What's new
  • Announcing New Ownership at Home Theater Forum. Learn More

Blu-ray Review Falling Skies: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Todd Erwin

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
8,562
Location
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin

In preparation for the premiere of Season Two on June 17th on TNT, Falling Skies: The Complete First Season arrives on Blu-ray in a two-disc set that includes all 10 episodes plus a collection of bonus features. Fans of the series will be more than happy with the set, a definite upgrade from the cable broadcasts.



Falling Skies: The Complete First Season


Studio: TNT/Warner Home Video
US BD Release Date: June 5, 2012
Original Broadcast Year: 2011
Rated: TV-14 (Violence)
Running Time: 528 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
Subtitles: English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish

Movie: 4 out of 5
2011 was a busy year for Steven Spielberg. He produced three major summer blockbusters (Super 8, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Cowboys & Aliens), launched two new television series (Falling Skies, Terra Nova), and directed two movies released just days apart in the US (The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse). While Terra Nova (a hybrid, of sorts, between Jurassic Park and Avatar for the smaller screen) was a disaster for its broadcast network, FOX, TNT had overwhelming success with Falling Skies (it was the network’s number one drama for the summer of 2011), a series that owes a great deal to War of the Worlds.

Taking place six months after aliens have attacked Earth, the series centers around an army regimen made up of civilians, named the 2nd Massachusetts, and lead by Captain Weaver (Will Patton) and history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle). Tom lost his wife and his middle son, Ben (Connor Jessup), was abducted during one of the attacks, and when he sees Ben being used as slave labor by the Skitters (six-legged aliens slightly resembling velociraptors), he is determined to free his son at any cost.  But he is also finding comfort in his loss from pediatrician Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood), who lost her husband during one of the waves of attacks.

Developed and conceived by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan), what possibly keeps the show strong is the number of executive producers who, at their core, are strong writers, such as Graham Yost (Speed), Mark Verheiden (Smallville), and Rodat. It also helps that the show is well cast. Wyle is smart and sympathetic as the scholarly father. Patton keeps enough mystery about Weaver’s past to keep him interesting. Bloodgood is the voice and caretaker of the civilians. Sarah Carter is excellent as the damaged but vengeful young woman who doesn’t mind kicking butt. And Colin Cunningham is delightfully amusing as the smarmy, not to be trusted POW who cons his way into being the head cook.

The production and sound design of the series are at a very cinematic level, something becoming more and more common for most dramatic series. The visual effects, by Zoic Studios, are top-notch for a cable series (and they should be, since they also created the effects for Fringe, Firefly, Serenity, and Zombieland).

Video: 4 out of 5
Originally broadcast in 1080i on TNT, Warner’s Blu-ray is a definite improvement.
Presented in 1080p/24 in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (despite the packaging stating 2.40:1), and compressed with the VC-1 codec, there is an extra level of detail that was missing in its broadcast counterpart. Colors are consistent, although intentionally washed out. Some may find the inherent grain and image softness to be troubling, but the series was filmed in 35mm, and much of what is seen is likely intentional to give the show a gritty look.

Audio: 4 out of 5
This is where the Blu-ray really blows the broadcast versions out of the water. Featuring a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack designed by Emmy-winner Rick Steele, the track has an impressive low-end with extended dynamic range that lends a great deal of detail that was missing in the compressed Dolby Digital 5.1 broadcast soundtrack. Dialogue is clear and intelligible, and the surrounds get a decent, if not thorough, workout. Contest code word: Skitter.  What is presented here is identical to what Steele intended on the mixing stage, as he indicated during a panel discussion held at Dolby Laboratories in Burbank late last month. A lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, encoded at 448 kbps, is included for backwards compatibility.

Special Features: 3 out of 5
Falling Skies: The Complete First Season is packaged in a stacking 2-disc Digipak with a foldover cover that fits inside an outer sleeve. I am not a big fan of this type of packaging for two reasons. First, I find them rather flimsy. Second, you must remove disc one to get to disc two. Why a standard 2-disc Blu-ray keepcase with an outer sleeve couldn’t be used is a mystery.

Disc One:
Audio Commentary for The Armory and Prisoner of War by Director and Executive Producer Greg Beeman

Disc Two:
Audio Commentary for What Hides Beneath by Actor Noah Wyle and Writer Mark Verheiden

Audio Commentary for Mutiny by Executive Producer Greg Beeman, Actor Noah Wyle, and Writer Mark Verheiden

Audio Commentary for Eight Hours by Director Greg Beeman, Actor Noah Wyle, and Writer Mark Verheiden

Falling Skies from Pencils to Print; The Dark Horse Comic Book Revealed (1080p, 16:29): This featurette (exclusive to the Blu-ray edition) takes a look at the comic book, which expands on the series.

Animating A Skitter (1080p, 4:01): This featurette is a very brief look at how they created the Skitters.

Falling Skies Panel: San Diego Comic-Con 2011 (1080p, 20:46): Highlights from the 2011 Comic-Con panel with the cast and crew.

Behind The Scenes: The Unknown (1080p, 2:44): The first of two typical EPK featurettes, this one centers on aliens and alien technology.

Behind The Scenes: The Second Mass (1080p, 3:00): The second of the EPK featurettes centers on the military tactics and leadership.

Unanswered Questions: Season 2 Sneak Peek (1080p, 1:46): A way too brief teaser for Season 2.

Overall: 4 out of 5
Fans of the series will not be disappointed with this set, and is a great primer for those that missed the first season. The Special Features are average, but the upgrades in video, and especially audio make this worthy of a purchase.

 

Adam Gregorich

Owner
Moderator
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 20, 1999
Messages
16,526
Location
The Other Washington
Real Name
Adam
We have two copies of Falling Skies on Blu-ray to give away to lucky HTF members courtesy Dolby. To enter send an email to contest 'at' hometheaterforum.com with the code word in the subject line, your user name, full name and address in the body of the email. The word can be found hidden in Todd's official HTF review above. Winners must have a US or Canadian shipping address, be over 18 and a member of HTF. The winner will be drawn at random from all emails received with the correct code word in the subject line. Contest runs through Sunday 6/9/12. Good luck!

In addition to the contest here on HTF, Dolby is running a contest where you can win a Dolby/Falling Skies survival kit complete with a portable Blu-ray disc player, Swiss Army knife and more! To be entered to win all you need to do is “Like” the Dolby and Falling Skies Facebook pages and complete a short quiz about the show. Five winners will be chosen at random out of those who answer correctly. This contest runs through 5PM PT on June 8th.
 

Adam Gregorich

Owner
Moderator
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 20, 1999
Messages
16,526
Location
The Other Washington
Real Name
Adam
Michael Graham the Sound Supervisor and Rick Steele the Sound Designer discuss the design of the sound, how they created them and the challange of designing for television:
 

DaveF

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
27,273
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
I'm so looking forward to winning this! :)

I've been wanting to watch Falling Skies since seeing previews during my NYC vacation last summer.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
27,273
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich /t/321263/falling-skies-the-complete-first-season-blu-ray-review#post_3934603
We have two copies of Falling Skies on Blu-ray to give away to lucky HTF members courtesy Dolby. To enter send an email to contest 'at' hometheaterforum.com with the code word in the subject line, your user name, full name and address in the body of the email. The word can be found hidden in Todd's official HTF review above. Winners must have a US or Canadian shipping address, be over 18 and a member of HTF. The winner will be drawn at random from all emails received with the correct code word in the subject line. Contest runs through Sunday 6/9/12. Good luck!
Who won?
 

Adam Gregorich

Owner
Moderator
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 20, 1999
Messages
16,526
Location
The Other Washington
Real Name
Adam
You! along with Doug Wallen. There was a delay as the discs were sent to the wrong place. I have them in hand and am sending them out today.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
27,273
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
Give me a PM! My address has changed from before :)

That is super awesome! I've wanted to watch since I saw ads during my NYC visit last summer! Recently moved, we've got cable, but didn't want to jump to Season 2.

Hope to watch late summer or early Fall, after we get through some Smallville.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
352,593
Messages
4,990,450
Members
143,291
Latest member
spirittoo
Recent bookmarks
0
Top