TNT hasn’t traditionally been a place that springs to mind when you think “science fiction,” and when it did, the associations were mostly negative — this is the network that brutalized J. Michael Straczynski’s short-lived Babylon 5 spin-off Crusade, if you recall. That changed beginning in 2011, when the explosively monikered cable net premiered Falling Skies, the Steven Spielberg-produced alien-invasion series that enters its fourth season this June. The men and women of the 2nd Mass. have been through a lot during their long guerilla struggle against the alien occupying forces of the Espheni Overlords. From the look of the latest trailer for season four, which you can watch above, things aren’t going to be getting any easier for Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) anytime soon.
I realize it’s easy to make a good trailer out of less-than-good material, but I have to say, this is the first time I’ve actually been somewhat excited about Falling Skies since the days before it first premiered. Falling Skies has always been a show with the same problem as ABC’s Revolution: it has the makings of something special, but it far too often grazes in mediocrity, only rarely managing to find its way into greener pastures that could elevate it into more than just a semi-interesting occupant of science fiction television’s B-team. I always try to keep an optimistic outlook where I can, and there’s reason to hope Falling Skies might really hit its stride this year, as it’s adding a new showrunner: former Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick.
Eick was also EP on the BSG spin-off Caprica, a show that’s still got its passionate defenders in spite of only surviving a season. (It’d be interesting to see if Caprica would have lasted longer under the current Syfy regime, which gave second seasons to Defiance and Helix, as well as giving the greenlight to a ton of promising series in recent weeks.) Eick has promised that we’ll be finding out more about the nature and motivations of those Espheni bastards who have been causing humanity so many problems, as well as more insight into the theoretically benevolent Volm, who joined mankind in their battle against the Espheni last season. (If they’re only on our side because they think our skin would make for excellent handbags, Tom Mason is going to give them such a disappointed glare.) Also, what’s up with the blonde lady going all “Howdy pops!” on Tom? I feel an awkward family talk coming on…
Falling Skies returns to TNT on Sunday, June 22 at 10/9c.
And then there’s The Last Ship. Leaping gleefully aboard the apocalyptic bandwagon TV and film just can’t seem to get enough of, The Last Ship focuses on the crew of the naval destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James, which is fortuitously at sea when a pandemic slaughters 80% of the world’s population. Executive produced by Michael bay, He of the Holy and Sanctified Explosions, The Last Ship is based on the 1988 novel by William Brinkley (it having been written in the ’80s, the central disaster in the book was a nuclear war). The series’ cast includes Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy), Rhona Mitra (Strike Back), and Adam Baldwin (Firefly). Hank Steinberg, who has worked on Without a Trace and NBC’s intriguing but short-lived Biblical allegory Kings, is the showrunner.
The Last Ship will be paired off with Falling Skies, premiering June 22 at 9/8c.