Noah Wyle on parenting during an apocalypse in ‘Falling Skies’

Noah Wyle is once again on television, with "Falling Skies" Credit: Getty Images
Noah Wyle’s new TV gig, “Falling Skies,” begins its third season this week.
Credit: Getty Images

With the third season of “Falling Skies” kicking off this week, star Noah Wyle is remarkably candid about the hit sci-fi series’ strengths and weaknesses. “I don’t think there’s anybody involved with this show that’s more objective about it than I am, that is willing to point out its faults as well as its assets more than me,” says the former “ER” doctor. He also says he’s learned a lot of lessons about parenting during an alien invasion that can be applied surprisingly well to raising kids today.

After three seasons, do you think “Falling Skies” has found its footing?
This is a weird show in that I still don’t feel like we’ve reached our full potential because every year we do something that kind of hobbles us. And yet they turn out pretty well as a result. I’d be really curious to see what we’d be able to accomplish if we didn’t stand in our own way so much.

How do you mean?
Everything from scheduling to how much time we get scripts beforehand to casting. Maybe I’m spoiled because by the time “ER” was off the air, it was such a well-oiled machine that it just ran so smoothly. But for example, last season, season two, they wrote this wonderful role for a guest star, for a woman who was a pilot. You could’ve cast anyone from Kathy Bates to Alfre Woodard — and we went after both of them to do it — but it took a long time to pull the trigger on making those offers. The breakdowns didn’t go out until a week or 10 days before the episode started shooting, so you have one shot, basically, and if they say no then you’re scrambling. And if you scramble too much, then you’re going to run into a visa issue bringing in an American actor to Canada. And as a result, you cast locally and a part that could’ve been really great, you end up whittling down to very little on the show, which is an unfortunate side effect. I don’t know how we get around this, how we could do this better next time, but it’s unfortunate that it happened this way.

Your character’s had three sons during the run of “Falling Skies,” and now there’s a new addition. What have you learned about parenting during an alien apocalypse?
The tension that exists is ever-present; there’s always a threat. We could all be attacked at any moment. Their own longing to be autonomous and independent is going to foster this real push-pull ambivalence about how to parent them. In the beginning it was all about giving his youngest son some semblance of a childhood in the context of this horrible situation. And then at the end of the second season and the beginning of the third, his new philosophy is that the kindest, most responsible parenting philosophy he can espouse is to arm his kids and train his kids and hope that they can defend themselves, and then maybe their kids will have the childhood that they were robbed of — that he’s doing them a disservice by trying to shield them from any of these horrible realities.

That’s an interesting parallel to the backlash against overprotective parenting.
The everybody gets an A thing? As a parent of two kids, I walk that line. In a lot of ways the filters that protected kids from the more mature aspects of our society are no longer there. You can turn on a TV just about any hour of the day and see just about anything under the sun. You can download anything from iTunes, you can see everything from graphic violence to sex in a video game, and so it’s tough to be a parent these days and to try to allow access to all these different things at an age-appropriate levels — especially when you’re competing against other parents that don’t think the same way the you do. You’re up against, “Well, Bobby gets to watch it,” and “Cindy gets to see it.” So on a relative scale, I can appreciate what Tom’s dilemma is, about wanting to allow kids to be kids for as long as they possibly can, because that time is getting shorter and shorter.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.