I should preface this review with a disclaimer: I typically have no interest in the sci-fi or action-adventure genres, and shows like "Falling Skies" are the reason why. They're grim and far too often, they're ridiculous.
The new TNT series takes place in a post-apocalypse Massachusetts, not long after a race of alien invaders have destroyed most of Earth's civilization. Think of a somewhat less bleak version of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and you'll have a solid frame of reference.
Those who remain must arm themselves, forage for food and run for their lives because the aliens are coming to kill the adults and capture their children. So most of the survivors band together and form a ragtag army to carry out a "retreat, regroup, return, revenge" mission against the aliens; six-legged spider-like creatures that look like extras from Men in Black. They call these invaders "skidders."
The humans include the usual casts of characters – a hard-nosed, by-the-book leader, a good-looking renegade with a chip on his shoulder (played by ER's Noah Wyle), a doctor and so on. And they face the usual dangers: The skidders are coming! We must find food! One of our people is missing! There are rogues among the remaining humans! Etc.
I can't get invested in entertainment like this because I already know what's going to happen: They're going to get into scrapes and they're going to survive because, well, they're the stars of the show. Duh. Also, I find myself asking: If these aliens were powerful enough to destroy most of the planet, why can't they seem to locate and obliterate the rest of the humans as they walk in a pack in broad daylight?
So if you can't buy into the story or the characters – and I can't – the only thing left to assess is the quality of the production. And that, actually, is pretty good. The world created here feels empty, grim and sufficiently dark. The skidders look fairly imposing, and the idea that they capture and "harness" kids – basically put an appendage on their backs – is plenty creepy. I still don't understand how they can lose firefights against humans, but never mind.