Monday, September 01, 2014

FALING SKIES: SEASON 4 EPISODE 11 & 12


THE END


episode 11 
written by: Raven Metzner
directed by: Olatunde Osuname


SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!... 'NUFF SAID



So we have come to the end.

Perhaps an author, when writing a novel, knows exactly when and where he will be wrapping up his book.  But probably it's vague and only somewhat understood.  Only as one gets close to the end does one finally see it.

Two episodes aired back-to-back tonight.  The first hour was written by Raven Metzner, and I must compliment him on the execution.  Raven was a great addition to the team this year.  He really took responsibility and solved problems very effectively as they came up.  

Raven's basic story always stayed the same from the time it came out of the writer’s room.  i.e: Tom and Lexi fly to the moon together and Lexi puts Tom into  a dream state within the cocoon.  But the nature of the dream state and what happened within it changed drastically.  In the original concept Tom was going to experience life in Boston in the normal pre-invasion world.  He was going to experience all of the key moments of life with Lexi that a father does with a daughter.  Birthdays, graduations, boyfriend breakups, and a wedding.  It was a beautiful outline – but realistically we couldn’t have pulled it off for the budget.  Since we never film in the modern world it would mean doing everything differently that we normally do it.  We would have had to find all new locations, bought all new wardrobe for every cast member – and weddings are expensive for any show. 

Once Raven grasped this, he regrouped and changed-up the concept without batting an eye.  I think the re-boot was deeper and stronger (as well as being more practical)… I loved how – in a dream that she and Tom are sharing – we get to see Lexi's vulnerability and her fears of rejection by her father.  Anyway – it was smart.  And Raven came up on set the whole time and oversaw the shoot.  His input was valuable and constructive.

Also Olatunde Osuname returned.  He was instantly well-liked by cast and crew alike after directing episode 7.  If you remember from the ep 7 blog, he is very new to TV and directing in general.  Other than some shorts and a cool feature film that he wrote, produced and directed called “THE FOURTH KIND,” he had never done any TV.  But he handled a complex episode 7 masterfully.

Originally another director was slated to do this episode, but he fell out for personal reasons.  As this became known, Noah and the rest of the cast began lobbying hard for Olatunde.  I agreed, but cold hard experinence has taught me to be cautious.  The director’s cut of episode 7 hadn’t been turned in yet – and, even though I expected it to be very good,  I delayed making the decision until I saw it.
It was good.  Olatunde was brought back for this episode and the rest is history.

I must say - I feel that episode 11 is a very well directed episode...  These kind of story-within-a-story shows are hard.  And depicting dreamworld reality and dream-time is very hard to do.  I think Olatunde did beyond a good job.  I think he did an exceptional job.

He did so many clever things within this episode that are 100% directorial.  He used two photo doubles for Scarlett Byrne to create the moments when Lexi was appearing and re-appearing around Tom.  His transitions within the dream were all very well planned, for instance the one when Weaver and Tom fall off the roof and Tom lands alone.  Those and many other moments were masterfully controlled.  I really like this episode 11 and think Olatunde did a great, great job.

In fact (and again this was a decision supported by cast, crew, Dreamworks, etc.)  It was decided that Olatunde would be the person to replace me in Season 5, when I decided not to return to the show.



TTTHE SEASON 4 CAST AND CREW PHOTO - GOODBYE - I WILL MISS YOU ALL!!!

Yes, with heavy heart, I must inform you that tonight's episode's will be the end of my involvement on FALLING SKIES.  


My time on this show has been a pleasure.  As I have tried to convey in these pages (screens?) - the cast and crew of this show were a close-knit bunch who I truly love.  The undertaking of making this show, in the way that we make it, was rigourously hard - as we battled long hours, frigidly cold nights, and a daunting scale of production.  I am very, very proud of it.  Not every episode.  Not every moment.  But in the main I feel proud of the series and I do feel that I can lay my head on my pillow at night knowing I worked my hardest and did my best to bring you quality entertainment.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Steven Spielberg and to Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey at Dreamworks (now Amblin Television) for hiring me in the first place and for trusting me a with huge amount of responsibility and autonomy.  

Similarly, but also "In Other News," the announcement was made this week that Michael Wright is leavingTNT. I have mentioned Mr. Wright only a few times in this blog, but not enough.  Michael Wright was the head of programming at TNT for the last 12 years.  He developed FALLING SKIES and shepherded it, quite well, for the whole time I was there.  He said repeatedly in notes meetings, that he wasn't just a network executive when it came to our show...  He was a fan.  In my experience this was absolutely true.  He was an absolute dream to work for.  On the one hand he cared passionately about the show, and was insistent on a handful of elements always being retained in the series.  Specifically: That humanity never give up hope; That the Mason family and family in general are the heart of the show; And that Tom was the leader and the center of the story - a man with intellectual knowledge forced by circumstances to become a hero and a leader.  Beyond those elements, and a few others, he gave us, as artists, enormous freedom.  Unlike many other studios where I have worked, he operated from a philosophy that seemed to be: "I have hired an excellent group of film-makers and now I am going to let them do their job."   This approach is unbelievably rare and it is very inspirational.  In my opinion it made me, as a key film-maker on the series, more responsible, not less responsible for the production of each episode.  Anyway - it was a pleasure working under him.  I hope our paths cross again.







- SCARLETT BYRNE ON THE SHIP -


- NOAH - HE WILL GET THIS MISSION DONE! -


- NIGHTY NIGHT - NOAH CLIMBS INTO HIS OUTER SPACE NAP CHAMBER -

- SPOOKY SPACESHIP -


- MY MOST BELOVED MOON, ON SET -


- WILL PATTON - I KEEP TELLING YA'LL -- IT WOULD BE BEST NOT TO MESS WITH HIM -


- TREVA WITH HIS NEW PET -

- SARAH CARTER PREPARES TO JUMP -


- SARAH REVIEWS TAKE ONE - SHE'S THINKING "I CAN DO BETTER!  GIVE ME ANOTHER!" -
- SCARLETT AND NOAH BOND IN SPACE -


 'TUNDE AND A.D. BRYAN KNIGHT BOND IN SPACE -


- TEXTING IS A POPULAR ACTIVITY IN SPACE -


- FOG - IS INCREDIBLY HARD TO CONTROL - DON'T USE IT UNLESS YOU REALLY HAVE TO! -


- MIRA ON A RAINY NIGHT -


S- CINEMATOGRAPHER NATE GOODMAN AND SCRIPT SUPERVISOR NANCY McDNALD - 


-  THE MASON BOYS CLEAN UP GOOD FOR THE WRAP PARTY 
- ME AND OUR FABULOUS GANG OF EXTRAS AT THE WRAP PARTY -



THAT'S IT FANS - GOODNIGHT AND GOODBYE - UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!!!!!!!





34 comments:

Bitka said...

You will be missed!

Otto Carius said...

I would say I'm almost sad to see you leave "Falling Skies", but let's face it sentimentality is not my way! After all I'm a hardcore analytic fan-- So, I'll say this from the "Loyal Opposition" perspective-- GO FOR REALISM IN YOUR NEXT ENDEAVOR!!!

And now with the reality of these two episodes last night... It seemed to me that this series is stuck in a rut. It ends and begins each season the same way since season 1-- Tom in the clutches of some evil Alien and then with Tom's eventual escape... At some point you would have thought that Tom would be just pushed out of an airlock or put down like ol' yeller! Yet, each season he finds some rickety almost MacGyver like way to escape from his captors. I cannot wait to see what unbelievable way he escapes this time.

However, to be honest I have to say do you people just not understand science or do you just think your audience is dumb? Seriously--I'm asking you this question? When Lexi says that gravity doesn't work in a Vacuum I nearly fell off my arm-chair from laughter! You do realize that it is gravity from the Moon and the Sun that creates the Tides. It is the Sun's gravity that keeps our 8 planet Solar System operating like a giant clock. It is gravity that powers Blackholes. Gravity most certainly works in a vacuum-- because gravity is a function of the distortion of space-time itself. It is not like a sound wave-- it doesn't need a medium to operate within. So, really why do your writers want to treat us the viewers like we have never seen an episode of How The Universe Works.

Secondly, how does a bomb that is designed to deployed to destroy a target on a moon with no atmosphere get damaged by freezing? You do realize that bomb would need to leave the spaceship-- thus be exposed to the raw-vacuum and chill of space to reach its target right?

I suggestion to you Mr. Beeman do a nice family drama where you can leave science out of it.

Aldenata said...

Greg Beeman, I suggest you do a series where the various posters on your blog are used as inspiration for the characters... who all die in horribly karmic fashion. Hire me as a technical consultant.



Anyway, I guess this is good bye. I don't have all that much to say, except that I think y'all did the seemingly-impossible in: managing to redeem Lexi as a character. Her shared dream where her father helps her learn how to ask forgiveness, as well as what it means to be human enough to give or receive it in the first place, are among the highlights of this series; something that my family and I are going to remember for a very long time. I even felt sorry for her when she died, even though I knew that it was a necessity at this point. Well, greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his planet.

As for the second part, um... I... I can't even think of any fitting Lovecraft quotes to describe that stun gas and those fog monsters. Glad I watched it before letting the younger family members do so, because that one promptly went off the DVR.

...that said, as terrifying as it was I don't know if this knew Espheni weapon would really be all that effective. The fog doesn't seem to spread quickly, and any militiamen that still have access to MOPP gear possibly wouldn't be paralyzed. They already know that flame weapons are effective against many of the Espheni's special weapons (crawlies, black hornets, et al.) so surely they wouldn't be able to wipe out too many countries before someone got the idea of setting the fog on fire.

Also, what happened to Mira? She was alive and well when the Overlord died, but then seemingly... disappeared once Tom and Lexi started talking about how to handle the moon base. Did Tom get her back to the Beamer, or did she go kamikaze with Lexi?

@Otto
Since Herr Beeman probably won't be blogging about Falling Skies next year—and since I may well not be around even if he is— could you contact me directly? There's a few things I'd like to discuss with you, though please don't feel offended if it takes until next spring before I respond.

firestorm1917@hotmail.com

Tom the Escape Artist: you would expect a shoot-on-site order at this point, wouldn't you?

Gravity: Lexi never says that gravity doesn't work in outer space, she says that her powers don't work in outer space. She did say that she might do better once she gets closer to the moon, though she suspected that it wouldn't be enough.

That said, I can't see why it would matter. Gravity, as far as I know, doesn't really factor all that much into what happens at the atomic level, where she operates. (Fewer atoms in outer space; that could be a problem.) Could be that she doesn't actually know this and really has no idea what the science is behind her ability to disintegrate things.

-Tovex is a water-gel based explosive; safe bet that letting it freeze (or boil) is not a good idea.

They were heading towards the lighted part of the moon, which means that the surface of the moon would probably be quite HOT by the time the bomb got there. I don't think that would matter though; not like they'll be much time to absorb the heat.

Vacuum in and of itself has no temperature. Objects placed in vacuum do, depending on the amount of radiation they're receiving and losing. I don't know how long it would take to boil water in direct sunlight or freeze it in the shadow of planet earth, but suffice to say you would want your bomb to travel from the ship to the target ASAP.

This actually brings to mind a problem with the life support failure. Depending on how the weapons and propulsion work, the biggest problem for a space crew when their life support goes off line may well be trying to keep from overheating. Waste heat will build up fast and getting rid of it will be hard.

Aldenata said...

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2009/06/29/water-in-space-what-happens/

Turns out that if you ever try bombing the moon with Tovex, your explosives will boil AND freeze. Well, that's not good.

Hyperon said...

Farewell to Season 4 and with it Greg Beeman - where shall we dedicated critics post our diatribes next year? On a serious note I for one shall miss Greg's behind the scenes vignettes and descriptions of how shows like this get made for a given budget.

As to the 2 part finale, the first part was almost a complete waste of screen time. The whole episode seemed to be an attempt to provide some redemption for Lexi via Tom's dream sequence. Not many of us care two bits about Lexi at this point, so this entire sequence was irrelevant and did nothing to move the story along or to excite the viewer.

The second part was better largely because exciting things actually happened, both up in space and more interestingly on the ground with the skitter fog descending and giving the chance to show some real horror story scenes. It was pretty surprising that nobody major got "skitterized" this way, but then I suppose they will casually pick everyone off one by one in Season 5.

The ending saw Lexi hopefully get blown to bits when she crashed her beamer into the power core, complete with early 1980s special effects. And yet again Tom is captured by an alien - if in doubt this show can always be depended on to revert to the "Tom is lost and has to make his way back" trope. Hell, they even used it twice in Season 3. This is supposed to be the cliff hanger for Season 5 but if I am being honest it does not excite me very much.

It will be interesting to see what they do in Season 5 to wrap everything up. Presumably there will be some answers as to why Earth is such a battleground for all these aliens (other than the not insignificant fact that there are very, very few habitable places in this or any other galaxy). What I hope they do is avoid being overly predictable. For example it is seen as a given that one of the Masons must die. My bet is that it will be Tom going out in a blaze of martyrdom right at the end. And maybe one of the brothers joins him in this final act of sacrifice. But it would be a lot less predictable, ironically, to have either all or none survive. But they won't do that.

It would also be good to let some actors actually, you know, act. I thought the scenes between Ben and Maggie in episode 9 were a very good illustration of what can get on screen if you let the actors, other than Noah Wyle and Will Patton, really do some acting. For example Connor Jessup (Ben) is excellent in an indie Canadian film called Blackbird, as he was in Season 2 of FS. But if all you ask him to do is utter short sentences then you are wasting that. The same is true to a lesser extent of Drew Roy.

This leads neatly to a plea to use the dynamic between the Mason brothers as a much more developed piece of the drama in Season 5. It is something most fans have really liked in the previous seasons and it got diluted in Season 4 by the early separation and then the love triangle. Supernatural has lasted 10 seasons because of the brotherly chemistry between Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Make FS fans proud by capturing a bit of that in Season 5!

Anonymous said...

I will always respect how you and other producers gave promising young talent the chance to shine this season.

Mark said...

If you're leaving Falling Skies, I have to ask (in hopes you do a Q&A post): do you know if you'll be working on Heroes:Reborn?

Aldenata said...

Another one for the Q&A: what would YOU do, Greg Beeman, if you knew that the Eshpeni were real and that an invasion of Earth by their Skitter hordes was imminent? Grab a gun and join in on the mother of all crawdad fries, or try and find a job in the militia with the propaganda and entertainment branch?

(Speaking purely hypothetically here. I ain't suggesting that you're really an agent of the Volm sent to warn us of the coming terrors who's all-consuming maws shall plunge us all screaming into darkness everlasting.)

Anonymous said...

Since Greg Beeman goes away... we can count on the fact that the season 5 will not be like 4?
Lexi story was tragic as well as the idea of ​​a love triangle between Ben - Maggie - Hal. And Ann's transformation is probably not pleased any viewer. She barely paid attention to fact, that she almost killed Ben, and from when the doctor suddenly becomes commander?

I hope that Season 5 will return to the old tracks, and the story will focus on other characters than Tom Mason what it's getting boring.

  I would like you to have shown more persons like Pope, Weaver and Ben, they have great potential and you should use that! Especially Ben.
Just like the thread with super powers, rebel skitters etc. Second season was probably the best of all.
Ben is probably the most interesting character in thhis show, you can write to him so much history and each would have been better than Lexi Divine powers.
It would be nice to see how the story focuses on him and other members from 2Msss like Weaver, Pope,Anthony.
Did you wondered sometime how the unreal is fact that Everyone around were wounded several times and Ben or Ann never? Ben could die or be injured at least once, just once others might worry about him (But do not let him die)You can give the young actor a chance and pleasure for the fans...

And I have another question: if you considering making another season about this how people live after the aliens's invasion? And what happens to the kids with spikes? and the fact that they live shorter and hard skin on their backs grow?
Is there a chance that you will do next season after 5? Maybe the fight between mortals? People like Pope from Season 1 who wish to delete from the planet everything reminds them of the invasion and has Espheni DNA. So, for example, children with spikes, Tom, Hal, Maggie, Anne. They are in danger , and they are dying, and fighting. People from 2 Mass are trying to protect the children and each other and fight with people who hunt them.
There is violence, kidnapping and death , but there is hope too,and love.
S1 and S2 was a success because it's what we love about the show is the life on the road, fight and Tom's desire to protect his boys who would be in greater danger than before


drarry55@wp.pl

HarnessFactory said...

After reading all the comments under each section on this blog really advise you:
You should consider what people here write. Season 5 has a chance to restore the show's value.
You really should come up with some interesting and dangerous story for Ben because It's easy to see that most people want this.
The fact that his character is omitted from S3 clearly doesn't serve this show. Ben's character has many possibilities : the boy has super powers and you forget about this fact (In episode 2 or 3 when Ben couldn't stop Loudres, although in S2 he stopped Hall with one hand! ) big shame ..
I understand that Noah Wyle and other well-known actors playing in this show but I think that better solution would be focus on other young actors and write for them interesting and important story (like Ben had a history in S2 which was the best season so far )
Something that strikes me is the fact that in every season Tom is wounded at least3 times , and how it's possible that, for example, Ben had never been hurt? (I Not counting the coma because we couldn't even see how this happened)
I know that his body heals quickly as Danny, but it is worth to come up with something. He should suffer, bleed and die like everyone else.Just for once. (I remember Matt's words in S3when he said something like , whatever happens, Ben will be looking at itbut Karen couldn't hurt him) What was that???

Season 5 without lexi said...

So Lexi has done one good deed ...
And everyone will forgive her right away? I hope not.They suddenly forget that she killed Loudres so easily ? Murderess!!! She killed his own friend for no reason!   I really hope that she died in space.
her story still doesn't make sense.
Lexi's character is unpleasant and no one likes her.
if she is still alive and she has super powers , she can do anything,she could kill Espheni for example.
She is a simple solution to win this war.
  She has so much power that she can do anything, and if she doesn't do something it will not make sense
Attacks skitters, Lexi can kill them.
  Attack ships, Lexi can destroy them.
Here comes the Overlords, Lexi can beat them.
Lexi can Destry everything and everyone, and save everyone.
because of her there isn't possible to develop the story.

Anonymous said...


The one thing that made Falling Skies so different from everything that came before it was the unique harness used to enslave the human children in seasons 1 and 2. It was the core of the show and the 2nd Mass’s purpose to save the children. Now at the end of season 4 it’s all but forgotten. While the Espheni have moved away from using the harness in its traditional form, there are many de-harnessed kids who still have their spikes. As mentioned in season 3, those spikes will have long lasting and damaging effects on their human hosts. They need to explore the ramifications that keeping those has for Ben and others like him. Now that the power core is gone, I expect the Espheni to take revenge. Time to worm their way into the spikes.

Anonymous said...

Well hello Beeman! This doesnt have anything to do with Falling skies Im afraid, but it has something to do with one episode you directed long ago. Smallville, season 4 episode 11 Unsafe! I got really angry after seeing it! While I dont mind most of the episode I really dislike Clarks parents in this one. After Clark has rid himself of the red kryptonite curse, and gotten back to normal, Martha scolds and yells and lectures him beyond belief for something he had no and totally NO control over! What is that?! He was tricked into wearing that redK necklace. THen he marries in Las Vegas with Alicia and goes all hyper, but thats RedK Clark. When hes back to normal he would never have done it and yet she lectures him about sanctity of marriage! It is totally pointless since normal Clark would never ever have done so, but RedK Clark doesnt care about such and would have easily done it again! Why so little understanding from his parents?!Lecturing normal Clark for something redK Clark did makes absolutely NO sense! They were much more understanding when he went crazy for three whole months in Metropolis and even the first time he got redK! Even worse this is the first time we see Clark cry openly in this show and for that to be because of Marthas totally unreasonable lecture is just so out of place! What were you all thinking?! The only question is, was she unaware that he was on redK when she started her chewing? Even if she didnt know she would know Clark well enough to see that he would never ever marry in Las Vegas in normal condition! Dont get me wrong, there are still two good things about this episode! Alicia makes a welcoming return, and the song by Dido fits perfectly in the ice-skating hall! But otherwise, it is a really bad episode! Thanks for your attention if you ever see this!

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