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
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.