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
National

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

MLB

Bud Selig honors Derek Jeter as both prepare…

Bud Selig’s 22-year reign as commissioner will end Sunday, and while it’s had its share of negative moments, it also had Derek Jeter.

NFL

Column: Geno Smith not the answer for Jets…

There were highs for Jets quarterback Geno Smith in Monday night’s loss to the Bears and there were incredible lows.

NFL

3 things that went right in Jets loss…

It wasn't the result the Jets wanted, a 27-19 loss to the Bears, but this team deserves some credit.

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.