Beau Willimon leaves Earth behind — but not politics — for a mission to Mars that"s as grounded in humanity as it is stunning in scope.

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Of the many early attributes fueling “The First,” the opening score best captures the magnitude of what Hulu’s new drama series has in store. Horns quietly rise over a simmering hum until, just as the sun cracks through the darkness and casts a brilliant sliver of light over the red planet, Colin Stetson’s arrangement reaches a powerful crescendo; it calls to lớn mind Hans Zimmer’s “Man of Steel” theme, but it’s reminiscent of any awe-inspiring moment made accessible by living among the stars, rather than resting under them.

Among other things, Beau Willimon’s first serialized story since “House of Cards” inspires this kind of lofty rhetoric. Its sheer optimism matches the long-standing American mythos once defined by our trip to the moon instead of the ugly present mired by contentious connections between individuals, parties, & societies. It’s so earnest in its belief in people, the drive to reach Mars, now, isn’t about abandoning Earth và looking khổng lồ start over elsewhere. These initial eight episodes find meaning as resonant as the pulsing notes in their score. Some may say it’s out of touch, but really, “The First” feels like a pioneer amid a sea of narrative cynicism — a look past the present lớn where we need lớn be, và how we can get there.



Following his Netflix drama’s dark and moody nature, this marks a staunch shift in perspective for Willimon, who’s now asking viewers to aspire khổng lồ a dream instead of fear its failure. Và “The First” is dreaming very, very big. Phối in the near future, where a manned mission khổng lồ Mars is theoretically possible, Season 1 deftly maneuvers between the grand meaning và grand sacrifice of the astronauts looking khổng lồ advance mankind’s journey. Its characters have direct, engaged conversations where people respond to lớn reason & purpose. No one is distractedly scrolling through their iPhone over dinner, just as kém chất lượng news propagandists are kept off NASA’s back during Congressional budget hearings. The series acknowledges these factions exist, but “The First” is on the other side of America’s toxic relationship with disbelief.


Keiko Agena in “The First”

Alan Markfield/Hulu

While the series can be honest to lớn the point of polarizing its audience — choices made by multiple astronauts challenge the accepted notions of personal responsibility và heroism — “The First” feels lượt thích a warm blanket. Willimon’s elegant (what the cynics would điện thoại tư vấn “slow”) storytelling helps craft an earnest, encouraging quest to the stars, deliberately told at a time when viewers may have put the next frontier at the back of their minds.

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Moreover, it’s built to inspire, & anyone listening to lớn the score will feel exactly that — no matter the circumstances. Such a heart-pounding cue could be used lớn manipulate an audience into feeling something whether it’s earned or not, but “The First” rewards attentive viewers with droves of eye-opening và heartbreaking scenes. Absent the music, there’s still the series’ clean, beautiful cinematography, not to mention a compelling cast, to lớn help make its narrative affecting và absorbing. Soft-touch giải pháp công nghệ upgrades are so subtly integrated into the storytelling these new-age glasses, cars, & phones should be used to lớn teach future sci-fi writers how khổng lồ incorporate their imagined machines.

Like its brief opening title sequence, “The First” offers just a peek at the actual journey through space. Future seasons, if they get the green light from Hulu, will likely tackle the actual journey through the stars and what happens when (or if) the team reaches Mars. That may sound like disincentive, but by the time Willimon sets his sights lớn the sky, you’re going lớn have a hard time saying goodbye khổng lồ Earth; the weight of leaving is so deeply felt throughout Season 1, that the ecstasy of escape is the only way khổng lồ balance it out. “The First” provides both, & that’s about as close as most of us can get to feeling like an astronaut.

Grade: A-

“The First” Season 1 premieres in its entirety Friday, September 14 on Hulu.

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