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This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

2nd Mass. Effect (Grand Review: 'Falling Skies' Season 2)

I was planning to do a Grand Review of the first season of TNT’s Falling Skies, but didn’t have time. So, I’m doing the second one.


For those of you not familiar with the show, Falling Skies is a Steven Spielberg-produced alien invasion show. Or rather a post-alien invasion show. Earth has been invaded by a bunch of alien nasties, who have destroyed most of the cities and the world’s military forces. Now in occupation mode, they’ve been using children as mind-controlled slave labour among other generally nasty things.


Now humanity is not the kind of people to take this lying down and various resistance groups have sprung up. Professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), who knows a lot about military history, is the de facto second in command of the 2nd Massachusetts, a bunch of good-looking rebels out to take the fight to the enemy, primarily manifested through ‘Mechs’ (heavily-armed robots) and ‘Skitters’ (six-legged-crawlers).


The plot for S2  (mild spoilers)


Following the events of Season 1, where Mason stepped onto an enemy ship and had a chat with one of their leaders, he makes his way back to the 2nd Mass. After convincing them that he’s not turned or been infected with something nasty, he’s accepted back in.


While holed up at an aircraft hangar, a woman flies in with her light aircraft. She says that she is from the new US Government, based in Charleston. On this, the 2nd Mass heads down towards Charleston, discovering along the way that the Skitters are starting to rebel…


The good

·         There are some pretty interesting characters here, most notably shady cook and ‘Bezerker’ Pope, plus troubled past Maggie. The latter packs coolness in shades.

·         The Charleston stuff, when we actually get there is pretty interesting. I found the reactions of the locals believable and their motivations understandable. What would happen if 90%+ of the human population died by alien hands is of course a great unknowable.

·         There’s some great location dressing and CGI going on here, with the areas that the group go through looking suitably abandoned and eerie. It’s amazing what a load of leaves (which would of course be swept otherwise) can do.

·         There’s a good deal of character mortality here – a couple of the regulars buy the farm during the course of this run. This should happen in a show like this.

·         We learn a fair bit about the aliens during the course of this season and it seems from the climax that things are getting a bit more complex.


The bad

·         The middle of the season is rather dull and boring. We should have gotten to Charleston faster.

·         There is some appalling shooting going on from the aliens, especially the Mechs. Not only that, they’ve got tactical problems.

·         I only learnt the names of most of the characters here and I’ve still not gotten them off pat. If I can’t remember their names, then they aren’t memorable.

·         Some of the characters are distinctly genre blind. If the possessed lady snogs one of your guys, then give him a full proper medical!

·         The Charleston stuff isn’t perfect and gets a little heavy-handed at times.


The gross

·         One regular character ends up with his body full of alien insects, which come pouring out of his mouth. That’s a candidate for nastiest death of the year.




Good, but uneven. This has gotten a third season in the US and hopefully it will improve as the plot thickens.





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