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TV Wasteland: Look to the Skies

Falling Skies kicks off the summer TV season

By Rob Vaux     June 12, 2011


TNT's Falling Skies enters the TV Wasteland
© TNT/Bob Trate

 

Falling Skies arrives this Sunday amid a level of anticipation unseen since… well actually, since the last batch of event sci-fi shows bombed like the Enola Gay. Buzz has slowly been building throughout the spring, but fans have been burned quite a bit on similar hype over the past few years. What makes Falling Skies any different?
 
Ultimately nothing, perhaps. But then again, something here feels like it might be up for the challenge. Perhaps it’s Steven Spielberg’s name on the credits – listed as a producer but, by the showrunners’ own admission, playing a much larger role than one might otherwise suspect. Then there’s the premise: envisioning humans as paramilitary resistance fighters in an occupied Earth following an alien invasion. That has all kinds of cool written on it… especially since a TV show allows the concept to develop in ways that a feature film wouldn’t. Early word is quite good, and while the field isn’t as bereft of competition as it might be, TNT is throwing it out against HBO’s True Blood: a sign that they have some real confidence in it. (Either that, or they’re trusting in people’s ability to operate their DVRs.) We’ll have a special advance review of the first episode later this week, and you can see for yourself this coming Sunday, June 19th at 9:00 PM EDT on TNT.
 
Monday
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s alternate reality time, as Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and Will (Robin Dunne) end up living ordinary lives in the suburbs. The series will henceforth focus on their relentless quest to find a Starbuck’s that doesn’t put too much latte in their mocha cappuccinos.
 
The Devil’s Advocate (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
If you look closely, you can actually spot flecks of Al Pacino’s spittle on the surrounding scenery.
 
Devil (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Smarty pants comments aside, The Devil’s Advocate is way better than this misbegotten M. Night Shyamalan vehicle that Shyamalan was actually too good to direct.
 
Tuesday
The Matrix (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Couldn’t they have just taken the blue pill before making the sequels?
 
Suspiria (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
One of the high points in 1970s horror comes to us, courtesy of Dario Argento and some really potent mushrooms.
 
Predator 2 (FMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Behold, the majesty that is Morton Downey Jr.!
 
The Day The Earth Stood Still (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Damn, it’s the remake. Okay, moving on…
 
Silent Hill (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
You will believe that a bad video game adaptation can vanish without a trace.
 
The Amityville Horror (Syfy, 9:00 pM EDT)
Given that the entire “based on true events” claim is total hogwash, and given that Syfy is clearly airing this just to capitalize on star Ryan Reynolds high profile this week, this is actually the best film with the word “Amityville” in the title you’re likely to find.
 
Avatar (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Blue people! On birds! Shooting down gunships! It’s SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! Oh wait, that’s right: I think it’s overrated piffle. Carry on.
 
Wednesday
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The team travels to New Mexico to examine the veracity of several supposedly haunted Indian artifacts.
 
Night of the Hunter (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Robert Mitchum has never been weirder – or better – than his turn as a would-be preacher chasing a pair of children for a stolen cache of money. 
 
The Mummy (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
There’s something to be said for delivering a fun-filled bag of popcorn with no fuss and no muss… exactly like this 1999 Brendan Fraser movie does.
 
Iron Man (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau turn the B-list Marvel superhero into an A-list attraction with this winning blockbuster from 2008.
 
Thursday
Voltron Force (NickToons, 8:30 PM EDT)
NickToons slaps a new coat of paint on the animated 80s stalwart about a group of heroic pilots and the giant ass-kicking robot they love.
 
Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
TCM stretches the boundaries of the term “classic” with this well-known but actually quite dreadful giant-chick-run-amuck movie.
 
Village of the Giants (TCM 9:30 PM EDT)
And it doesn’t get much better on TCM tonight. Do yourself a favor: wait for the MST 3K version of this to arrive on DVD. It eases the pain.
 
Seven (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
In retrospect, it would probably be better for everyone involved if we just didn’t find out what was in the box.
 
Drag Me to Hell (Cinemax, 6:45 PM EDT)
Sam Raimi proves he hasn’t lost that Evil Dead touch with this terrific little gorefest about a bank officer (Alison Lohman) targeted by a gypsy curse.
 
Vampires Suck (Cinemax, 8:30 PM EDT)
Look, I’m not saying Twilight doesn’t have it coming, but when the inevitable send-up comes from the same guys who did Meet the Spartans, we aren’t exactly moving in the right direction.
 
Predators (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
God, I love this movie. Don’t ask me why.
 
Syfy is running a marathon of American Ninja Warrior – a reality series that proves who’s the ninja-est of them all – starting at 3:00 PM EDT.
 
Friday
The Dark Knight (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
So awesome… so very, very awesome…
 
Quantum of Solace (USA, 8:30 PM EDT)
So not-nearly-as-awesome-as-it-should-have-been… but not bad…
 
Alien 3 (BBC America, 10:00 PM EDT)
Hard to believe David Fincher could rebound from this turkey as well as he did, but talent always finds a way.
 
Saturday
Outcasts (BBC America,9:00 PM EDT)
BBC America fills the slot vacated by Doctor Who with a short-running series about the trials and travails of an off-world colony in the year 2040.
 
Inception (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
Only Christopher Nolan could take this concept – a convoluted disaster waiting to happen – and turn it into another of his seemingly-endless string of modern classics.
 
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
Do not fear the crappy CGI. Rather, embrace it and—through embracing it—eliminate its power to harm. Note that former pop stars Tiffany and Debbie Gibson are not, in fact, CGI here.
 
2010: Moby Dick (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The classic novel gets a modern twist by placing a modern-day Ahab (Barry Botwick) in charge of a submarine pursuing the monster that crippled him. Also, it will suck.
 
The Return of the King (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s one of the greatest films ever… though considering its length and TNT’s penchant for commercials, don’t expect to get to bed any time before midnight.
 
Sunday
Game of Thrones (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
The first season comes to a climax with tragedy, shared visions and an attempted escape from King’s Landing. Fans can rest easy over the summer, knowing that a second season has been assured.
 
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EDT)
TNT premieres its new series from executive producer Steven Spielberg, about a Massachusetts community struggling to fight back in the wake of alien occupation. See the top of the article for more.
 
Cars (Disney, 7:00 PM EDT)
The closest thing to a weak link in the Pixar pantheon arrives before the sequel possibly eclipses it. Swell.
 
Hancock (FX, 7:00 PM EDT)
Will Smith scores a modest hit in this underrated story of a superhero who’s really kind of a dick. It reruns at 9:00 PM EDT in case you miss it the first time.
 
Troy (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
It ain’t Shakespeare, but how many summer blockbusters do you see where you aren’t sure if the right side won?
 
Transformers (TNT, 6:00 PM EDT)
Prefacing Falling Skies. For those so interested.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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lracors 6/12/2011 10:11:01 PM

Game of Thrones, Episode 9 was amazing!

Episode 10 i'm sure will leave me screaming at the screen, "DON'T MAKE ME WAIT A YEAR!!!"

Hobbs 6/13/2011 6:43:47 AM

Typical summer lineup...not much on.  At least we finally have a summer movie line up worthy of a summer movie lineup.  I haven't disliked a single movie I've seen this summer, the weakest being Super 8 thus far...but that's not hate.  As i stated in BO review I give it a C Minus.  Can't see myself ever watching it again.

muddseye 6/13/2011 6:52:19 AM

Not much for the next few weeks... then we have Eureka, Warehouse 13 and Torchwood to carry us until the Dr Who Fall run

Wiseguy 6/13/2011 7:32:05 AM

One episode left of The Killing. I love this show. As many cop shows out there and some good ones, this one has felt the most real in a long time. Most cop shows in the end end up being a small version of an action movie with unlikely twists, shootouts, embellished science via csi, escapes ands so on. This one feels real all around and has managed to keep me guessing most of the season, the cast and the characters have been terrific.

The Killing and GOT were my 2 must see at all cost shows and they're done this weekend.

I've been pretty hyped about Falling Skies so I hope it delivers.

Woke up like at 3 this morning for some reason, turned on the tv and there it was Apocalypto on IFC. I forget how much I love that movie and wasn't able to go back to sleep. That might be my fave Gibson film, just awesome all around

Hobbs 6/13/2011 10:00:32 AM

I give you credit Wise, I couldn't make it past episode 5 of the Killing.  I loved the mystery and who done it but wow, the grief stricken family angle was slowing the heck out of it.  I just couldn't take it anymore so I stopped watching it and about to weeks after that my wife stopped.  We both said we'll tune in to find out who did it but that's pretty much it.

fatpantz 6/13/2011 11:20:49 AM

Hobbs, you are really missing out.  I am so hooked on The Killing and have some of my staff watching it too.  Ep 12 was edge of the seat tv...out of this world.  Cant wait for the wrap up next week!!

On a side note, has anyone heard if AMC is doing season 2?  I know the original Dutch series Forbrydelsen has released 2 series and are working on a 3rd, but havent heard anything on the AMC front.  Also only another month until Breaking Bad returns!!

spence34 6/13/2011 1:02:06 PM

Falling Skies could be a great series.  But I have real reservations that it will turn into a soap opera waaaaa fest.  I hope they realize that in a gritty war/resistance show kids are just a plot device to give a plausabel reason for the actual characters to get meaner, harder and nastier toward the enemy.  But this is Spielberg that is involved.   My guess is at least 60% of each episode will center around irrelevant puppy love scenes and sopa opera garbage about the parents.   

 

Afterall the TV land did manage to take the new BSG from awsome to meh by the last season. 

Wiseguy 6/13/2011 3:22:59 PM

Fatpantz, funny you ask that cause I was just reading everywhere and they're all saying amc just confirmed a season 2. I think the way the show is structured as a one case per season they can't greenlight it ahead of time because it may turn some people off.

 

fatpantz 6/14/2011 12:07:08 AM

That is great news....thanks Wise!

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