Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season
- Street Date:
- June 3rd, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Bryan Kluger
- Review Date: 1
- May 29th, 2014
- Movie Release Year:
- Warner Bros.
- 450 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
I believe TNT thought that they had one of the best television shows in history when Steven Spielberg signed on as executive producer for their alien invasion drama, 'Falling Skies'. It was a return to the alien genre for Spielberg, and the scope of the show looked large and impressive. While it's still a relatively big hit on TNT, it doesn't compare to any other shows of the same genre or similar audience. It has gained a loyal cult following over the past three seasons, and with a fourth season coming up, fans are chomping at the bit to find out what happens next.
'Falling Skies' never crosses that territory to greatness like 'The Walking Dead', 'Game of Thrones', or 'Breaking Bad' has in the past, but it definitely has its moments. In fact, 'Falling Skies' kind of plays out like 'The Walking Dead', but instead of a post apocalyptic world riddled with zombies, it's a post apocalyptic world with outer space aliens who are hell-bent on destroying the human race. If you're unfamiliar with 'Falling Skies', the show depicts the initial alien invasion that destroyed the world and only left a handful of human survivors to pick up the pieces and fight back.
Over the past two seasons, we have seen Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), lead a group of survivors, including his family minus his wife, to find food, other survivors, and fight the intruding aliens. These aliens are called Skitters amongst the humans, but are known as the Espheni. We've seen an 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' type of story arc through the past two seasons where these Espheni can attach a part of themselves to humans and control their movement, speech, and act like spies.
Meanwhile, the humans are working their way through an apocalyptic cityscape, while dodging both human and alien attacks, and trying to form some sort of government and military. Now we are at season three, and while some of the past story lines have run their course, we now have an entirely different story arc on our hands. Season three mostly deals with a new type of species of alien that has come to Earth known as the Volm. Tom and his group meet one of the Volm named Cochise, played by the talented Doug Jones, who is done fully up in makeup and latex.
It seems like the Volm are there to help the humans defeat the Espheni, but there is always a question of what will happen to the humans if both the Volm and the humans do defeat the Espheni. But it's definitely fun and interesting to finally see aliens and humans stand united to fight some other evil creature together, and Jones brings so much life and emotion to Cochise, even though you can only see an alien face and hear a monotone voice. Meanwhile, there is a mole for the Espheni inside the human resistance, one who spies, murders, and disrupts any plans that the humans have to survive.
There are a few new characters, including a scientist who keeps the electricity going and a new assistant for Tom. The writers wanted some sort of romantic angle, so they had Margaret (Sarah Carter), Karen (Jessy Schram, who is also working for the Espheni) lust and fight over Hal (Drew Roy). It is definitely one of the weaker parts of the season, as it is very anti-climatic and never pans out like it should.
Other than that, season three of 'Falling Skies' is quite good, but doesn't find it's true flow until the last four or five episodes, which are excellent. Season three definitely leaves a lot open for season four to cover with a several twists and turns along the way. 'Falling Skies' may not be the ultimate alien invasion show, but it's definitely worth watching.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Falling Skies' season three comes with a very good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The detail is very sharp and vivid throughout the season. You can make out each detail and scale on the alien's faces and body. The costumes reveal some fine stitching as well. Closeups show wrinkles, makeup blemishes and scars very nicely on the actor's faces. Even in the darker scenes, detail is very nice. The colors have been muted to show an apocalyptic mood without a ton of bright colors.
Nothing really pops off-screen with the exception of a couple of sunny days, which don't last long. Just don't expect a whole lot of reds, greens, and yellows to shine here. The contrast in some of the scenes has been messed with as well, as some of the colors seem to blend into the backgrounds at times, but it's not a major occurrence. Black levels are deep and inky and skin tones are natural and smooth for the most part. There were no compression issues or any other problems to speak of, earming this video presentation good marks.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This release comes with a great lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. It's balanced perfectly on the fronts, with some excellent directionality. This season really amps up their action scenes to epic status, so the sound effects are superb. There are great explosions, gun fire, sounds of large spaceships flying by, and alien noises that pour out of the surrounds. They are very robust and full of life.
At times, you will feel like you're smack dab in the middle of a fight with the intricate nature and other ambient noises. I even think this audio mix can compete with a big blockbuster action film. The score always adds to the mood and tone and never drowns out any of the dialogue or sound effects. The dynamic range is very wide and the LFE is excellent. Your walls will rattle from the bass this provides as well. This is a great audio presentation.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
'Second Watch' With Wil Wheaton (HD, 129 mins.) - All of the little episodes that were featured after each episode of the season where Wil Wheaton hosted interviews with the cast and crew on the show as they discussed what happened in each episode. This is very similar to what they do with 'The Walking Dead' with Chris Hardwick.
Behind The Scenes (HD, 9 mins.) - Six very small featurettes that showcase some of the sets, filming, the stunts, actors, and stunt doubles. Each one is around a minute or two, and is too short to get any real fun information.
Warrior Poet: Creating the Character and Emotion of Cochise (HD, 20 mins.) - A look at how the filmmakers created the character Cochise who was played by Doug Jones. Interviews discuss the alien's character traits and then goes into exactly how they made the character from CG to realistic effects. This was a lot of fun to watch.
Karen: The Overlord Next Door (HD, 22 mins.) - A look at the character Karen in the show, as the show's writers and creators try to dive in her psyche and tell us what makes her tick. Her character isn't that great, but this is well worth the watch.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives.
'Falling Skies' is a very good alien invasion show. It has some flaws, but its successes outweigh its failures. This season was a lot of fun, but didn't find its footing till half way through. But once it gained steam, there was no stopping it and there were some excellent episodes, only leaving us, the fans wanting more in season four, which is on its way. The video and audio are good here with a couple of fun extras. This isn't as good as 'The Walking Dead', but it's close and is worth watching and owning.
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- English SDH, French, Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
- Warrior Poet: Creating the Character and Emotion of Cochise Karen
- Karen: The Overlord Next Door
- 2nd Watch Hosted by Wil Wheaton
- Behind The Scenes
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