I've been looking forward to Falling Skies for a very long time. I can't remember when we first heard it was happening, but it's great to finally see the first 42 minute episode in all it's glory - and that's what I and 499 other people got to do today here at Kapow! in North London.
There was a massive queue through the convention hall for this one, but being the diligent reporter I am I joined my line early, and managed to get a seat right in the middle, at the front. My neck hurts now, but it was worth it.
Some of the footage is out there already, but seeing the full length episode really showed where they're going with this whole project. There are Spielberg fingerprints all over the first episode - as usual, there's a young boy, various family issues and one or too unnecessarily schmaltzy moments which I didn't think worked so well, but in general this was great stuff.
I know I'm risking the ire of a lot of Walking Dead fans when I say this, but this was better than that for me. It was like The Walking Dead without all the cliches that zombie stuff inevitably has these days.
To cut a long story short, the aliens have invaded, all the major cities and armies have been destroyed, and it's up to the likes of Noah Wyle and various ragtag groups of people who weren't soldiers six months ago to fight the marauding bugs off their damn planet.
The show shares many similarities with The Walking Dead actually - the survivors deciding to leave the city but having to go back for provisions and so on. But the aliens they've created for this are great - nasty four legged freaks, who appear both in their natural form, and as laser-targeting 'mech' armoured versions. The bad guys have built giant platforms in the centre of the city as their base - and it's alluded to that getting inside one of these will be the aim of the group at a later date. Or in a later season, perhaps.
There was plenty of action, most of it very good, well paced and quite brutal, but still fun. The big twist is that the aliens are specifically trying to steal human children, and to attach metal slug things to their spines (known as 'harnesses') which seem to make the kids their slaves. It's not clear why.
Surprise, surprise, one of Noah's kids has been caught and is being used by the aliens this way! What will Noah do? Risk the group by going on a suicide mission for his son? Or let the aliens keep his little boy?
The whole thing was hugely enjoyable, with Wyle's character constantly quoting military history (he was a history teacher), and saying that history is littered with examples of small groups making so much trouble for an invading force through an insurgency, that the superior force eventually gives up and leaves.
The rest of the casting was solid - some good turns from the likes of Moon Bloodgood and Will Patton - for me, Falling Skies isn't groundbreaking, but definitely something I'll stick with, based on episode one.
As well as that preview episode, we were also treated to a video interview with Andrew Lincoln - the star of The Walking Dead that most of my friends here in London still can't believe is pretending to be an American. He says they're filming season two right now, and that "we're going to keep pushing the envelope of taste and drama" as they make more episodes. He also says that working on the show has allowed him to restart his career in a way that he never knew was possible, because "there's a whole continent where people don't really know who I am still".
The new season will apparently see the survivors moving further into the countryside, away from Atlanta, but will continue to honour the structure and tone of the comics. Lincoln also said he's not sure about whether the Stephen King episode is happening, but that he's very excited at the prospect. He also revealed how much he's enjoying himself these days "I get to wear cowboy boots and ride horses and shoot zombies! I'm living the dream!"
More from me here at Kapow! Comic-Con in London very soon...