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Falling Skies, and The Mandalorian

As you can see, it usually takes me a while to get around to watching things. “The Mandalorian” just started its second season. “Falling Skies” premiered in 2011 and ran for five seasons. Some people seem to stay up to date on what’s being released, and they watch things when they’re new. I can’t imagine how they do their research on new releases and where to stream what. If there’s a one-stop source for this information, I’ve never been able to find it. I’m aware of web sites such as The Decider, but 99 percent of it is the sort of thing that I never watch — here-and-now stuff, suburban stuff, brainless sitcoms, zombie stuff, teen romance, and all that.

I knew about “The Mandalorian” when it was new. But I didn’t sign up for Disney+ until recently, partly because it was hard to justify yet another streaming service, and partly because Baby Yoda was so cutesie that I thought the series was aimed at the 12 and under set. But I was wrong about that. I watched the first episode of the first season of “The Mandalorian” last night, and it was a very enjoyable return to the Star Wars world, which I think is the greatest cinematic saga of our lives.

Still, Baby Yoda does seem a bit cutesie. But otherwise it’s a beautifully produced trip back into the Star Wars world. Good writing and good production (including good audio production) does, after all, make a huge difference in watchability and our willingness to suspend disbelief, as the first six or seven seasons of Game of Thrones showed. I’m always grateful for good audio production in which we actually can hear and understand the dialogue. In “The Mandalorian,” a diminuendo in the music often precedes the dialogue. Noisy soundtracks with dialogue submerged in roaring background sounds and dreadful music have stopped me from watching a good many movies and series. After all, it’s the writing that makes a good story, and dialogue is critical. I found “The Expanse” impossible to follow because its soundtrack was deafening and incomprehensible.

“Falling Skies” is an alien invasion post-apocalyptic series. Though I’d probably give it only a B, it’s good enough that I’ve watched the first season. Steven Spielberg was an executive producer. I detect his influence in the series’ emphasis on family, as opposed to the usual same-old same-old emphasis on romance. Much can be done with plots about groups of people banding together and facing extreme threats. I’d give “Battlestar Galactica” an A+ for that. “Falling Skies” is no “Battlestar Galactica,” but it’s comfortably above what I call the threshold of watchability. “Falling Skies” is on HBO Max.

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