Executive producer Steven Spielberg has two highly-anticipated sci-fi shows scheduled to hit the small screen this summer - Fox's Terra Nova and TNT's extraterrestrial invasion series, Falling Skies.
While both of these series promise to mix character-driven drama with impressive visual F/X and action (by TV standards, at least), Falling Skies looks to be the grittier and possibly more personal of the two.
With Saving Private Ryan writer Robert Rodat handling script duties and The Pacific director Carl Franklin at the helm for the first few episodes, Falling Skies is well-positioned to capture the chaos and disarray of its war-torn setting. Falling Skies' full-length preview also indicated that there would be a human military hierarchy reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica - all the more appropriate, seeing as one of that show's executive producers (Mark Verheiden) is involved with Skies as well.
Hollywood aims to offer a similar taste of authentic battle zone chaos in next month's alien invasion pic, Battle: Los Angeles, but Falling Skies will benefit from being a serial drama, rather than a two-hour-long movie. That'll allow viewers more time to connect with Skies' protagonist, former college professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), and become invested in his quest to not only survive, but possibly reunite with his family as well.
An estranged father striving to reconnect with his children is a recurring archetype in Spielberg's work, and Falling Skies will heighten that conflict by literally separating Mason from his loved ones. The show will also feature plenty of additional personal drama, such as romance in the heat of battle, and in-fighting amongst the ranks of the human resistance.
Watch the three new TV spots for Falling Skies below:
The Falling Skies footage shown so far has only included brief hints of the multi-limbed extraterrestrials terrorizing Earth, and while it might've been better not to reveal their appearance in advance, at least their anatomical structure looks fairly unique. There are definite parallels between the look and technology of Skies' aliens and those of films like Predator and District 9, but not so much that they seem unoriginal or cliché in design. If you want to know more about the show's aliens, check out our Falling Skies cast and crew interview.
There's nothing especially unique in how Falling Skies uses an apocalyptic storyline to explore personal relationship drama (see - Independence Day, War of the Worlds), but if done right, the formula can make for a captivating experience, as The Walking Dead has already proven.
Falling Skies begins airing on TNT this June.