A painfully slow pace, foreseeable complicated human relationships, astronomically unnecessary flashbacks… the list goes on.
This show, about the first manned mission to Mars, should’ve never gone into orbit.
“The First” starts off with a predictable catastrophe, prompting astronaut commander Tom Hagerty (Sean Penn) to save the day and lead a mission of his own to the red planet.
(Trailer courtesy of IMDb.)
Rather than letting us lift off into space with the astronauts from the get-go, viewers are forced to stay on Earth for seven-and-a-half episodes (out of eight) and watch how politics and bureaucracy get in the way of the mission. Only during the second half of the season finale do we get to see spaceship action.
The only thing the show has going for it is that it’s aesthetically pleasing. Masterful cinematography and special effects give us a beautiful and realistic feel.
The show spends too much time explaining how complicated a space mission can be – the risks involved, the money needed to fund the mission, and the people they must convince for approval.
We’ve seen this in dozens of other Hollywood space productions. It would have been much more effective to get action from the start, like opening the show with our characters already in orbit or on Mars.
Family relationships don’t make the show progress, either. It’s always one step forward and two steps back for our astronauts; just as you think one family is overcoming apprehensions about the voyage, another is crumbling back into hardships again.
A show about outer space could have enormous potential, but “The First” just doesn’t have a good story.
I watched the show it in its entirety because I kept expecting something to happen. Even the trailer is misleading since it includes footage from the show’s last episode, making me believe that the actual voyage to Mars would come much earlier. Everything that happens in seven episodes can be condensed into two, and the rest of the season could have been an exploration of survival on Mars. I wouldn’t bet on a second season.