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Tag Archive: Noah Wyle


For fans of a good fantasy fix, you can hardly find a more exciting adventure and weekly romp than TNT’s The Librarians.  For four years The Librarians have continued the world of the Warehouse 13-esque, made-for TV movie series going back to 2004, made popular by star Noah Wyle (Donnie Darko, Mark Felt, Falling Skies, ER, A Few Good Men) as Librarian adventurer Flynn Carsen.  Season 4 is coming this back to TNT this Fall (and to Syfy in the UK), and will feature guest stars John Noble (The Lord of the Rings, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow, Forever) as Monsignor Vega, a Vatican bishop who is secretly the head of the Heretical Order of the Shadows bent on destroying the Library, and Rachel Nichols (Continuum, Star Trek 2009, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Conan the Barbarian) as Nicole Noone, Carsen’s original Guardian originally thought to be dead.

While you’re waiting for the TV series to return, a new monthly comic book series will provide fans with an excellent continuation.  Published by Dynamite Comics, The Librarians, Issue #1, has the look and feel of an episode of the series, complete with the great banter between the Librarians the show is known for, the quirky characters protecting an even more bizarre Library full of secrets, magic, and the rarest artifacts hidden from the rest of us in the real world.

   

In the first issue writer Will Pfeifer (Aquaman, Hellboy) and Brazilian artist Rodney Buchemi (Uncanny X-Men) take The Librarians and readers to a classic source of the strange and paranormal, TV’s In Search Of… series that starred Leonard Nimoy.  Because it’s The Librarians version of that series, this issue is not about Nimoy and the series creators per se, but it’s similar enough that fans of the series will follow all the references, and–for those that need it spelled out–the first issue is titled “In Search Of… Chapter 1.”   Carsen, Caretaker Jenkins (John Larroquette), Colonel Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and fellow Librarians Jake Stone (Christian Kane), Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), and Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim) set out to find the killer of the creator of the paranormal films, Solomon Schick, after he is murdered at a local film festival.

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Forty-five years later it’s become clear that confidential informant Deep Throat’s role in the Watergate scandal that resulted in the 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon was far less than the legend that had been built over the years.  Despite the top journalism by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein–it was really good ol’ fashioned dogged reporting and investigation that brought the White House down–it is their own account, as documented in their book All the Presidents’ Men that in fact created the mythos of the secret crusader that revealed all.  For 30 years the mystery of what Washington insider was really the pseudonymous Deep Throat was one of the biggest mysteries of modern political history, the history of journalism, and the history of modern America.  Who was the secret informant?  Many around during Watergate would never find out, including Nixon, although he had speculated it was FBI Director Mark Felt.  The world knew that Woodward and Bernstein knew the answer.  It was all the exciting stuff of a paperback suspense thriller, until Felt admitted in 2005 that he was, indeed, the informant.

Yes, the title violates the “don’t make it so damned long” rule of titling a great movie, but since we’ve known the secret persona of Mark Felt for twelve years, it’s really been only a matter of time until we’d get to see Watergate from a new angle.  Mark Felt:  The Man Who Brought Down the White House, from Sony Pictures Classics, looks like an interesting enough thriller, but can it possibly have what made the four-time Oscar winner All the Presidents’ Men such a benchmark in the history of film?  All the President’s Men was exciting despite the audience knowing the ending.  Now the audience even knows the key secret of the story, so it will be up to a compelling story for this new account to succeed, and a great cast.

Director Peter Landesman has assembled an impressive cast.  Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Taken, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Batman Begins, The Chronicles of Narnia) plays Felt.  Diane Lane (The Outsiders, Judge Dredd, Man of Steel) plays his wife.  Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Paycheck) is White House counsel to Nixon, John Dean.  Julian Morris (New Girl, 24, Valkyrie) is Bob Woodward.  Tom Sizemore (Twin Peaks, Striking Distance, China Beach) plays an FBI agent, and CIA agents are played by Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, Super 8, Thirteen Days, Knots Landing) and Eddie Marsan (Atomic Blonde, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Morrell, The World’s End, Sherlock Holmes, V for Vendetta).  Noah Wyle (Donnie Darko, The Librarians, A Few Good Men) plays Department of Justice official Stan Pottinger.  Pat Gray, acting FBI Director at the time of the break-in at Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex, is played by notable genre tough guy actor Martin Csokas (The Lord of the Rings, The Equalizer, The Amazing Spider-man 2, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Alice in Wonderland, Aeon Flux, Timeline, Xena: Warrior Princess).  Also look for Josh Lucas (Hulk, A Beautiful Mind) and Kate Walsh (The Drew Carey Show, Scary Movie 5).

Here is a preview for Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House:

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Our borg.com Best of 2016 list continues today with the best in television.  If you missed it, check out our review of the Top Picks and Best Movies of 2016 here and the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2016 yesterday here.

Without further ado, this year’s Best in Television:

Best Borg TV Series, Best TV Borg — Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz), Bruce Campbell.  We searched high and low for the year’s best TV series featuring one or more borg characters, but didn’t really need to go that far.  The brilliantly funny pop culture ace actor Bruce Campbell’s reboot of the borg.com Hall of Famer Ash could have gotten overlooked had it been just another horror series.  Yet underneath this over-the-top, blood and gore-filled demon hunt is a whole lot of silly fun.  And the actors could have been better, with the likes of Lee Majors (pictured above), Lucy Lawless, and Ted Raimi all making appearances.  We couldn’t ask for a better actor than Campbell to take our borg.com TV title this year.

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Best TV Series, Best TV Horror Series – Grimm (NBC).  The fifth season of Grimm was simply fantastic, full of gripping writing and a change-up of character roles in a way we’ve never seen before.  This season we saw the best action, twists and turns, and flat-out excitement, above every other series on television.  Pulling bits and pieces of folklore from Western and Eastern mythologies and everything in between, the writers delivered all season long.  The writing team’s best work was what they have done all along, taking the story in a direction no one could have predicted.

Stranger Things cast

Best TV Retro Series – Stranger Things (Netflix).  It’s nearly impossible to list all the influences that came together to form our pick for this year’s Best Retro Fix.  Stand By Me, Firestarter, Silver BulletStranger Things could be another coming of age Stephen King tale, but with nicely creepy John Carpenter undertones and the wonder and sci-fi of a Steven Spielberg movie.  Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, and Super 8.  Whatever it is, great performances by a lead group of kid actors, teen actors, and a few adults from filmdom’s past made for a fun season one.

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Best New TV Series, Best Re-Imagining on TV  – Wynonna Earp (Syfy).  We knew Syfy had a winner in the first episode of this year’s best new TV series, Wynonna Earp.  A great mash-up of Western, paranormal, and horror, Wynonna Earp took an American legend and made it interesting for today’s viewers.  Melanie Scrofano’s Wynonna is a classic heroine in a supernatural setting.  And her interactions with Tim Rozon’s Doc Holliday include some of the best humor on TV.  Did we mention the villains are basically zombies?  Wynonna’s got a gun–a Peacemaker–and she knows how to use it, giving us a fun, over-the-top shoot ’em up each week to look forward to.

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Best Sci-Fi SeriesThe Man in the High Castle (Amazon).  With the slow start of the first season of the series we had doubts where the show would take us for the second season this year.  But the last half of the season cinched it.  A rare look at science fiction on television that showed what could all be attained with an alternate history story, and a great adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel to boot.

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Best Animated TV Series – Star Wars Rebels (DisneyXD).  For the second year in a row, Star Wars Rebels proves that animated shows are just as compelling as big budget theatrical blockbusters.  This season we met the great villain Grand Admiral Thrawn, finally introduced to Star Wars canon.  Every episode gave fans something to be excited about, as in the episode “The Antilles Extraction,” where Sabine goes undercover as a cadet in the Empire’s elite flight academy to bring Imperial pilots over to fight for the Rebellion.  Darth Maul and Captain Rex are also standout characters.  Original trilogy voice actors, compelling visuals, and rousing music, make this one of the best series on TV.

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Best TV Superhero SeriesLuke Cage (Netflix).  Although Marvel Studios adaptations have done well at the movies, its television shows haven’t measured up so well.  Until now.  The Netflix series Marvel’s Luke Cage is full of so many elements that make it a quality series you can expect it to be a contender at next year’s Emmy Awards.  Luke Cage is completely loyal to its 1970s origin.  Carl Lucas, played by Mike Colter (reprising the role he began in Marvel’s Jessica Jones), is a man from Harlem, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit.  The writers successfully updated the story to today, for today’s viewers, and to make the story timely.  Set in a New York City neighborhood with a gritty tale like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (with Harlem swapped for Bedford Stuyvesant), the rough-and-tumble Harlem of the series encounters the same class warfare, the same friction between police and minorities, and the same political corruption that is, as once professed by the original Law and Order series, “ripped from the headlines.”  It is at once a mix of the M. Night Shyamalan hooded superhero played by Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, and an updated mobster town story.

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Best TV Fantasy SeriesThe Librarians (TNT).  The Librarians continued its great mix of fantasy and comedy this year with its excellent ensemble cast.  The chemistry of the show’s characters continue to gel, resulting in a fully realized series in the vein of past hits Warehouse 13 and Leverage.  We were excited to see great guest appearances with Sean Astin, Noah Wyle and Jane Curtin.  And we can’t get enough of Rebecca Romijn, John Larroquette, and the rest of the crew.

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Best TV Comedy – Angie Tribeca(TBS).  Angie Tribeca has the perfect setting and ensemble cast for a gritty police procedural.  But it was actually the comedy we all need.  Nothing was written for the screen in any genre this year that made us laugh like this new series.  Every now and then we need someone to try to remake Police Squad! and the sight gags here rivaled that classic.  We just hope the writers can keep the great comedic scripts coming.

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Best TV Writing Baskets (FX).  At first you might not know what to make of Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K., and Jonathan Krisel’s surreal, black comedy drama Baskets.  How down in the dumps can a rodeo clown possibly get?  And was that really comedian Louie Anderson playing his mother?  Galifianakis was able to play two competing roles as the twin brothers, and Martha Kelly added yet another odd wanderer into the mix to somehow result in a crazy, funny, and strangely poignant series we couldn’t help getting addicted to.

Grimm crew

Best TV Episode – Grimm Season 5 finale “Beginning of the End” (NBC).  Season 5’s finale of Grimm barreled ahead as if the producers believed the show wasn’t going to get renewed, prompting many story threads to be tied-up and a satisfying wrap-up that leaves viewers excited for Season 6.  It’s Black Claw, who caused Sean Renard to rise to become mayor of the city, against Nick and his friends as they work with Eve, Trubel, and Hadrian’s Wall to try to prevent the coming evil that risks the destruction of the barrier between the supernatural and the rest of the world.  Incredibly after all the back and forth over five seasons the original villains are villains again and the good guys back together again.  The season finale left us wondering how this will all play out as the series ends next season.

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Best TV Soundtrack Stranger Things, Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon.  Using 1980s analog synthesizers, the musicians created the perfect sound for a B-movie horror flick that would have fit right in back in the 1980s.  Half the credit for the series success with retro aficionados probably should go to the duo, who helped to fully immerse viewers in this familiar, but strange, look into our own childhoods.

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Best TV Actress – Tatiana Maslany in multiple roles, Orphan Black (BBC America).  In any other year Rose McIver’s weekly new character update on iZombie would have given her the win, but Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany came back this year after last season’s so-so stories to prove she has the best dramatic role on television and is well up to the task, further separating and redefining the differences between the ever-increasing number of clone sisters she portrays.  Runner-up Rose McIver as Liv Moore, iZombie (CW).

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Best TV Supporting Actress – Simone Missick as Misty Knight in Luke Cage (Netflix).  With big name actresses like Alfre Woodard and Rosario Dawson co-starring in this year’s new superhero series Luke Cage, it was Simone Missick who broke through to create one of the more interesting characters this year with police officer Misty Knight.  She believes in the justice system and is assigned to go after Luke Cage–too bad she has a past with him.  Missick plays Misty as a modern version of a Pam Grier character–she’s flawed but she’s tough and smart and we know she’ll cut through all the mess and come up on top.  Runner-up: Leanna Lapp as Gilda (iZombie).

Marvel's Luke Cage

Best TV Actor (TIE) – Mike Colter as Carl Lucas/Luke Cage in Luke Cage (Netflix).  Luke Cage is as mild-mannered as they come.  We first met him in season one of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, but in his own series Mike Colter showed how great this comic book character from the 1970s could be, and how relevant he is today.  The problem with networks dropping an entire series on us at once is that with a day long binge session we don’t get the sense of the work that goes into building a character like Cage over a full season like we’re accustomed to.  Hopefully the studio will realize how great the series is and how its lead actor can provide us with a real, gritty hero that the world needs.  We just can’t wait to see more of what Colter has in store for us next season.

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Best TV Actor (TIE) – Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Ambassador Tagomi in The Man in the High Castle (Amazon).  Tagawa has played in countless TV series and films but his role as a trade ambassador of an alternate world where Japan controls the western United States may be the most stunning work of his career.  His expressions are understated and yet the audience can read so much in his simple looks.  His character’s surprise as he maneuvered a parallel world to his own–our real world–was some of the best acting of the genre and among the best performances of the year.

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Best TV Supporting Actor (TIE) – Louie Anderson as Mrs. Baskets in Baskets(FX).  Louie Anderson has been priming us for this role for decades now.  His impersonations of relatives helped make him one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time.  Bringing him in to play to mom to Zack Galifianakis’s Chip Baskets was one of those inspired moves that doesn’t happen very often.  And the result was TV gold.

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Best TV Supporting Actor (TIE) – Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday in Wynonna Earp (Syfy).  Rozon brilliantly played the ghost of Doc Holliday this year in the new series Wynonna Earp, sporting a lazy drawl and unclear motives that make him absolutely captivating.  He was mysterious as Wynonna’s questionable love interest, an intermediary between Wynonna and the vile Revenants.  He’s a man out of his time, an anti-hero we hope to see more of next season.

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Best TV Villain – Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber, iZombie (CW)).  What kind of sick bastard throws his daughter to the wolves to become a zombie, and then laughs about it?  That’s Vaughn Du Clark, whose barbs with daughter Gilda (Leanne Lapp) provided some of the best quick-witted writing we’ve seen since Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Du Clark was the ultimate corporate villain, and we watched his rise with great interest all season long.  Runners-up: Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard, Luke Cage), The Demogorgon (Stranger Things), Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, Star Wars Rebels). 

Best YouTube Video – “Seagulls (Stop it Now),” A Bad Lip Reading of The Empire Strikes Back.  You know you haven’t seen this Fall’s funniest Star Wars fan video enough, with that catchy, goofy tune.  Go ahead, watch it one more time.

Come back tomorrow as we reveal more of the borg.com Best of 2016!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

 

Librarians cast

Do you miss Leverage and King & Maxwell?  Back in August we first announced that TNT is bringing back the world of The Librarian franchise with a new series from executive producers Dean Devlin, John Rogers and Marc Roskin.  Rebecca Romijn (X-Men), Christian Kane (Leverage, Angel), Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead, The Philanthropist) and John Kim (Neighbors, The Pacific) will star in the series as protectors of rare and supernatural treasures, with genre favorite John Larroquette (Night Court, Stripes, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) as their caretaker.

Noah Wyle (Falling Skies) serves as executive producer and returns as Flynn Carsen, the role he played in TNT’s movie trilogy.  Also reprising their roles from the movies will be comedy greats Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob) and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, 3rd Rock from the Sun).   Today TNT released a humorous new trailer for the series, previewed below after the break.  And we’re pretty sure we see Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice, Army of Darkness) in the preview.

Bruce Campbell Librarians TNT

From the TNT press materials:

The Librarians centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. This group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world. Among the artifacts housed in the Library are the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, the Judas Chalice and Excalibur, to name a few. Only a person with special skills could be responsible for collecting and protecting these artifacts, and more importantly, for preventing them from falling into the wrong hands.

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The Librarians band of misfits

The TNT Network announced it has ordered 10 episodes of The Librarians, a new television series spinning off from The Librarian movies.  Christian Kane (Leverage, Angel) and Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, King & Maxwell) are returning to TNT and will lead the cast of the new series along with Lindy Booth (Kick-ass 2, Nero Wolfe, Warehouse 13, Dawn of the Dead, Supernatural) and John Kim (Neighbors, The Pacific).  Stars of the previous stories in The Librarian universe, Noah Wyle (Falling Skies, ER), and comedy icons Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob), and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, Kate & Allie, 3rd Rock from the Sun) will reprise their roles in the new series.  Wyle will also continue in his role on TNT’s Falling Skies.

Fans of the Syfy Channel’s now defunct Warehouse 13 may find some familiarity in the world of The Librarians, as the show centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from a hidden world of magic.  The team solves mysteries, fights supernatural threats, and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world.  Among the artifacts housed in the Library are the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, the Judas Chalice and Excalibur.  As with Myka and Pete from Warehouse 13, only a person with special skills can protect these artifacts, and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

The new Librarians TNT

Along with comedy icons Newhart and Curtin, fan favorite comedic actors John Larroquette (Star Trek III, Stripes, Night Court, Deception) and Matt Frewer (Max Headroom, Orphan Black, Star Trek: TNG) will be regulars on the show.  Larroquette will play Jenkins, overseer of the Librarians, with Frewer an immortal, ancient cult leader named Dulaque.

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Review by Art Schmidt

I dig summer shows. I like the trend the last several years of having a small set of summer shows on television that are quirky, different, and give you something to do on the few (!) days you aren’t out biking, vacationing, lounging by the pool or sizzling at the beach. And few summer shows since Monk debuted have grabbed my attention the way Falling Skies did.

As for the premise of this TNT series, which ran for ten episodes through the summer, it has some promise. The series starts approximately six months after the invasion, and the aliens have already kicked a large portion of the world’s ass. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed when first learning about this, after all what’s an Earth Invasion story without the invasion part! But really, we’ve already had this past year Battle L.A. (standard alien army invasion), the newly re-spun V (standard aliens subverting human society from within), Super 8 (standard kids find aliens and save earth/it/both), and the Death Eaters invading Hogwarts (non-standard AWESOME!!!). So, I guess we’ve seen enough invading to slake that thirst for a while. Besides, the departure from the norm hinted at the potential of something new and innovative, and I bought in.

As far as standard science-fiction goes, it has several of my favorite sci-fi elements in it. Let’s go down the list, shall we?

1. Aliens Invade Earth? Check! A staple of mass-market science-fiction fare since its birth in the 1940s, this plot device comes chock-full of good, accessible dramatic elements.

– Humans being killed and persecuted? We humans can relate!

– Fighting against Earth’s military? Hey, we know someone who’s actually in that military!

– Taking over an Earth city? Hey, we ate at the Chili’s in that city once!

– Aliens blowing up famous landmarks? We know their significance and feel some emotion when they crumble (at least, we used to before ID4 and the host of movies that followed it blew up every major landmark known to man on a near-constant basis).

Irrelevant Tangent Warning: If ‘Blockbuster-Demolition-Fatigue’ isn’t already a term, then I just coined it. “What’s the matter, dude?” “Major BDF man.” “Bummer dude.” It even sounds like a mildly uncomfortable disease. Copyright 2011 🙂

BTW, you won’t get demo-fatigue from Falling Skies. If anything, there is a lack of combat and a deference for the human drama of the situation (more on that later). Just when you think there is going to be a big firefight or a confrontation with armed aliens, it doesn’t happen (like I said, more on that later). And then, when the humans argue amongst themselves, you might expect more bloodshed. But again, things are left un-resolved (Hey! I said more on that later!) Fine, Mister Bossypants.

2. Futuristic Weapons and Gizmos? Check! The alien invaders do not have hand-held weapons as we’ve come to expect; however, they have mechanical bi-pedal robots that escort them around and pack an enormous amount of firepower. They reminded me of the ED-209 from Robocop, but more sinister-looking and taller. Another departure from the norm, and after all, that’s what makes good Sci-Fi! At least, it’s a good start. The aliens also have biological devices that they use to control Earth children, as well, which the humans call ‘harnesses’, and this gives the aliens a form of telepathic control over the wearer. Oh, and one of their ‘mother ships’ landed in the middle of downtown Boston, and we’re told similar massive ships landed in most other major cities world-wide.

They serve as a base of operations for the Skitters and the airships, but what else are they for? What goes on inside? No one knows (yet)! Pretty cool stuff.

3. Space travel? Well, given that the series follows the Earth-bound human remnants who barely have working internal-combustion engine vehicles, there hasn’t been anything going on in space. Yet. However, given the cliffhanger ending (NO SPOILER) we may see some next season. ‘Nuff said.

4. Hot chicks? Check! Sorry, I meant highly intelligent, self-sufficient, alien-butt-kicking women who also happen to be attractive. Let’s face it, the guys in these things can look like average joes and they’re fine as long as they have a gun or can use a keyboard, but the gals have to be attractive. Seven-of-Nine. Number Six. Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher. Zoe and Kaylee. Starbuck. Even President Roslin (a.k.a. First Lady Whitmore) qualifies as a cougar. Admiral Cain and Kendra Shaw, Replicants Rachael and Pris; the list goes on.

Falling Skies has done its part to keep the stereotype alive, casting not two but three very nice looking young ladies in the three female lead and supporting roles.

Moon Bloodgood (Terminator: Salvation, Burn Notice) is the militia unit’s resident doctor and main love interest of our hero, Tom Mason, played by an uncomfortably-scruffy Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarian TV movies, Donnie Darko). Sarah Carter (Shark TV series, Final Destination 2) plays Maggie, the standard tough-as-nails gun-toting chick with a chip on her shoulder and a secret past. And finally Seychelle Gabriel (The Last Airbender, The Spirit) plays the young Lourdes, assistant to the (Blood)good doctor in her duties, and with a secret crush on Hal Mason, Tom Mason’s oldest son played by Drew Roy (Secretariat, Hanna Montana TV series).

Plenty of drama abounds with these characters and the male leads, which brings us to…

5. Human drama? Check, but with an asterisk. We all know that shiny space ships, flashing lasers and leather-clad women will only keep an audience’s interest for so long. There has to be something going on with the characters other than fighting and dying. And that’s where Falling Skies starts to go amiss. All of the building blocks appear to be in place for some good human drama. The aliens are kidnapping children, some of whom belong to the folks in our little band of survivors, and the aliens are turning them into slaves. There is a small militia group protecting a larger civilian group who want more freedom and better conditions; the militia leadership is keeping the best for themselves. There are good guys and there are not-so-good guys, like the aptly-named John Pope, the self-centered opportunist with the potential for a heart of gold played well by Colin Cunningham (Stargate: SG-1, Elektra) who loves nothing more than devising ways to kill the ‘cooties’, as he calls the aliens.

Irrelevant Tangent Warning: Note to the Writers: Please stop making Pope call the aliens ‘cooties’. It’s not funny or cute after the first time. It makes Pope’s character who has otherwise shown himself to be quite clever and cunning suddenly seem like a third-grade drop-out. Then again, ‘Skitters’ isn’t much better…

Then there’s the leader of the 2nd Mass, Captain Weaver played by Will Patton (Armageddon, The Postman, Remember the Titans). The character has so much of the semi-crazy my-way-or-the-highway military man in him that it makes the few times he softens up (assisting in a breech birth!) seem weird and uncomfortable.

Like all new shows, the series is trying to find its footing, figure out what works for these characters and their strange situation and what doesn’t, and where they can take things that is fascinating and new without being strange and unwatchable. And they’ve stumbled a few times, and succeeded a few more, and I’m definitely tuning in next summer to see where things go from here. But the one major issue that ran through the entire first season is that there is no real sense of danger or urgency about the characters or their activities. They talk like the aliens are bad-ass, they conquered every country and every military on the planet, but you just don’t feel any of that fear, any of that menace.

Sure, when the aliens show up they fight and run, but when there are no aliens on screen the characters almost act as if the aliens can’t show up. They aren’t on edge, and though they walk briskly from place to place they don’t seem to understand that ALIENS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE ENTIRE WORLD! That’s the one major thing that has bothered me since the second episode; the characters don’t act like they are in near-constant danger of being captured or killed. It’s as if the aliens are in the city, and the humans are in the country, and that’s just fine with everyone. The civilians, the militia, everyone; they all just seem like things are hunky-dory and they’ll go attack the aliens when they’re good and ready.

In the last episode (MINOR SPOILER ALERT!) Mason and Weaver are standing inside Boston, alone and on foot, looking up at the aliens’ mother ship / headquarters. Mason aims an RPG at one of the smaller airships and hits it; an RPG which is not heat-seeking nor remote-guided, by the way. The damaged ship crashes into the mother ship and explosions begin inside of it. Two guys, alone, standing on the street where any alien could easily pop their heads off. Attacking the larger-than-an-aircraft-carrier mother ship. With an RPG. And they only had the one rocket.

I thought for a moment I was back in 1993 playing Doom on my 486 PC. I cringed as the characters laughed, and the explosions continued for a few seconds. Thankfully, the entire structure did not come crashing to the ground, because I would have immediately put a permanent block on my DVR for anything with the term ‘Falling Skies’ in it. Luckily, the show saved itself, at least in my eyes.

And yet, the two characters continued to stand there, smiling and talking about how they gave the aliens something to remember. As they did so, I thought about how the U.S. military would have immediately dispatched Apache attack helicopters full of armed marines to trace the smoke trail of that RPG back to its source and eliminate the enemy within minutes, if not seconds. You know, the U.S. military that these aliens over-powered with their even-more-advanced technology and weapons.

The one thing Falling Skies desperately needs in its sophomore season is someone running around screaming “The Sky is Falling! The SKY is FALLING!!” I’m no chef, but the producers might try throwing a little chicken in with all of that ham.

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