When asked what I think of TNT’s Falling Skies, I have typically described it as “good enough for a summer series.” Now, admittedly, I do damn with faint praise, and over the past few years, I have truly come to appreciate its visual effects, its particular take on the alien invasion motif, and even its oddly indestructible Mason clan more than I might often freely admit.
But now, with the series’ fifth and final season behind us, I will fully cop to my fondness for this great big sci-fi drama. You’re gone now, Falling Skies, and I’m gonna miss you.
Sadly, our relationship has been complicated by my unwillingness to pony up the dough for basic cable–meaning that I tend to stay in the dark regarding the series’ goings-on until new episodes make it onto a convenient streaming service. Thankfully, TNT (and Warner Home Video) have gotten into the habit of releasing each season on Blu-ray and DVD in short order
It is thanks to this tendency that I write this missive having at last completed my journey with the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, a ragtag group of humans, aliens, and even a handful of fighters that tread the line between both camps. So what are my thoughts on this final season?
Honestly, season five could’ve gone better, both for the embattled survivors and for us viewers. Treachery from within and nigh-omniscient forces from without–the latter in the form of the show’s trademark “But wait; there’s also this kind of alien!” twist–threatened the show on multiple fronts.
In the end, however, the remaining Earth forces, galvanized by Noah Wyle’s Tom Mason, faced off against the Espheni in an epic final showdown in DC. Unfortunately, due to season five’s tight, 10-episode arc, several core elements seemed to have coalesced in a bit too timely a manner. Without getting too spoiler-y, suffice it to say that the appearance of a veritable deus ex machina takes a bit of the tension out of the show’s final thrust.
However, if you’ve been following the exploits (and evolution) of Tom, his three sons, Dr. Glass, antihero John Pope, Cochise of the Volm, and grizzled Army Captain Dan Weaver, this fifth season does manage some delightful surprises and more than a few massive battles. Falling Skies, like AMC’s The Walking Dead, concerns itself less with the fall of human civilization than with its inevitable struggle to return, and, even with its slip-ups, this season manages to tie up those requisite loose ends.
The best thing about this home media collection is that it supplements the episodes with bonus materials like farewell featurettes and Wondercon panel footage, which ably enhances the experience. These provide a nice way to look back at the series as a whole and cap off the show’s final episodes.
Available on February 2nd, Falling Skies: The Complete Fifth Season will set you back a mere $19.99 ($24.99 if you go Blu-ray). For the superfans among you, there’s also a box set containing the whole of the show in one tidy package, but if–like me–you already own the previous seasons, this stand-alone is the last piece of the puzzle in the tale of human bravery’s enduring struggle against overwhelming odds and an otherworldly foe. Don’t miss it!