TNT's alien invasion drama "Falling Skies" is pure summer television. That's neither a knock nor an endorsement.

TNT's alien invasion drama "Falling Skies" is pure summer television. That's neither a knock nor an endorsement.

See, summer dramas are generally thought to be light, non-intense fare that's not as important as the stuff airing during the regular fall or spring seasons.

Actually, that notion is crap. The past few years, some of the best TV programming - "Breaking Bad," "Rescue Me" and, barring recent delays, "Mad Men,"- has aired during summertime.

"Falling Skies" falls into neither category; it isn't light or groundbreaking. It's an action series that's entertaining first and foremost, but it tries - and mostly fails - to capture the dramatic and introspective strength of its excellent summertime cable peers.

The story begins six months after an invasion where pockets of survivors attempt to, well, keep surviving while aliens - spider-looking things called "skidders" that command massive robots soldiers - continue their quest for domination. Unfortunately, the show's setting feels more like a refugee camp than a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Our hero is Tom (Noah Wyle), a history professor turned fighter, whose No. 1 mission is protecting his three sons. His oldest has joined the resistance, and Tom tries to maintain some semblance of a childhood for his youngest kid. His middle son has been captured by the aliens.

"Falling Skies" is produced by Steven Spielberg, with writers Graham Yost ("Justified") and Robert Rodat ("Saving Private Ryan") scripting the somewhat uneven two-hour pilot and Mark Verheiden ("Battlestar Galactica") overseeing the rest of the season.

With the incredible talent behind the camera and a capable cast, "Falling Skies" should succeed as both a thrill ride and thought-provoking narrative, much like "Battlestar Galactica" did.

Even though "Falling Skies" will undoubtedly remind sci-fi fans of "BSG," the themes and allegories presented in that show were much better developed.

I watched seven episodes and was rarely bored or let down by the overall plot, but the more ambitious subject matter and dialogue was too often heavy-handed.

I'll continue to watch through this season, and sci-fi fans should too, but don't expect anything more than a solid action series that tries to be more.