Sci-Fi Storm

The attention to detail in Falling Skies

by on Aug.08, 2011, under Television

I’ve mentioned a bit about the finer details shown in the pilot episode of Falling Skies, especially for the location, in our First Look article. After all, when they are portraying the area you live in and you are generally a nitpicker (although I don’t let that spoil my enjoyment), you notice things.

The show is shot in the Toronto area, and has provided an architectural and landscape match for the areas of Acton, Concord and Littleton in Massachusetts. However I noticed that they appeared to avoid signage in the area. I wasn’t sure why, but different locations do tend to have uniqueness to their signs.

Well, in part two of “Sanctuary”, there was a town line sign along a dirt road (between Acton and Concord according to the sign), along with a stone marker. For those familiar with Massachusetts signs, I’m not talking about the “Entering …” signs (which certainly are distinctive) but the older, simple signs that are more like street signs on a pole, with each town shown on a sign in the direction of that town, and a “Town Line” sign perpendicular to them (presumably along the actual line). Not only was the style of the sign correct, it even seemed to show a touch of rust, which is not uncommon on them. The stone marker is also typical of these locations. So I thought for certain they might have filmed these scene on location.

During last night’s live chat on Twitter with the stars and Co-Executive Producer/Writer Mark Verheiden, I asked Verheiden about it. His response, “The show was all shot in/around Toronto Canada. But glad the signage looked accurate!” I find this fascinating, as it shows me they are really paying attention to the minor details – I mean, who would really care if there was a generic sign…or a sign at all? But they not only put a sign there, but an authentic one – and the nondescript stone marker as well!

Alas, during the two hour finale, there were several scenes taking place on a surface road into Boston with an overpass and a highway sign on it. Although it was the right color and shape (Massachusetts highway signs are just a basic green with white lettering), and was pretty close, there were a few errors in my mind – one, it was the wrong font. The lettering just looked wrong. All such signs have the same font and size. Also, it said “EXIT 12/Downtown Boston/Next 3 Exits”. One, that road appeared to be fairly suburban, so such a road wouldn’t have 3 exits nearby that end up in downtown Boston…second, an Exit sign wouldn’t then list the destination of the “next 3 exits”, it would have the distance to that particular exit. So, not as authentic as the town line sign. You can’t win them all.

Hey, I told you…I’m a nitpicker!

But still, it shows that they are trying to add details that probably wouldn’t be picked up by the typical viewer, but lend authenticity to the location.

As for the next season (ugh, we have to wait almost a year?!?), I understand production is moving to Vancouver. How this may change the area they shoot in remains to be seen – but it does coincide with a setting change with the resistance moving further west…


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