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File:Falling skies 12 noah wyle phken woroner 8363.jpg

Falling Skies is a Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television alien-invasion TV series for TNT that premiered in June of 2011.

Noah Wyle (ER) stars as Tom Mason, a former college professor who becomes the leader of a group of soldiers and civilians struggling against an occupying alien force. Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) co-stars as Anne Glass, a pediatrician who works with the survivors to help them cope with the traumatic situation.

The series also stars Drew Roy (Secretariat) as Hal and Maxim Knight as Matt, Tom's two sons; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps run the group's commissary. Will Patton (Armageddon) will play a recurring role as a fierce resistance fighter. Dale Dye and Bruce Gray are back battling alien bugs again.

Provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: At one point in episode 6, Margaret is training Anne how to use a weapon and at one point tells Anne to "slow down honey, you're not the Terminator."
  • After the End
  • Action Girl: Margaret.
  • Achilles Heel: The Skitters have no bone separating the soft palette in their mouths from their brains, which means that a blow to that area can cripple or kill them. Averted though, in that it's pointed out that if you're close enough to take advantage of this weakness, you're close enough to kill them regardless. Later it becomes actually useful as a means to make a stealth kill.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Averted in the Webcomic prequel. The characters note that the aliens have booby-trapped all the gun shops and grocery stores, but not the art stores, and muse that the aliens may not have art in their world. For some reason, none of them mention the more obvious possibility that the art stores are untouched because there's no point in booby-trapping locations of no strategic importance - the aliens may have art, but pretty pictures are not exactly a vital resource in war, so there's no reason to spend effort denying them to the enemy.
  • Alien Invasion
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted, although the aliens still use humanlike pointing and gestures, suggesting some degree of cognitive overlap. The aliens can communicate with each other and with harnessed children and mechs by means of radio frequencies. This is apparently a very low-power, short range ability, since the captive Skitter was unable to use it to call for help even when the cage was open.
    • One episode spends a fair chunk of time showing us a character attempting to communicate in various ways with a prisoner, including whether it can hear English, differentiate English syllables, understand 2D pictures, and understand 2D pictures that are abstract representations of complex 3D ideas and semi-pop-culture. Eventually the Skitter tries to use a (re)harnessed kid to communicate, but his father intervenes before they get far.
  • Anyone Can Die: With Mike dead, it seems pretty clear that none of the characters are safe from death. Or at least, the black characters.
  • Apocalypse How: Between types 1 and 2.
  • You Fail Geography Forever: Sort of obvious they never even bothered looking at a map of Massachusetts when writing or filming.
  • Battle Couple: Hal and Karen.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: Subverted. The humans didn't fire on the invaders at first because they thought they might be friendly, but they weren't or we wouldn't have a post apocalyptic tv series.
  • Betty and Veronica: Karen seem worried that Lourdes might consider herself the Betty to Karen's Veronica for Hal.
  • Big Bad: The Slenders.
  • Big No: Hal, when the the mech kills the children as a warning.
  • Black Dude Dies First: So far the only resistance member we see die was a black member of Tom's small unit.
    • And then Parker, in the bus when the mech attacked, and now Mike. Being black on this show is like wearing a Red Shirt.
  • Bottle Episode: "Mutiny", the episode before the first season finale is nothing but character development, saving up money for the CGI in the final episode.
  • Boom! Headshot!: The weakness of the Skitters.
    • And now the Mechs.
  • Brainwashed: One of the effects of of being harnessed. How long it lasts after a child is freed seems to vary (see Stockholm Syndrome.)
  • Brainwash Residue: After removal of his harness, Ben is shown compulsively exercising to an extreme degree - hundreds of pushups, hours of jumping rope. Other characters find it particularly worrisome, noting that he was far from athletic before.
    • The spikes left behind after the harnesses are removed are a literal example of this trope.
  • Broken Bird: Pretty much everyone, but especially Margaret. She had cancer when she was 16, and given a 50/50 chance to live. After the world ended and she was captured by Pope's gang, she was raped by at least two (maybe all) of them. Notable in that it made her the Action Girl.
  • Blessed with Suck: Ben can figure out the Skitters' communication frequencies... at the price of being incapacitated himself.
  • Creepy Child: The harnessed children.
    • Rick, a formerly harnessed child who still refers to his fellow humans as them...
      • Also Megan, a harnessed child who acts as the voice of the Skitters, and is slowly turning in one of them because of the harness.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The harness is removed with a high temperature cutting torch, right at where they connected to the back. There's no indication then or later that this caused any burns.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The advice John Pope gives Tom about killing Skitters in their conversation.
  • Chicken Walker: The Mechs have legs like this, but a different torso.
  • Child Soldiers: One of the main fighters is thirteen years old.
    • Later, we see some captured kids armed and used to attack Tom's unit.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Lourdes. The one truly religious person so far, and guess what religion she is.
    • Given, New England does have a large Catholic population in proportion to the rest of the country.
  • Cliff Hanger: Season 1 ends with the aliens still in power, and Tom giving himself up to them so they don't take his son.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: While the humans may not have it completely easy, the depopulated world is still rather surprisingly low on rubble or bodies.
    • It would seem the aliens focused on attacking the major cities, while the survivors are camped out in smaller towns and the countryside. It sort of makes sense they wouldn't see much debris.
  • Culture Blind: Weaver on several occasions. One example is his behavior concerning the only skitter taken prisoner and his willingness to just kill it.
  • Cultured Warrior: Tom Mason was a professor of history before the invasion.
  • Dead Little Sister: Several of the characters have kids who were harnessed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pope, Margaret, and Hal .
  • Deal with the Devil: Clayton.
  • Delivery Guy: When Anne tells Weaver that Sarah is delivering her baby breach, Weaver suddenly reveals he's delivered a breach baby before and takes charge of the delivery.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The resistance starts using mech metal bullets.
    • Pope even mentions at one point that its like the Army using depleted uranium.
  • Downer Beginning: With a small child describing how most of mankind was wiped out.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Pope may be a total bastard, but even he's disgusted by Clayton handing kids over to the Skitters.
  • Everything's Better with Motorcycles: The main way the 2nd Mass scouts get around the countryside. Especially after finding an abandoned motorcycle dealership.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: The Skitters. (Or maybe not...)
  • Eureka Moment: Matt seems to be the catalyst for a number these, including the discovery that the skitters communicate by radio waves and Pope's realization that the metal used in mech armor could be used to make armor-piercing bullets.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: What some of the adults think of harnessed children.
  • Final Solution: The aliens have already done a pretty good job at it as the pilot episode begins.
  • Fridge Logic: In-universe, the characters wonder why the mechs are bi-pedal when the aliens aren't.
    • They also openly wonder why an obviously technologically superior force is busy collecting scrap metal.
  • Giant Spider: The Skitters are eight-legged Insectoid Aliens.
  • Girl Next Door: Lourdes
  • Got the Whole World In My Hand: When Jimmy is being attacked by the Skitter in the school, he throws a globe at the Skitter's head. The Skitter catches it, examines it momentarily... then crushes it and tosses it aside.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: No one seems to be in charge of keeping an eye on the Skitter prisoner, allowing the writers to bring in characters to torment the thing.
    • Or in the medical area, allowing them to be easily robbed.
    • Later two people are playing chess while on guard duty, after the group has gotten solid intelligence about the aliens coming their way soon.
    • And why isn't anyone keeping a watch on Rick, who clearly showing signs of being a rather obvious mole?
    • And despite the fact that Weaver likes his new soldier with a military background, he doesn't seem to mind putting him on 24-hour guard duty when he puts Tom Mason in the boiler room, despite having a large attack to plan for.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Pope really likes to talk.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mike holds off the 7th Mass long enough for Hal to help the kids escape, but is killed by Clayton in the process.
    • Tom gives himself up to the aliens so they won't take his son again.
  • Heroic BSOD: Weaver goes through one of these after being exposed to one too many reminders of the family he's lost. He snaps out of it when he finds his wife's glasses and realizes she may still be alive.
  • Hollywood New England: It's set in Massachusetts.
  • Hopeless War: The aliens destroyed all of the military forces as they tried to fight back and almost all that's left is civilians to fight.

 Clayton: It's not about winning or losing anymore. It's about surviving.

  • Humanoid Abomination: The new aliens (dubbed by one reviewer, "Skinnies"): tall, slender, green, and apparently with tentacles for hands.
  • Idiot Ball: After making it massively clear that they don't trust Pope and are keeping a very close eye on him as he guides Tom's team to the motorcycle dealership, they send him into a back room with only Dai, who eventually turns his back on Pope while working on something.
    • No guards are posted in the medical room, despite only having one doctor and all the medications being in unlocked cabinets.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The harnessed kids used in an attack. The mechs miss nearly every time to the long period between the targeting laser showing up on the target's head and actually firing.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. The Skitters seem okay gunning down a group of children right in front of Hal.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Skitters have six legs (and two arms), and insectoid mandibles.
  • La Résistance: The humans.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Mike, in "Prisoner of War".
  • Les Collaborateurs: The survivors of the 7th Mass; in exchange for immunity for themselves and their families, they agree to hand over any other children they find to the Skitters. For the most part, it seems Clayton was the only one who was happy going along with the plan, and the others were just following his lead.
  • Little Green Men: The new aliens aren't little... but they are green.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Subverted. In "Mutiny" Tom Mason is locked up in a storeroom, the shelves lined with stuff. He never does anything with any of it.
  • Meaningful Name: The openly-Catholic girl is Lourdes.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Mechs.
  • Meta Guy: Pope seems to be leaning on the fourth wall rather frequently.

  Pope: Being the leader of a post-apocalyptic gang of outlaws has been exhausting.

  • The (Anti-) Mutiny: In "The Mutiny," Tom is arrested for confronting Captain Weaver about his drug use and erratic behavior. Other fighters free him and take his side in trying to stop Weaver. Becomes an anti-mutiny when Tom confirms his suspicions that Weaver is disobeying orders.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hal. In the Pilot, he is ShipTeased with no less than three girls.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: A subtle example - only Pope refers to Margaret as "Maggie."
  • Next Sunday AD
  • The Neidermeyer: Weaver's second in command during "The Mutiny" comes across as this.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: The intro is Matt telling a counselor about his take on the invasion complemented by his own drawings.
  • No One Gets Left Behind
  • Offscreen Teleportation: How the 2nd Mass was able to travel from the high school and take the Sanctuary before Tom and the kids were marched back. It was an unfamiliar route, and Ben had only traveled it once before himself, but they managed to not even pass the bad guys on the way and take their headquarters.
    • Possibly explained in that they were headquartered in a Ranch of some sort. If Ben could recall the name of the Ranch or even that it was a Ranch, then the 2nd Mass could probably figure out where it was and cut through the forest to get there.
  • Papa Wolf: Mike is definitely this.
  • Pet the Dog: The Skitters seem to behave this way to the harnessed children when they bed down at night with them.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The entire episode of "Mutiny" is based on this.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The alien harnesses used on children to enslave them.
  • The Quisling: Terry Clayton.
    • Rick shows signs of this.
  • Raised Catholic: Lourdes, who in nearly her first appearance mentions that she had to settle for an Episcopalian service.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: John Pope is a racist, sociopathic bastard who practically welcomed the alien invasion, as it gave him sentient beings which he could kill without the authorities batting an eyelid. His brother is all that, plus he raped Maggie shortly after their gang found her. He also expresses a desire to rape Karen. Guess which one doesn't suffer a karmic death before the credits roll?
  • Scavenger World
  • Shout-Out

 Pope: So…what were you – Blood, Crips, Slytherin?

Anthony: Actually, Mr. Pope, I was part of the biggest gang in the world. I was Boston P.D.

  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Obviously the larger system has broken down, but once they take the harnesses off the kids backs there doesn't seem to be much effort to interview them about their experiences nor offer them counseling for what was obviously a very difficult experience. Ricky is pretty much left to wander around the compound freely with a dazed expression.
    • The series starts off with the children speaking to a psychologist, but in that same episode the encampment is broken up and that psychologist must have been assigned to a different group.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Skitters.
  • Stay Frosty: Weaver, to Jimmy, after Jimmy thanks Weaver for giving him a second chance.
  • Sticky Bomb: Tom makes one to take out a mech by wrapping duct tape around a grenade.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Rick; he now talks (at least to Ben) like he's no longer human. Tom's son Ben might be, but has at least told others that he feels like he's being tugged back to the Skitters.
  • Third Person Person: Dai, when he's "high as a freaking kite".

 Weaver: Does Dai speak of himself in the third person now?

Dai: Dai does!

  • Throw-Away Guns: When Jimmy fights a Skitter one on one, he runs out of bullets and in desperation throws his gun at the Skitter. Just before the gun hits, Weaver shoots the Skitter with a shotgun.
  • Title-Only Opening
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mike, who screws up the kid retrieval mission by acting like a panicky idiot, leading to the capture of a squadmate, and the slaying of a bunch of children and then tries to make an alien speak by sticking a gun in it's mouth.
    • Harris gets within reach of the Skitter he's been taunting ever since it was captured.
    • Hal infiltrates a group of only six harnessed children (which are guarded/led by a single skitter) to save his brother. Maybe humans all look the same to the skitters, but you would at least expect them to be able to count.
    • Thank you, Rick, for telling the Skitters about all of the good guys' plans.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: For the episode "Grace", the promo immediately before it it showed the boy putting the harness back on his back. The boy doesn't actually put it on until 45 minutes through the hour-long episode.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Hal uses a variant on this idea to gain access to an alien base where children are being held captive by pretending to be harnessed.
  • Wall Crawl: The Skitters.
    • And now Rick.
  • War Was Beginning: The opening narration.
  • What Happened to the Mouse? / Angst? What Angst? : Hal's love interest Karen has been kidnapped and harnessed, and Hal.....is sad for about five minutes then completely forgets about her.
    • ...Until she shows up at that old woman's door and he nearly goes berserk trying to get to her.
  • Who's Watching the Store?: The fighters of the 2nd Mass attack the sanctuary with enough of a force to win, albeit one wonders if anyone is watching all the civilians back at the school.
    • To be fair they may have enlisted a few of those civilians for temporary guard duty because the children were at stake, but it is still not touched on.
    • The 7th Mass was down to maybe a dozen fighters. They didn't really need to send that many people to ambush them.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: More than likely one of the reasons the aliens chose to use them as a means of enslavement. They know most of the adult fighters would hesitate to attack children, and for the most part they're correct.
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