Falling Skies

OK, here I go again… a lack of movies in my roster forces me to write about a show still airing its season. However, since I am walking away from it for cause, I don’t feel guilty. And because I expect to be lauding a different show tomorrow when I finish watching its final season, it seemed appropriate to talk about good and bad applications of the evening hours. Mine are limited and when I take back 30 min or an hour so I can do something else, it is worth noting. I’m taking back this hour.

So, why? At the risk of bad punditry, Falling Skies fell flat for me. Despite an intriguing set of mysteries and some nice twists on the alien invasion trope, it started slow and with issues. First, few female characters of strength. The show sort of recovered from that a bit, but still has dang few female soldiers and women kicking-butt. This is the end of the world folks, everyone should be fighting. The whole “I am the man and will protect the women and children” is old-school crap. Second, the lack of grey characters was just bad writing and directing. Again, they managed to get a bit away from that over the first few episodes… but not very far away. There are clear black and white hats in the cast.

Finally, and this was the unforgivable issue that drove me from the show: the characters are “willful stupid.” Or in laymen’s terms: they were written dumb so the plot could happen. Unforgivable when it happens over and over in the show. The final straw was the 4th episode where it was so clear what was going on and no one, not one person, not even the history prof who could talk ad nauseum about collaborators throughout history, quesitons the information and situation. C’mon. I’d forgive questioning and coming to the wrong conclusion, but not avoiding the obvious all together. People are scum. They’ve established this aspect of humanity with the plots and in historical reference.

I should say that the cast, mostly, is actually fairly good and committed to their roles, even when they’re written foolishly. I think the mysteries and the aliens themselves actually made me curious… just not enough to overcome the issues. The directing even seems very competant, given the material. This really comes down to the writing, in my opinion.

Time is a precious commodity and there is no reason to waste it. I’m not saying a show cannot be just silly and pointless and worth your time. Heck, look at Big Bang Theory or any number of other sitcoms. Brainless fun is as important as thoughtful discourse. We need both. But no one needs to waste time on bad writing.

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