Thursday, June 23, 2011

Falling Skies: That's All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating

by Megan S.

I've been looking forward to Steven Speilberg's  Falling Skies, the new alien invasion series on TNT, since I first saw clips of the one hour drama at this year's Wondercon.   The footage of what happens to humanity after the societies all over the globe are crippled by the invaders looked like a big budget movie, the casting was good, and  the storyline was entertaining but what I was most intrigued by was the graphic novel.

I know, I know.  I've said before that I'm not a comic book reader.  So why was I interested?

If you saw last Sunday's pilot episode, you'll know that Falling Skies begins six months after the aliens invade. We're dropped in to the story of history professor Tom Mason and his family's quest for survival and their role in the rebellion.  We aren't given much background information on anything else.  How did the resistance begin?  Why does the military leader, Porter, put such faith in Tom's tactical knowledge?  How did the family lose the middle brother, Ben, to the aliens?

This is where the graphic novel comes in.  I always get a little thrill when a TV show gives the audience a chance to solve the niggling mini-mysteries before all is revealed in future episodes.  I loved it when Lost gave nebulous clues* online the summer following the first season and I enjoyed the Nine Paths of Chloe King game for the same reason.  The Falling Skies graphic novel provides the answers to a handful of questions raised by the pilot episode, telling the story of the Masons' first six months after the invasion.

One of the neatest aspects of the 104 page comic is that it wasn't an afterthought.  Staff writer Melinda Hsu discussed the graphic novel at length during her WonderCon panel.  The former Lost writer and co-producer said the comic was written concurrently with that of the television series so the storylines would blend seamlessly.

I was surprised by how well the prequel meshed with the pilot despite the differences in the mediums.  The graphic novel goes beyond being just a resource for background information.  The comic stresses aspects of the resistance storyline that I hope we see reflected in future episodes like how Tom's military history knowledge and information gathering actually has a positive impact on the future of the rebellion (rather than just sounding like a lecture) and the hint of humor evident in this panel.

The graphic novel depicting the first six months of the Falling Skies universe is now available for purchase online and in comic book stores.  It's definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed the show.  Falling Skies airs on Sundays at 10pm on TNT.

*Specifying that any clue Lost creators doled out as nebulous was totally redundant, wasn't it?  Nothing about that show was ever clear.
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1 comment:

  1. I didn't have any idea there even was a graphic novel! Exciting!