"Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman’s extension of the Walter Tevis novel and cult classic Nicolas Roeg film has too many allegorical things on its mind and not enough clarity on how to relay its various points about the desperate need for empathy, especially for the strangers in our midst," says Daniel Fienberg. "In just four episodes sent to critics, The Man Who Fell to Earth is at least two or three somewhat different shows, and there’s a tonal whiplash that can be perplexing. But thus far a delightful performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor holds the series together in ways that remain entertaining and full of potential." Fienberg adds: "You might need to go all the way back to Kinky Boots for the last time Ejiofor gave a performance that relied this heavily on physicality, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this funny before."
The Man Who Fell to Earth is solid sci-fi: "Unlike the film, with its elastic time and changes of tone, the new series is a much more conventional work, a well-made mainstream science-fiction adventure, with a clear line between the good guys and the bad guys, each with a saucerful of secrets, and a character or two liable to fall either way as things progress," says Robert Lloyd. "That’s not a bad approach; getting arty might just seem imitative, and the noncanonical status of this new chapter allows it not to be too precious about what came before. If it lacks its predecessors’ satirical edge as regards American consumerism and self-sedation, it has other things to say about the way we are, and where we are going. (We are, after all, 60 years on from the novel and nearly 50 from the film.)"