I've been watching a new science fiction series -- Falling Skies -- that's got some big names behind it and has a decent cast (Noah Wylie, Will Patton, that guy from Wings whose name I can never remember. . .) and a fairly standard plot line: aliens invade, they're not friendly, and groups of brave humans form a resistance. War of the Worlds redux. We've seen it all before: the tensions betwen military minds and civilians who are still trying to grasp the idea that sometimes you have to kill the enemy, the trying to survive on the run while scavenging for supplies, the stock characters like The Reluctant Hero and the Mad Scientist. Nothing out of theordinary, nothing particularly compelling, but there is some potential for mildly entertaining television, so I'll stick with it for another episode or two because it beats watching reruns of House Hunters.
And, just like I do everytime I encounter one of these end-of-the-world entertainment vehicles, I find myself wondering, "Doesn't anyone live in the real world?" The ragtag band of survivors (aka "the Second Massachusetts," a resistance unit) numbers 300 strong -- where are they getting their water from? Who's keeping the Boston municipal water supply going if they're still turning on taps and flushing toilets? And why would the system work when the power is apparently out everywhere --they're doing the usual lighting up everything like a Christmas tree using only candles and oil lamps. And just where are they getting the zillion candles from? Did they find the Mother of All Yankee Candle stores to raid?
Which brings me to the thing I really wonder about: why is it that in post-apocalyptic survivalist fiction, be it televised or between the covers of a book, when they do go out scavenging, we never hear some young woman yell as the foraging party departs, "Hey, guys, don't forget the Tampax!"