Those that have stuck around with TNT’s alien invasion drama Falling Skies were able to see a conclusion to the series after years of war. Noah Wyle starred as a resistance fighter in this Steven Spielberg-produced show, which has always bounced around in tone, but was fairly satisfying in execution. Now you can check out where things end with this 3-disc DVD set.
There is a lot of backstory in order to be completely caught up on every character in Falling Skies, but suffice it to say that humans have been fighting against invasion for some time now. Wyle stars as Tom Mason, a former history professor turned leader of a militia consisting of civilians and warriors alike fighting back against a group of aliens referred to as the Espheni. Tom and his family have been linked to a number of significant events involving this invasion, with this fifth season literally beginning with Tom returning from a mission to space in an effort to weaken them.
With the alien enemy weakened, this season focuses on a final run to finally stop the alien threat and reestablish the human race as the dominant beings on earth. Of course, many obstacles will get in the way of this success, including the disillusion of a main character and a run in with familiar and new faces that slow things down.
As one who watches both The Walking Dead and Falling Skies, I have always enjoyed the two for opposite reasons, which also lead to why neither or great shows. They are good shows though and the reasons come down to how simple they are in terms of a long-term theme. The Walking Dead presents some ideas, but always falls back on everyone being doomed. It is a nihilistic show that has managed to capture the attention of many. Falling Skies wears its Spielberg influence on its sleeve, as the show is driven by optimism.
In the face of all drama, characters constantly find themselves developing ideas that lead to success. The 3rd and 4th seasons were likely the best in this shows run, as they found ways to challenge that norm to a greater extent than others. As it stands though, this season was designed to end every story line and because of that, you at least get a sense of finality that seems appropriate.
Keeping that in mind, I have no doubt series creator Robert Rodat had plenty of ideas of where to take things, were this show to have more seasons, which is why this final season seems to deliver a few undercooked ideas that could have easily been fleshed out. That said, as opposed to some series that keep stories drawn out forever, Falling Skies does its best to compact everything and come out on top with a strong finale.
I personally wouldn’t say the series finale is a homerun, but it does hold onto what made the show work from the beginning and that is a big credit to both the actors and the terrific handling of effects for a show like this. Wyle managed to capture my attention throughout this show, as he played a character constantly challenged by circumstances both human and alien. An old pro like Will Patton handles his performance well and even the younger actors are largely fine, as opposed to the irritating presence of children and teenage characters on other shows.
Speaking to the effects, the mix of both practical and computer generated visuals works quite well for this TNT series. Doug Jones gets plenty of credit for inhabiting an alien suit and developing a solid character at the same time, but the various aliens, ships and other technologies often look great. It helps in creating a credible world that has been ravaged by alien warfare.
If you never caught up on Falling Skies, obviously start from the beginning, but those curious and others that have kept on top of it, this season should ideally please many. It is not perfect, but it continues doing what held the show together from the start and is consistently entertaining amidst all the war and drama taking place.
Being one of TNT’s stronger television efforts that is full of special effects, it is of no surprise that this standard definition DVD transfer is about as good as it gets. The show has muddy visuals, but it is able to mix it up enough with the environments, alien effects and facial textures to provide a solid look at what’s going on.
Each episode comes with a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track that does enough to capture the sound of every episode. As this is a show that features quite a bit of action and alien-based sequences, the time and effort that went into the series’ sound design is strong enough to once again have you enjoy the DVD quality as much as is possible.
It would have been great to hear a round of commentary tracks that go over how the series evolves and the ideas leading up to the ending, but alas, we merely get a few featurettes and a convention panel.
- Farewell to the Skies Featurettes – Brief interviews with the cast, where they discuss their series arcs.
- Cast Goodbyes – An all too brief lookback at memories of the series.
- A Look Back – Another very brief look at ending the show.
- 2015 WonderCon Panel – A good enough discussion with cast members concerning the final season.
Falling Skies is a series I was happy to stick with. It was never the best show on television, but it was a fine look at the idea of bringing an alien invasion to network television. The final season may have felt a bit abridged, but it does deliver a lot of what people enjoyed most about this show. The DVD presentation is fine as far as a standard definition set of discs is concerned. One only wishes there were more extras being offered up. Finish off the series if you haven’t already.