The Man Who Fell to Earth is joining Star Trek and The Twilight Zone on CBS All Access’ growing catalogue of revived sci-f classics. Based on the Walter Tevis‘ 1963 novel and Nicolas Roeg‘s 1976 film adaptation, which featured an iconic turn from David Bowie in his first feature film role, the series “will follow an alien who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future.”
CBS All Access announced the news during their executive session at the summer Television Critics Association press tour, where it was also revealed that Fringe and Star Trek: Discovery EP Alex Kurtzman and Discovery co-producer Jenny Lumet will write, executive produce and serve as co-showrunners alongside EP John Hlavin (USA Network’s Shooter). Kurtzman will also direct. Rola Bauer, Tim Halkin, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Heather Kadin will also serve as executive producers, and Aaron Baiers will serve as co-executive producer.
“Walter Tevis’ visionary novel gave us a tech god Willy Wonka from another planet, brought to life by David Bowie’s legendary performance, that foretold Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musk’s impacts on our world,” said executive producers Kurtzman and Lumet. “The series will imagine the next step in our evolution, seen through the eyes of an alien who must learn what it means to become human, even as he fights for the survival of his species.”
“We are thrilled to add another iconic genre favorite to our lineup as we expand original programming on CBS All Access,” said Julie McNamara, Executive Vice President, Original Content, CBS All Access. “We know this series will capture the soul and spirit of the source material and further push narrative boundaries in the capable hands of Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet and the entire producing team.”
There’s no doubt that adapting a story like The Man Who Fell to Earth comes with its challenges in the shadow of the beloved film and Bowie performance. Especially on the heels of CBS’s disappointing Twilight Zone reboot. But with Star Trek: Picard and The Stand in the works alongside returning series like Strange Angel and Tell Me a Story, it’s clear that CBS All Access is leaning into an entirely different, genre-based content approach compared to its network offerings.
The Man Who Fell to Earth will be co-produced by CBS Television Studios and TANDEM Productions, a STUDIOCANAL Company, in association with Secret Hideout and Timberman/Beverly. STUDIOCANAL owns the rights for both Tevis’ and Roeg’s film.