Flabbergasted's blog

World War Z

Republibot reviewed the 2006 novel from which this movie derives. That novel was told in oral history format, with a number of different personal and political vignettes about what happened to people in a war against zombies. It was obviously patterned after the kind of stuff Studs Terkel did with real events. That made it unique and structurally interesting.

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Falling Skies: "The Pickett Line" (Season 3, Episode 7) and "Strange Brew" (Season 3, Episode 8)

So what do you know? Just when I was about to give up all hope, along come two watchable episodes of Falling Skies. Not classic, or great, or deeply memorable. Don’t take me for an advocate at this point. But competently written and filmed, yes.

Hopefully it’s a start.

“The Pickett Line”

This episode does something neither the Espheni nor the Volm have done to date this season. It establishes actual narrative tension. And it involves mostly just humans. So, it’s like, you know, an actual story, not just a strip-mined collection of science fiction plot devices.

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Falling Skies: "Search and Recover" (Season 3, Episode 5) and "Be Silent and Come Out" (Season 3, Episode 6)

Sigh. Flaccid Skies drones on. The whole third season has turned quite strange at this point. It has characters, dialogue, things happening, etc. but it never actually feels like a story. It feels more like you’re watching outtakes from a story training course, as if someone filmed interns at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh executing various aspects of the whole story thing. This time out, I watched two whole hours and found only one or two moments that held any interest. And that was just because they had visual color compared to the normal washed out palettes of this thing.

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Falling Skies: "At All Costs" (Season 3, Episode 4)

The show still seems to be doing decent in the ratings, but from a creative standpoint, this episode felt like rock bottom. Some of it was actually funny bad.

Last week’s big cliffhanger? The attack the Espheni finally launched? It lasts all of about two minutes. The Volm shoot down five fighters in formation, a whole five from the Espheni’s ovewhelming attack, and “that’s all, folks.” In fairness, however, there were hints that more interesting carnage happened off screen. That’s an old pattern by now.

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FALLING SKIES: "Badlands" (Season 3, Episode 3)

Nice opening sequence this time. Some potentially intriguing developments wrapped in standard “humanity on the edge angst.” All in all, better than the stupid paint-by-the-cliches attack on that nuclear reactor last week, but it’s still not up to what better moments this show has had. They seem to be trying to find their conceptual footing this season.

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