CCI | <i>Falling Skies</i> Panel

The presentation for Falling Skies at Comic-Con International in San Diego got off to an explosive start Friday with footage from the first season of TNT's hit alien-invasion drama. From there it was straight to business, as each of the panel's participants strolled on stage with a custom introduction, ranging from "everybody's favorite armed-and-dangerous teenager Drew Roy" to "pediatrician and expert harness remover Moon Bloodgood." Star Noah Wyle took home the prize, though, as he was dubbed "a well-armed Kenny Loggins."

Created by Steven Spielberg and Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat, the series stars Wyle (ER, The Librarian) as a history professor who becomes a leader of the resistance movement following an extraterrestrial conquest of Earth. The sci-fi drama premiered on June 19 to 5.9 million viewers, making it cable’s top new series. It was was renewed last month for a 10-episode second season.

The panel was made up of actors and producers alike, all of whom were clearly humbled by the presence of so many fans. Taking turns to reveal which episode was their favorite, Wyle admitted that the pilot ranked up top "because it set the tone." Sarah Carter, on the other hand, said she "knows that the season finale is mine ... and I won't say anymore." The optimistic producers were in agreement — and were certainly forward-looking — on Episode 98 being their favorite.

Wyle was appreciative of the sheer amount of people who were at the panel, joking that it was "bigger than last year," when the series was still an unknown commodity. Bloodgood, who co-stars as Dr. Anne Glass, and Will Patton, who plays tough-as-nails resistance leader Weaver, were taken aback by the support that the show is receiving, while Roy pointed out that the crowd is older than the Hannah Montana fans he was used to. This went over well with the younger contingent present, who clearly remembered him from his years playing Hannah's love interest.

After more sinister footage was screened that elicited at least one audible gasp of "Oh, my God!" and a brief bout of booing for the bad guys, it was time for Colin Cunnigham to take the microphone for a bit. Known for playing the morally questionable biker-gang leader John Pope, the actor was surprisingly enigmatic and comfortable on the mic as he took the opportunity to thank TNT for the show and gushed about his co-stars and the support they all share on set.

The cast then shared some behind-the-scenes anecdotes with the crowd. Wyle and Bloodgood recalled an emotional scene between their characters, after which Wyle left a note for Bloodgood that read, "This is where Tom falls in love with Anne."

The floor was then opened to questions. The producers seemed to benefit more from this than the attendees, as Falling Skies seemingly attracts an intellectual crowd, and laborious, science-themed questions came fast and furious from biologists, anthropologists and old-fashioned sci-fi fans alike. By the end, the producers were jokingly recruiting for consultants for the second season, which begins shooting soon. (Caprica co-creator Remi Aubuchon has been added as Falling Skies showrunner.)

The panel ended with a sneak peek at upcoming episodes that revealed the return of a missing character and offered a glimpse at a type of alien that hadn't been seen before.

The two-hour season finale of Falling Skies airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.

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