The third series opener of this Spielberg-produced alien invasion drama has the shadow of two other big-time directorial beards hanging over it as a ragtag (read: scrubbed-up, ethnically congenial, catwalk-hot) band of resistance fighters take on a swelling horde of Peter Jackson-type critters before being saved at the bitter last by the swooping intervention of a cool, renegade Han Solo figure.
It’s a derivative sequence in which third-grade special effects are sparsely doled out and the action takes place in a quarry. Apart from the directorial borrowings and the odd bit of production design, it could be something from the ’60s. Anyone who has seen an episode of ‘Star Trek’ will know that with the ‘action’ out of the way, we are now in for a whole lot of set-bound expositional yakking studded with the odd knot of internecine strife as our heroes bicker over their next move while the aliens – in budget-friendly human form – attempt to queer the pitch.
So it proves. It’s continually surprising how formulaic small-screen sci-fi is content to be: even latecomers to ‘Falling Skies’ will be able to predict every single beat of this episode within the first few minutes and map every clash of personalities. Quite how this series has got this far is at least hinted at by the sly, Spielbergian, Saturday morning serial cliffhanger, dangling a big, juicy carrot that just might tease you into episode two. Don’t be that donkey.