Space Ramblings

Tag Archives: Tv Reviews

Breaking In Pilot Review

Breaking In could be entertaining, but it echoes its star’s previous turn on Reaper too closely without the same symmetry. Once again he’s a man child whose life is hijacked by a supremely cool substitute father figure who thrusts him into an adult role playing on a next level battlefield, lusting for the girl he can’t have for some reason and forcing him to grow up at the same time. But as cool as Christian Slater is, he lacks the satanic glee that Ray Wise brought to the part in Reaper.

Breaking In tosses in too many characters, all of whom are extreme in a way that can only be lifted from studio notes. There’s too much energy in the room and none of it goes anywhere. Three co-workers, beginning with his boss, bully and humiliate Cameron. Even when his crush’s boyfriend shows up in the form of Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum, it’s more of the same.

Breaking In has to try so hard, because when you subtract the characters, it’s not original at all. This show has been made over and over again and the producers are relying on the character dynamic to pay off. There are good things about it. Christian Slater finally gets to play the character he should have been playing all along. And I would love to see the show be about him, instead of wading through another sad sack performance by Bret Harrison.

Falling Skies pilot review

Falling Skies carries obvious comparisons to The Walking Dead, but it’s both better and worse than The Walking Dead. Better because it moves at a faster pace, but worse because it’s light and predictable. The Walking Dead is overdramatic, but Falling Skies lacks drama. The Walking Dead builds a convincing world, Falling Skies doesn’t.

Falling Skies bears the hallmark of second-hand Spielberg, too many kids and too much banter. And ridiculously predictable writing. Two seconds after we meet Sarah Carter’s character, it’s obvious that she will be the one to turn on her companions. Just as it’s obvious that every time the gang breaks into a store or armory, it will be a trap.

There are things to like about the show. It tries to imagine an alien invasion in realistic military terms. The civilian population reduced to guerrillas being pushed back into the hills. But then it shoots itself in the foot by making its hero too incompetent to have any kind of status, but still insisting that he’s right and the commander is wrong.

When Wylie’s Mason insists on doing something and the commander is opposed, it’s Mason who’s right, even though he screws it up. Is it believable that in a country filled with veterans, that the best a group of 300 could do for a second in command is a guy who reads military history. It’s not. What’s worse is that Mason begins spooling out the research that the writers did to prepare for writing this show in dialogue.

The characters never amount to much, but the cast is good enough to carry through. Noah Wylie and Jessy Schram are the only ones who register positively. But even Moon Bloodgood isn’t as annoying as she usually is. What’s lacking is anything for them to do. Wylie gets the character development, but that means playing dad and talking about military history. The rest are even worse off.

On the defensive is Noah Wylie trying to act his way through the clumsy writing and mediocre direction. But there’s only so much he can do. He tries to add pauses to turn ridiculous dialogue into something weighty, but the camera is against him. When he weighs two books against each other, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea vs A Tale of Two Cities, deciding which to take along and which to leave, it should be a weighty moment. But the scene carries no more weight than if he were choosing between two types of bread in a supermarket.

Worst of all is the predictability. Every scene is obvious and done to death. There’s nothing original here. Falling Skies keeps moving and it avoids the turgidity of V, but only at the expense of being obvious. Some of the dialogue is bad, “Professor Kick Ass” is an obvious nominee, but it’s the plot that really suffers.

With better writers and direction, Falling Skies could be standout. Instead it’s weak with some promise.

Custom Avatars For Comments
%d bloggers like this: