Is Steven Spielberg doing a TV spin-off of War of the Worlds? It certainly felt that way this afternoon at Comic-Con when TNT debuted a trailer for its new Spielberg-produced alien invasion series Falling Skies, which premieres next summer and had all the hallmarks of the director’s work. A small child narrates the promo in a cutesy, ominous voice that recalls Spielberg’s tendency to see alien stories through the eyes of young children (E.T., War of the Worlds). The series follows Noah Wyle’s widowed father and resistance fighter — imagine Tom Cruise’s character in Worlds if he wasn’t a deadbeat dad and led the fight instead of trying to evade it. We’re assuming the voice belongs to one of his three sons — one young, one kidnapped and one a hothead. “I was in school when the ships came,” the child says. “They were really big. They blew up army bases. All the capitals. Then they came. There were millions of them. They didn’t want to be friends.” But, Wyle said during the panel, “The conflict isn’t just between humans and aliens.” He added that the series will also deal with civilian rights and military control in a time of survival: “Not all the humans are altruistic.”
The show also seems to be borrowing from War of the Worlds’ high-tech feel for its alien race. The trailer featured slick, silver spacecrafts, though they weren’t as big as the ones in Worlds. The aliens themselves appear to be more technical than creature, as well: No green creatures with oval-shaped heads and big eyes here. The large, almost robot-like figures had laser beams coming out of their eyes, making them look like something out of Battlestar Galactica or Terminator. And an alien invasion series wouldn’t be complete without some devastation, so a downtown metropolis bites the dust in a fiery explosion. Between this and The Walking Dead trailer earlier in the day, we’re beginning to worry for the future of big cities.