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Review of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' 1.4

by Paul Levinson 2 months ago in tv review · updated 2 months ago
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"Tell my wife I love her very much..."

How cool and meta-perfect is The Man Who Fell to Earth new series on Showtime? Well, in episode 1.4, just up last night, we learn that Thomas Newton, who came to Earth all those years ago, in the 1976 movie starring David Bowie in the role, lost his memory,

or most of it, including of his wife back on Althea, way out there in outer space. And in episode 1.4 Newton, now played by Bill Nighy, tells Faraday in a little hovering ball of a recording made as his memory was fading, "Tell my wife I love her very much". The very request that Major Tom made to his listeners in David Bowie's iconic 1969 "Space Oddity" recording. "Ain't Jenny so cool ..." Well, not only Jenny Lumet, but Alex Kurtzman, Jane Maggs (who wrote the story Lumet and Kurtzman made into the teleplay) and everyone who put this unique sequel series together.

Bowie's presence and essence has been integrated into this new series from the very first episode, which was entitled "Hallo, Spaceboy" -- just a comma more than Bowie's 1995 song "Hallo Spaceboy". At this point in the series, I've got to say I can't think of a better, more multi-valent TV series sequel to a movie.

And we got some important Justin backstory in this episode. She invented a cold fusion process -- an incredible achievement, that duly impressed Faraday -- but paid for it with the loss of her daughter's father, who died of radiation poisoning. Along with Newton's loss of memory, this was one of the two most powerful heart tugs of the episode.

Spencer has another night of flexing his CIA muscle, but the highpoint is his encounter with Mary Lou, another memorable character from the 1976 movie, played back then by Candy Clark. She and Newton shared a love of sorts, and in his absence she's become Sister Mary Lou, now played by Juliet Stevenson. Spencer's conversation with her was one of his best moment so far in the series, but I could've done without the bee in her mouth.

The Man Who Fell to Earth continues to be one of the most refreshingly original science fiction shows on television. That's quite an accomplishment, given that the series is a sequel, but it draws you into its spider web to the point that you're really feeling, on a visceral level, the interstellar interplay that is at the heart of this story.

See you back here next week with my next review.

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About the author

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.

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