It is curious the opportune moment in which ‘The Man Who Fell the Earth’ came out for the first time, both the novel by Walter Tevis and the film by Nicolas Roeg. The reflection/warning about the planet’s resources came at a time of global energy crisis. Almost fifty years later, the television sequel returns to raise many of the reflections of that work aware that, forgive the redundancy, we are somewhat more aware of the problem.
‘The Man Who Fell To Earth (The man who fell to Earth)’, a series that we can see in Movistar Plus+ Replaces David Bowie’s Thomas Jerome Newton with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Faradaya new alien, pupil of the first, who lands on Earth to see if he can locate his “follower” and achieve the invention that revolutionizes everything and saves his dying planet.
The beginning, in which we enter a presentation/talk by this Faraday transformed into a technology guru, makes us suspect that he has achieved it. The series, written by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet sheds some optimistic light on what launches the man into the middle of nowhere to begin his impossible mission.
Kurtzman, by the way, shows that he is experienced in science fiction series (from ‘Fringe’ to ‘star trek‘) and, as the director of the first four episodes, puts it all on the grill. In the visual section the series is amazing, beautiful. It may not be as captivating as we might expect but in general very wise when it comes to the series entering through the eyes.
Also noteworthy is the role of Ejiofor, in whose first bars we see him transforming from scratch learning step by step the basic notions of being human. Yes, it is true that sometimes it is cartoonish, but there is a certain influence whovian in the character that makes us fascinated by this Faraday.
The cast is usually very well chosen. This includes the always flashy Bill Nighy like an aged version of David Bowie’s Newton; but also Naomi Harris as Justin Falls, a retired scientist who reluctantly becomes an ally of Faraday.
A slightly inconsistent script
Although both in the visual aspect and in the cast there are few buts to highlight, it is in the script where the series suffers the most. I don’t know if it’s more because of the length or because they want to touch too many sticksmaking it a bit difficult to know exactly what they want to tell, what the series wants to talk about.
His theme breaks wouldn’t be much of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that the series sins something simple, even naive, in the development and exposition of ideas. This also transcends in the dances between genders. For example, his approach to the thriller, with those “dark forces of the government” with Jimmy Simpson, is somewhat off the hook from the rest.
But that does not prevent, ultimately, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ not be commendable. An amazing science fiction exercise that expands and updates the original work, sacrificing, sometimes too much, form to substance, aesthetics to presentation.