“Falling Skies” isn’t “Battlestar Galactica.” The first season often got too bogged down with the characters’ personal problems, at the expense of the battle to save what’s left of the human race. After invading aliens wipe out Earth’s organized military resistance and kill over 90% of the population, a loosely-organized band of guerrilla fighters called the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment (2nd Mass) is carrying on the fight and trying to protect survivors– especially the children that the aliens want to use as slaves.
The show stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, a former Boston University history professor who becomes executive officer of the 2nd Mass. Probably the most interesting character in Season 1 was John Pope (Colin Cunningham), a murderous psychopath who is the first person to figure out how to systematically kill the aliens.
The heaviest weapons available are one .50 caliber machine gun and some antitank rockets. The 2nd Mass is up against heavily armored mechanical attack drones (“mechs”) and six-legged “skitters” on the ground, plus flying saucers (of course). The counter-attack on Boston at the end of last season didn’t go very well, and ended with Tom being captured.
Tonight’s 2-hour season premiere picks up the story three months later (or nine months after the invasion began). What we’ve seen so far looks like the show is getting better this time around. Tom comes back, and hopefully we’ll find out what (if anything) he learned while he was a prisoner.
Making the protagonist a history prof turned warrior gives the series a moral compass, and a tough-minded progressive to root for. If our side is going to win, the only way will be to out-think the enemy.
There will probably be moral dilemmas along the way. Last season, some people actually cut a deal with the aliens– handing over children in exchange for a truce. But in the final analysis, it’s us or them. There is no possibility of sharing the Earth. They have another planet to go back to, presumably. This one is ours!