TV: ‘Falling Skies’ Invades This Weekend

What happens when you combine aliens, teenagers with machine guns, and Steven Spielberg? This Sunday at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central), viewers of “Falling Skies” are about to find out.

The eight-part TNT drama takes place in New England, six months after an alien invasion leaves most of the planet decimated. A small group of survivors is forced to band together for survival — civilian militias battle deadly robots and six-legged creatures, forage for food, and try to navigate what’s left of the lives they once knew.

Variety’s Brian Lowry describes the series’ premise as “mixing a strain of Tea Party nostalgia with a whole library of alien-invasion fiction.” In terms of predecessors, he explains, it lacks the subtlety of “Battlestar Galactica,” hewing “closer to ‘Independence Day,’ with a touch of ‘Red Dawn.’”

There are quite a few promising signs that “Falling Skies” will appeal to a broad audience — the executive producer is Steven Spielberg, who the New York Times’ Kristina Onstad calls “the strongest extraterrestrial brand in the world,” and the show’s format follows the “slow-reveal, mystery-upon-mystery template” perfected in “Lost” that keeps viewers guessing.

But will there be enough surprises from a post-apocalyptic, alien-invasion storyline to sustain the series? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Also premiering soon:

» The hour-long, weeknight news and political commentary program “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” relaunches on Monday, June 20, on Current TV.

» “The Hot Zone,” “a fictional medical procedural set in 2006 at the only military hospital providing advanced surgical care in all of Southern Afghanistan,” debuts Tuesday, June 21, on ABC.

For more, check out Trove’s Falling Skies, Sci-Fi TV Shows, and Television channels. Image from ABC.