Monday, June 20, 2011

History Man Saves the World

We watched the series premiere of "Falling Skies" last night. Beloved Spouse has been eagerly awaiting the debut of this show ever since TNT starting hyping it, back in 1994 or so. Lot of buildup to this thing, is what I'm saying. I mean, really, the series premiere could have consisted of two hours of elderly women sharing crock-pot recipes, and I would have tuned in out of sheer relief that the hype was finally over.

This is what came up when I searched for
"old women and crock pots."
WTF, Google Images?
I get that Steven Spielberg is executive-producing. That makes it a Big Deal. But the big deal to me is, who was in charge of telling Spielberg that "Earthlings band together to fight invading aliens" has been done? Like, stick-a-fork-in-it-and-call-it-a-crock-pot-chicken done? Because that particular flunky should be given a medal for successfully bullshitting Steven Spielberg, then drawn and quartered.

"Does this mean I'm fired, Mr. Spielberg?"
Anyway, Beloved Spouse was way excited about the premiere of "Falling Skies." There aren't a lot of quality sci-fi shows on TV, so each new one is cause for anticipation. In BelSpouse's mind, of course. Me, I've kept sci-fi at arm's length ever since being burned by one too many bad "Star Trek" spinoffs. (Thanks for ruining the franchise, Bakula. *shakes fist in the general direction of Scott Bakula*)

No, this does not make it better.
But I didn't say stop.
But BelSpouse planted himself in front of the TV last night, and since he was monopolizing the flat screen, Precocious Daughter and I watched, too. It's a pretty good program, actually. Shows promise. The plot is the aforementioned "Earthlings band together to fight invading aliens." No, that's the entire plot. There are these aliens, see, and they've invaded the Earth, and the humans are mounting a resistance effort to either destroy them or send them back where they came from; I'm not sure the humans have a clear plan beyond "attack them a bunch, then run away." Perhaps this will be revealed in future episodes, although I really sort of doubt it.

I thought Colin Cunningham stole the show as Pope, an outlaw who is kind of like Mad Max with a solid prep-school education. Or a post-apocalyptic Russell Brand. You get the idea. PDaughter liked Drew Roy as teenage freedom fighter Hal Mason, because she's seen him in "iCarly," "Hannah Montana," and Secretariat. It's all about audience identification, although I could have done without the 500 exclamations of "I can't believe it's Griffin!" from her direction.

BelSpouse enjoyed "Falling Skies," calling it "well-made." I love my husband, but there is a line between being disingenuous and being full of horse hockey, and he's scooted across it. I know why he likes "Falling Skies," and why he'll tune in every week to watch the ragtag band of humans stare resolutely at the green screen representing the aliens.

Here's why: The star of the show is Noah Wyle, and he plays a handsome, virile, tough, and brilliant...history professor.

Do you like my cool historian jacket?
It protects me from laser guns
and cultural revisionism. 
That's right. When he's not shooting aliens in the head or staging daring raids on armories, Tom Mason is reminiscing about blue books and tenure. And dropping references to historical events. Seriously, every five minutes he's comparing this battle to the Revolutionary War or that alien spaceship to a heavily fortified Troy. Also he's super-hot. BelSpouse has found his hero.

I tried very hard not to roll my eyes every time Tom expounded on some parallel between six-legged aliens and, say, Manifest Destiny. But they seemed to rotate in their sockets of their own accord, and of course BelSpouse picked up on it every time and shook his brass-handled walking stick at me. (Explanation: he is still relying somewhat on a cane following his recent surgery. However, the fact remains that he does own a brass-handled walking stick. Because he's a history professor, and that's how they roll. And limp.)

And naturally, Tom Mason is an expert in military history, just like a certain member of the household who shall remain nameless and really looks nothing like Noah Wyle. But don't tell him that. We both watched "Falling Skies," but we saw two different shows. I saw a well-written drama with good special effects and some nice messages about the human spirit. BelSpouse saw a show called "History Man Saves the World." (PDaughter, of course, saw a program about Griffin, who dated Carly Shay and collects Pee-Wee Babies. Look it up.)

So we'll all continue watching and enjoying the show in our own ways. But if Tom Mason starts stripping off his shirt and lobbing grenades at the aliens while name-checking Barbara Tuchman and Thucydides, I may have to duck thrown textbooks at the same time.


  1. Wasn't Professor (Indiana) Jones a History Prof? Yum.

    I only ever had one instructor - a TA, who turned my head in college. Not because he was conventionally hot - he wasn't. He had crazy hair and a gap in his front teeth.

    He was Canadian, and he was hilariously funny. Which, at 7:30 AM, is no small feat.

    Ah, Ben...

  2. Indy was an archaeology prof, but same principle. Apparently the social sciences have powers the rest of us can only admire.

  3. Thanks for the review. We have it on the DVR, but haven't watched it yet. Ever since the cruelly abrupt demise of Flash Forward, I've had trouble giving my heart and mind over to a new science-fiction television series.


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