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The Big Kahuna News, TV

Growing up, I have always had an affinity for the Sci-Fi genre. More so than Horror movies and gore, Science Fiction takes you to that place of “What If?” My favorite Sci-Fi movie of all time is Aliens (Yeah, it still holds up) my favorite Sci-Fi TV series is The X-Files. I’m an avid reader of a multitude of comic books, and one of my favorites is Planetary. Have watched and consumed all forms of Sci-Fi for the last 30 years. (Bit of a long time). Through out my years of watching and reading Sci-Fi, I have always noticed the absence of or the sudden death of most minority characters in said series or movies. At the same time, many important movies (Alien) and TV shows (Fringe, LOST) have been at the forefront of introducing strong minority characters, even though most would go the way of the all to familiar dirt nap. That brings me to the current TNT series Falling Skies. It’s one of those shows I had not gotten around to seeing, for what ever reason. For a time I would here nothing but good things about Falling Skies. I mean it starred one Noah Wyle from ER, and was produced by Steven Spielberg…can’t go wrong there. So I decided it was time to check out all the hype on this Sci-Fi show. Falling Skies is currently ending its second season, so I’m thinking, I guess somebody’s watching this show. Now, one thing that is extremely essential in Sci-Fi TV is storyline. Sci-Fi movies can sometimes get away with not having the best of scripts, but they can sometimes get away with other stuff like all that extravagant CGI and all. TV usually works the other way around. Limited budget, so you need an excellent script. With Falling Skies, You kind of get both. Earth has suffered an invasion by an Alien life form bent on taking over the earth. Most of the worlds armies have been decimated, governments have fallen and all that is left are rag tag regiments that act as militias trying to survive on this new world. On top of that. The Aliens are harvesting and rounding up you children and applying “Harnesses” on their backs that make them zombie like and puts hem under the control of the aliens. One of the on going storylines is the attempted removal of said harnesses with out killing the children. Let’s just say those harnesses play a major role in Falling Skies. Noah Wyle plays a former history professor who is the second in command of The Second Massachusetts. The first season of the show seems to try and find it’s footing with the building of several characters. I’m not going to go into a full review of the show as Falling Skies has been out for a couple of years. What I am going to go into is the apparent blatant disregard of the African American characters on the show. Falling Skies seems to go out of its way to write out their African American characters from the show. In the first season, there are three African America characters, two major to the first season and pivotal to the show. The first is Mike played by Martin Roach. A gruff militia member protecting large segments of the rag tag survivors. We begin to get to know more about Mike when we discover his son; Rick played by Daniyah Ysral is one of the harnessed children. In one episode, Mike sees his son on a recon mission and rescues his him from the aliens. This storyline stretches several episodes as Rick plays a major role in the first season. Suffice it to say there is an incident where Mike perishes saving the children. The second season sees Ricky has disappeared from the survival group. Ricky then returns in the middle of season two just to see his demise as well. While this is happening, A new African American character is introduced in season two… Jamil Dexter played by Brandon Jay McLaren. He becomes the resident mechanical expert/engineer kind of know it all guy. Jamil gets an expanded storyline as he begins to fall in love with a young medical assistant Lourdes played by Seychelle Gabriel. So you would think Jamil has a shot at sticking around a bit on Falling Skies, well you would be wrong. Jamil meets one of the more gruesome ends a character has met on the show. That leaves a not so important character that has been on Falling Skies since season one. A militia member named Anthony, played by Mpho Koaha. As good as Anthony’s character is he really doesn’t have much of a storyline. It is somewhat limited to “soldiering”. So there you go…four prominent African Americans, three killed. Falling Skies has a small array of other minority characters, a Native American, a Mexican and an Asian that round out the cast. Noah Wyle, of course is the star of the show along with veteran character actor Will Patton. (Punisher, The Postman) Both are solid leads on the show. But this really is a concerning matter for a show that is developing these characters and then killing them off. It still surprises me in this day and age that e keep feeding the stereotype of young minority characters continually used as the “Go To” killed off characters on TV shows. Yeah, yeah, most will argue that the show is an apocalyptic survival show and yes…characters die. Well I would say, sure, s@#t happens. But, when you wipe out 75% of one race from your TV show and have no significant major characters left representing that race of people, that sounds a little apocalyptic to me.

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