TNT’s ‘Falling Skies’ is destined to be one of next summer’s hottest series, if only because no less than Steven Spielberg is producing the new sci-fi drama about an alien invasion.
The TNT series stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, the leader of a group of citizen soldiers who have banded together to fight the aliens, a premise that plays upon both the American Revolution and current anxieties about immigration and the second amendment. At Comic-Con, Wyle, co-star Moon Bloodgood, co-executive producer Mark Verheiden and Dreamworks TV executive Steven Franks gave a sneak preview of the ambitious saga.
‘Falling Skies’ Begins After The Invasion
Specifically, six months after the ETs decide to call Earth home. Says Verheiden, “Washington D.C. is gone, and [humans] have to figure out what to do because [the aliens] are unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They took out a lot of technology, all communications…. They killed all the military. The first step is to figure out if there a way to get back these things.”
The Aliens Have an Agenda (Of Course)
Fans need not worry the writers are making it up as they go along, says Verheiden. Adds Franks, “Don’t expect an answer in the pilot but you can be very sure that there’s actually a meaning [to the invasion]. What they’re doing is very strange.”
The Aliens Have Weapons of Mass Destruction
According to Wyle, “The aliens have the ability to target large groups of people… so large groups of 1,000 and 2,000 have been targeted for decimation. The idea of the pilot is we’ll split up into groups of 300 civilians and 100 fighters, and each of these units will take off in a different direction. We meet up later on to form some scale of larger resistance.” The extraterrestrials, however, are not the only enemy. According to Franks, “There are some people who are taking advantage of the situation. They love the chaos. It’s not just fighting against the aliens; it’s fighting against everyone.”
Spielberg Is Heavily Involved
“Steven’s all over it,” attests Wyle. “He was incredibly involved in the casting process, the shaping of the pilot script… He watched all the dailies…. He did the storyboards himself of what he wanted the reshoots to include… He’s cut all the trailers.”
‘Falling Skies’ Is Not Just For Sci-Fi Fans
Everyone insists that even people who do not normally enjoy science fiction will embrace ‘Falling Skies.’ “It certainly isn’t ‘V,’” Wyle says, referring to the ABC series. “It certainly isn’t any of the other science fiction shows I’ve seen. These aren’t morality tales cloaked in science fiction. This is dark human drama, and a lot of action. I don’t think I’ve done as much action in my entire career as I’ve done in the pilot. It’s closer to [the feature film] ‘Children of Men.’” Franks in turn deems ‘Falling Skies’ “as much of a family show as it is a science fiction show. What would you do if you never picked up a gun before but your son was in danger and your wife was killed? What would you do to protect your family? Whether you like sci-fi or not, anybody can relate to this.”
Verheiden notes that the TNT drama “is not technologically based. It’s not spaceships. There are no ray-guns. [The humans] are up against a very deadly enemy. That aspect is science fiction. But as Tom finds himself thrown into this very desperate situation, he finds not just the courage to fight back, but also hope and love.”