Falling Skies premiered some never-before-seen footage at WonderCon in San Francisco this weekend, and I was lucky enough to host the panel. We even got to check out the aliens! Skitters, as they're called, are highly intelligent, spider-like creatures who have invaded Earth.
They've destroyed civilization as we know it, taken out all communication and kidnapped most of the teenagers, fitting them with harnesses to keep them subservient. A group of resistance fighters called the 2nd Mass are battling for survival in the new Steven Spielberg-produced show.
So why should this be the alien invasion show you watch? Backstage after the panel, I got an exclusive interview with the panel members—executive producer/writer Mark Verheiden, writer Melinda Hsu Taylor and actor Drew Roy, who plays Hal, a young soldier and son of Noah Wylie's character. They gave me their top five reasons that Falling Skies is a must-see.
You actually get to see the aliens
"There is actual alien mayhem. Butt-kicking and weapons fired and explosions and action. It's really fun," said Hsu Taylor. "It's fun as an adventure show ... and you get to see them ... there is no talk of the aliens. It's just, here they are. They're attacking! It's great!"
Noah Wylie: action star
Verheiden explained, "Noah Wylie is really cool. Noah Wylie ... it's a different role for him. It's a different color for him, and yet it's so totally in his wheelhouse, too. He brings this Jimmy Stewart/Tom Hanks greatness to the show that is, I think, is going to be a revelation to people who see him only as the guy from ER."
Pay channel quality on a free station
Roy told us, "It's because of DreamWorks and TNT teaming up. You're going to think you're watching a movie. It's of the quality, and it's a TV show. And it's not HBO, so you don't have to pay for it. You just get it," he laughed.
Characters you actually want to watch
"We really worked very hard on the characters," Hsu Taylor said. "We got to know them and really wanted to embrace what their relationships were to each other in ways that made them appealing but also challenging to the audience. 'How would I act in the apocalypse? Would I be brave like that?'"
Verheiden added, "And there are surprising turns. People who seem to be one thing when we first start reveal new and different dimensions as we go on. Some of those dimensions are a big surprise. Some are sad, some are happy, but they're not the people you see in the beginning."
Wide appeal and lots of dirt
Roy said, "It brings an entire family together. A bunch of guys can watch it, a family can watch it, girls can watch it. I think anybody can watch this show."
When I mentioned the good-looking cast, he laughed.
"There are good-looking, dirty people in it." Hsu added, though they do get cleaned up a bit in episode three. "It's kind of rugged. It's a fun rugged. There's hope."
Falling Skies premieres Sunday, June 19, at 9 p.m. on TNT.