This past weekend, the first of many pieces of sci-fi media with one entity at their center was released. That one entity has a name. It’s Steven Spielberg. Yet while Super 8 was fun, the first television-based Spielberg project of the next six months can be summed up in one word: amazing.

That project is the TNT drama Falling Skies.

Encompassing everything that makes up the things we expect from the Spielberg brand, like a focus on characters as opposed to events, grand scale world building, and a pinch of awesome action, Falling Skies delivers on the hopes that its advertising has created. The show, which premieres this Sunday on TNT, is a refreshing spectacle to see arrive on the small screen.

Series like Falling Skies have been attempted before, and while some succeed, most never make it past episode twelve. So it’s always surprising when it’s clear that one works not just in episode five or six, but right from the starting gun. That’s exactly the way Falling Skies plays out. From scene one, the series establishes itself as something unique, but more importantly, as something to stick with.

For those uninitiated (but without giving anything away), Falling Skies focuses on the remaining ten percent of Earth’s population nine months after a full scale alien invasion. More specifically, the soldiers and civilians of the resistance force, The Second Massachusetts. And even more specifically, Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) and his three sons Ben, Hal and Matt.

Aside from the amazing spectacle of it, the series also feels real. The show is full of real people, real emotions, real situations and real military tactics. We need food, we need to scout the armory, we need to get the… I’ve said too much already.

But I won’t keep you in the dark any longer. The big question, one that will partially determine the show’s worth is this: “Will I get to see aliens fuck shit up and get fucked up?”

The answer is a resounding, “yes.”

This show is no Walking Dead. The aliens are in full force in every episode (except one, but there is a good reason for that), but more surprising is how much of the aliens we actually see. Without giving anything way, three episodes into the series we begin to see the aliens come out from the darkness to appear clear as day in the sunlight, and they look good. Very good.

A majority of the aliens in Falling Skies aren’t CG creations (and if they are, then this show is even more revolutionary that previously suspected), they are real – created as anamotronic creatures interacting with the human actors on screen. It’s amazing how far television has come that a show like this can be pulled off, and on basic cable of all places.

The production team makes their budget work overtime, making it appears as if they have way more money than they actually do, and it’s the willingness to push boundaries like that, that make Falling Skies so great.

This preview is vague, yes, but it’s not without good reason. Falling Skies is a special kind of show. A show that everyone will be talking about, and the type of show no one wants, or should have spoiled for them. Falling Skies isn’t just sci-fi television, but television as a medium at its finest.

Falling Skies premiers Sunday, June 19th at 9pm on TNT.

Want to read more Channel Guide? Of course you do.

To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.


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