TV listings | Like Spielberg, but without the saccharine

If you enjoyed the discomfort of War of the Worlds before it disintegrated into slush so sickly it even made Forrest Gump hurl, then new sci-fi drama series Falling Skies, with a solid 71 on Metacritic, could be for you.

The aliens are here. And they’re not nice. It’s the ultimate bad scenario, and given these things normally last for seven seasons, it’s not going to get any better anytime soon.

“Serious without being grim, uplifting without being saccharine,” praised the LA Times. “Falling Skies dares to image what feature films will not – a world in which Will Smith did not bring down the mothership in time.”

But don’t be put off by the lack of answers in the first episode. “You get the sense that we’ll get those answers eventually,” chimes The Hollywood Reporter. “And yet, you want to devour the next episode immediately.”

Devour is an unfortunate word choice when considering Bolinao 52 (DR2, Tue 17:55), a doc about one of the boats that set sail from war-torn Vietnam in 1975 with 110 on board and … you’ve guessed it.  

Equally bleak is the death row doc Into the Abyss (SV2, Tue 22:30), which scored 74 on Metacritic and the Chicago Sun Times called “the saddest film Werner Herzog has ever made”. However, there are glimmers of hope that, according to the Miami Herald, elevate it “far above the usual chatter of liberal-conservative debate”.

High above, ahead of his time, the myth of Everest mountaineer George Mallory is explored in Wildest Dream – Conquest of Everest (DRK, Tue 17:30 & 22:45). Did he reach the summit in 1924? A missing camera might hold a clue …

Talking Movies (BBC World, Sat 13:30 & Sun 20:30)Elsewhere, Talking Movies (BBC World, Sat 13:30 & Sun 20:30) dedicates its entire coverage to the new James Bond film; half a century after the Bay of Pigs, we learn how close most of us came to never existing in Minutes From Nuclear War (BBC World, Sun 22:30); there are new seasons of This is England ‘88 (SV2, Fri 22:15) and Entourage (SV2, Tue 22:45) right on the back of their previous outings; and another chance to see season two of Hung (TV2 Zulu, Sun 11:05) and season one of Hope and Faith (TV2 Zulu, Sat 13:15).