjoys high ratings, proving that people can look the other way.  Still, Rodat needs to continue to make character development and quality dialogue his top priorities.

Don’t get me wrong, the result isn’t totally a rout.  TNT’s CGI team from Zoic  does an impressive job, effectively wrapping the aliens and their tech within the forests and burned-out city sets.  Interior shots of the alien ships screams movie quality, proving TNT’s faith in its distopian soap opera.   Is Falling Skies worthy of Battlestar Galactica status?  Absolutely not.  It’s still too hit and miss, even though those misses are less frwquent than in season one.  From a production standpoint, Falling Skies is top notch; I only wish the cheesy dialogue and stolid characters would improve.


As in Season One, Falling Skies continues to present a mixed bag.  One minute, details are sharp with just enough grain, the next we get serious banding around lights and other bright points, such as gunfire.  The problem doesn’t arise too often, but it throws off what’s mostly a positive experience.  Dirt, sweat, and blood – the tools of any occupation series – look good here, lending a bit more to the credibility of the series.  Outdoor sets look very good as well, from burning buildings to overgrown roads.  High definition exposes any problems in set design, and luckily the team here knows that.  Alien CG, including the parasite, look very good.  TNT’s 1080p AVC transfer does suffer a bit in night scenes, appearing mostly dim and grainy, but it’s nothing that impedes your ability from enjoying alien slaughter.  Same with contrast, which could be directorial decision more than a poor transfer, so we’ll let it slide.  Finally, it appears that the aspect ratio shown on the packaging (2:4:1) is not the ratio displayed on the screen (1.78:1).  That may not be an issue for you, but be aware that the widescreen ‘bars’ are not there.  Overall, it’s still a mixed bag, but a better one that first season’s disaster.


Falling Skies boasts a sharp Dolby TrueHD lossless track that’s a vast improvement over the suspect Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks used in the satellite and cable broadcasts.  TrueHD is fighting a  losing battle against its competitor DTS-HD Master Audio, which doesn’t suffer from seamless branching  like TrueHD.  However, this series doesn’t require such capabilities, so the codec delivers terrific audio.  Every aspect of the series’ soundfield opens up, from increased separation in the front channels to the booming LFE.  The surround in particular seems more dynamic here, with true separation apparent between dialogue, environmental effects, and music.  Dialogue continues to be clear and intelligible, never requiring the Remote Game.  I’m impressed by TrueHD’s efforts here, as each episode is near reference quality.


Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season features two 50GB discs, each with a good set of supplements.  If you haven’t watched the series before, skip these features, as there are some mild spoilers.

Starting each disc only provides a stolid menu – no motion scenes from the series, just a studio image.  However, the dynamic menu can be accessed at any time during an episode.  Unfortunately, some of the navigation here, particularly in the Extras menu, are frustrating.  You cannot pull up the menu again while watching a supplement – you must press the forward button to get back to the episode, which then requires you to press Menu again to view other supplements.  Once you get back to the menu, you are presented with the following, all in HD:

Disc One

  • Audio Commentary with Noah Wylie, Co-Exeutive Producer/Director Greg Beeman, and Writer Mark Verheiden: Commentaries are available only on the episode “Worlds Apart.”  Each does a good job sharing details about the episode and the larger production
  • One Page at a Time: Writing the Second American Revolution (20:49): The good-looking EPX featuring interviews with various cast and crew members including Wylie and Aubuchon.  Each and others speak about the show’s qualities and improvements over Season One.
  • The Fan’s Perspective: Touring the set of Falling Skies (8:59): Contest winners were invited  to the set and given a tour by Connon Jessp.  The cast and crew also show up to shake hands and mingle, lending more to the show’s credibility.
  • Terry O’Quinn is Manchester (1:46): This all-too short featurette introduces us to actor Terry O’Quinn (Lost), as he shows up for the final episodes of Season Two.
  • Creating The Crawlies (1:12): fAgain, another short featurette about creating The Crawlies who descend on the hospital.  I would have preferred much more information on their genesis than what we got.
  • Designing The Spaceship (1:23): This one gets us inside the ship and Speilberg’s insights.  Watching this one really proves just how short-sighted Beeman and Rodat were in developing a suitable bible for the series.
  • Team Skitter (2:48): This one introduces us to Skitter Performer Keith Arbuthnot and Pupeteer Jeny Cassady who take us inside the Skitter suit.  The result is a sufficiently ugly and believable alien.
  • Season 2 Animated Trailer, Created by Dark Horse Comics (1:13): The Battle of Fitchberg, in which the 2nd Mass. lost many men, is the subject of this very cool (and again, all-t0o short) animated supplement.  It’s really just a advertisement for the webcomic which you can purchase from Dark Horse.

Disc Two

  • Audio Commentary on “Homecoming” by Wyle, Beeman, and Executive Producer Remi Aubuchon, and “A More Perfect Union” by Wyle, Aubuchon, and Writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddie
  • The Skitter Evolution (9:47): A nice feature on several challenges facing the CG and puppeteering teams, particularly bringing real puppets onto the set instead of the completely CG aliens depicted in Season One.  We get some nice test footage as the creature’s movements are organically created.
  • 2nd Watch – Episode 20: A more Perfect Union (30:58): Following in the footsteps of Walking Dead, Actor Wil Weaton hosts one of the ‘post-show’ interviews that aired on the Falling Skies website soon after each episode had aired  This one features most of the cast and Aubuchon.  It’s not unique, but whether you’re a fan of the show or a newcomer, you’ve probably like this.
  • Season 3 Preview (2:20): A nice introduction into Season Three, but no spoilers.
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

The set comes in a 2-disc Eco-keepcase with a non-embossed cardboard sleeve.  The case sports attractive interior artwork, along with a two-page color booklet with summaries.


A vastly superior effort that actually gets better as the season rolls along, Falling Skies is developing a good body of work that must have an end game.  Listening to Aubuchon and others, it’s clear they have no larger plan for the show beyond the current season.  That’s too bad, as it might help to keep the sometimes cheesy dialogue from cropping up at too many points.  However, the home release is pretty good, featuring descent video, excellent audio, and enjoyable supplements.  Don’t think you’re getting Battlestar Galactica out of this, but for fun alien invasion/resistance epic you could do a lot worse.  Recommended.

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About the author

Besides being an ardent burrito eater and an exceptional sleeper, Matt shares in your passion for all things movies and Blu-ray. He also loves special editions and is known to triple-dip on command.