If a legendary film is receiving the reboot or legacy sequel treatment, it typically causes me to have a feeling of trepidation. There has been a disproportionate number of disappointments in that specific field, yes, but it is something that can and has been done correctly.
It is difficult to categorize The Man Who Fell to Earth on Showtime The Man Who Fell to Earth as anything other than entertaining. In the original film, David Bowie played an extraterrestrial who travels to Earth in order to carry water back to his dying planet.
The film was based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, and it was released in 1963. Unfortunately, he is sidetracked by all of the distractions that human civilization has to offer, and things do not turn out the way he had envisioned.
The new series functions as a direct sequel to the film, but it has also been updated to reflect the status of our world now, and it is, for the most part, a stand-alone tale. Even before Tevis began writing The Man Who Fell to Earth, the concept that inspired the story had been around for a while.
In fact, if you had the right amount of time and resources, you could probably trace it back to the very first moment when mankind understood, to our collective amazement, that the Earth's resources are not, in fact, endless.
It was more than 40 years ago, in 1976, that Nicolas Roeg's film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was released, and we were only beginning to comprehend the magnitude of the threat posed by global warming.
Importing water from another planet could not possibly be the solution to our water problems in 2022. The problem has changed, and we, as a society, must grow with it, which is the central thesis of Showtime's new series.
The protagonist of the film and the show is a significant distinction between the two works. Even if it had been possible, attempting to duplicate Bowie's legendary performance as Thomas Jerome Newton, the actual man who plummeted to Earth, would have been a fruitless endeavor.
Despite the fact that Newton, portrayed by the incomparable Bill Nighy, is a recurrent character in the series, he is not the central character of the program. Faraday, one of Newton's students, is introduced in the new series, who has traveled to Earth in order to achieve their joint purpose to preserve their homeworld.
Chiwetel Ejiofor portrays an extraterrestrial who is significantly different from the ones we are used to seeing. He portrays the character with a blend of youthful innocence and strong determination, and he has been nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.
Faraday, in contrast to Ejiofor's sophisticated Thomas Newton, is a complete and utter fish out of the sea. There is a parallel between the reactions of the characters in the movie to Thomas Newton, who seemed to be an Englishman, and the reactions of the characters in the program to Faraday.
Faraday is exposed to every definition of the word “alien,” whether he wants to or not because the term “alien” no longer refers solely to an extraterrestrial or a robot. Faraday's insights on human life and society may be unsettling, and in at least one instance, his lack of communication skills has led to the assumption that he is on the autism spectrum by a third party.
Nonetheless, there is a great deal of actual heart behind the character, and it's fairly evident that he is, at the end of the day, an exceptionally decent and honorable individual. However, even in the show's more comedic parts, the genuineness that Ejiofor exudes keeps the plot grounded and entrenched in the real world, which is something that Justin Falls (Naomie Harris) is intimately familiar with.
Due to the demands of caring for his elderly father as well as his little daughter, Justin does not have the time or tolerance to cope with Faraday's pranks. Faraday's entire purpose, however, would be jeopardized if she were not present.
Harris perfectly captures the agony, worry, and rage that come with living a difficult life. Harris is an excellent actor. Justin is really one of the most intelligent scientists on the planet, despite the fact that she doesn't appear to be such when you first meet her.
But the realities of life have placed her in a situation where she is obliged to take on odd jobs and interact with unscrupulous characters in order to make ends meet and keep her family fed.
The two main protagonists of the series, Justin and Faraday, serve as the series' central axis of action. When you combine the two, you have a program that exudes gravity while still being emotionally engaging.
According to The Man Who Fell to Earth, from the very beginning, what we need is not a revolution, but rather an evolution in order to go forward. The series is structured around a lecture made by Faraday, presumably after he and Justin have figured out how to preserve their worlds as well as ours from destruction.
And there is a sense that pervades his presentation that what is going to take place at the conclusion is the next significant step forward in our evolution as a species. This concept is complemented by some mind-blowing graphics that are both beautiful and bizarre in their presentation.
To be honest, even if this series consisted just of a succession of identical moments with Ejiofor telling the plot in the background, it would almost certainly be a success.
Is the show ideal in every way? Perhaps not, but whatever flaws and inconsistencies there are in the plot are forgiven in light of how wonderfully it is told. There is one thing that can be said about Faraday's understanding of the world that is not entirely positive.
There is some contradiction in it. Assumedly, he arrived on Earth with no prior knowledge of the human language and that anything he knows about human communication came from watching others and imitating their speech patterns.
Afterward, though, we witness the character utilize scientific terms that he has no way of understanding, even if he is familiar with their equivalents in his own tongue. These kinds of moments do occur, but they do not necessarily have an influence on the overall experience of watching the program.
They're merely little concerns that niggle at you long after the primary episode has ended, and we can easily brush them aside. Another aspect of the show that does not work in its favor is the length of the episodes.
The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Jenny Lumet and written by Alex Kurtzman, is a good sequel to the 1976 film of the same name that is cinematic in its tone and scale. So what's the point of spreading it out across ten episodes?
Even if a movie wasn't in the works, a shorter season of the show may have been produced, which would have resulted in a more tightly-woven story overall. All of that being said, whatever flaws there are in The Man Who Fell to Earth, they are more than offset by the outstanding performances of the major characters and the visually spectacular cinematography.
Although it is not a sophisticated, out-of-this-world production like the Bowie film, the Showtime series stands on its own as a fantastic program with something essential to say about contemporary culture. And we would all be better off as a result of hearing its message.