TNT has released a trailer for its new show, Falling Skies, set to premiere in the summer of 2011. With Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, Noah Wyle as the star and hordes of bloodthirsty aliens as enemies, there’s a good chance that TNT has a hit on its hands.

But how original is Falling Skies? Could it be just the first in a potentially long line of shows trying to recreate the success of The Walking Dead?

It wouldn’t be a surprise. With only six episodes aired, The Walking Dead broke cable ratings records and enjoyed huge critical success. Imitators are inevitable. Falling Skies may focus on the aftermath of an alien invasion — not a zombie pandemic — but the released preview shows some definite similarities to The Walking Dead.

Both shows have a big movie name attached.
The Walking Dead has Frank Darabont. Falling Skies has Steven Spielberg. Who needs huge movies when you’ve got cable television?

The tragedy has already happened, and we watch the survivors deal with the aftermath.
With the alien invasion explained only by children’s drawings and stories, we can count on Falling Skies to follow The Walking Dead‘s lead by focusing on post-attack survival.

Society abruptly crumbles, leaving the characters to fight evil creatures and nature for survival.
Without the comforts of civilization, both The Walking Dead and Falling Skies show humans struggling to survive both murderous attacks and a lack of hot showers.

Cities are really, really bad places to be.
In The Walking Dead, the cities were overrun with zombies, turning an urban stroll into near suicide. In Falling Skies, the cities seem to be alien targets, prone to electro-magnetic bursts and impressive explosions.

The world is suddenly and inexplicably overwhelmed by evil hordes who just want us dead.
Why are they here?

So not important. The key is that they want us dead in time for lunch.

Fraught romances struggle to survive amidst the doom of humanity.
The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes had his ex-partner-cheating wife. Noah Wyle’s professor seems to have a good thing going with child therapist Anne Glass. I guess the threat of becoming lunch just puts people in a romantic mood?

The central figure is a father whose first priority is protecting his family.
The hero is strong and brave. But Noah Wyle’s history professor is — much like Grimes — a family man first. Aliens or zombies may invade, but you’ve got to look out for the kids.

Shooting the evil creatures in the head seems to work pretty well. As long as there aren’t a whole bunch of them.
Arriving in the millions, the aliens have decimated the Earth. Individually, however, you can shoot them in the head. Kind of like how one zombie is easy, while hordes of them will eat you.

The aliens seem to be into eating people.
These aliens might as well be zombies from outer space. All they want to do is kill and eat.

There’s no particular reason for any of it.
According to the trailer anyway, the aliens have invaded Earth to wreak havoc and to eat humans. Why they would travel across the vast reaches of space just to munch on Earth-treats makes about as much sense as a sudden influx of zombies.

Will Falling Skies be just like The Walking Dead? Or is there a whole different side to this post-apocalyptic, character-centered, survival drama that we can’t see from the trailer? We’ll just have to wait for the show in June… Unless the zombies aliens invade by then.

What do you think? Does Falling Skies remind you of another show? Is it totally original? Or are you just happy to see Noah Wyle on TV again? Let us know by leaving a comment!

(Image and video courtesy of TNT)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.