The First: Season 1 (2018)

Season 1
The First

Critics Consensus

Sean Penn gives an intensely poignant performance as the driven but conflicted Tom Hagerty in The First's rather slow-moving first season.



Critic Ratings: 62


Audience Score

User Ratings: 244

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Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018
Air date: Sep 14, 2018

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Critic Reviews for The First Season 1

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (26)

The First is surprisingly pompous, inflated by its soundtrack... But stick with it.

Nov 1, 2018 | Full Review…

As flawed as I found the first season, I'll admit, it hooked me enough that I'm interested to see how they live life on Mars.

Sep 13, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[Tom] acts like a complex hero in this post-"Sopranos" era, but the aimless writing and the arty editing leave him flat.

Sep 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Visually compelling with a nicely pensive music score - courtesy of Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire and Bon Iver - "The First" is otherwise plodding and padded.

Sep 12, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Penn is solid and stolid as Hagerty, conveying more depth in the scenes with his family than he does with his crew.

Sep 17, 2018 | Full Review…

The First could be made of stronger stuff than it is. Its use of imagery and a drawling, unidentified voice-over philosophizer are both recurrent and generally intrusive.

Sep 17, 2018 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

Sadly mistaken for a full on sci fi epic, The First is a drama quest on our limits and emotions. Sean Penn shines. [Full review in Spanish].

May 15, 2019 | Full Review…

The First needs to up its game or it's headed for the black hole of oblivion.

Mar 8, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

The seriousness of the subject doesn't entirely explain the solemnity of this pilot episode, nor the glacial pacing.

Mar 1, 2019 | Full Review…

For a show about people looking up to the stars in wonder, its gaze is disappointingly earthbound.

Oct 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Even with a thruster rocket full of inspirational motivations and overly meticulous visuals, The First really doesn't have anything new to say, up close or in the big picture.

Dec 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Packed with corny symbolism and inexplicable cutaways.

Dec 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The First: Season 1

  • Jun 17, 2020
    I really wanted to like this show. But I just can't get past Sean Penn.
  • Jun 07, 2020
    Loved the emotional ride and character development.
  • Apr 20, 2020
    For a show about the first people to Mars, there was not enough actual going to Mars. It really is that simple. The last episode should have been spliced with the first to be the first episode, with the rest of that interpersonal and political drama thrown in later as flashbacks. This show taunts you on Amazon Prime with an image of space and the claim that it's a show about the first people to Mars. It then proceeds to show exactly two clips of 'Mars' throughout the entire season, and about as much space as there is between a super model's butt cheeks. Abhorrent garbage, do not recommend, not even if you have the time to waste.
  • Mar 05, 2020
    I had not heard any buzz about "The First" but I love sci-fi so I tuned in. I was grabbed in the first episode by the events (with undertones to the not too distant past). I thought the casting of Sean Penn was either brilliant or a monumental misstep. Turns out it was brilliant and maybe his best work to date. I am so saddened the series has been cancelled (though the second year would be much more difficult to write). I can understand that the ratings were not great as this was an adult series geared to adults and so few of us are left. I loved the feelings and human interactions (and realistic portrayal of dysfunction) and did not miss 5 explosions per minute or cgi robot battles one bit. "The First" is an artistic, somber series with depth. Such things appear still--even boring--to those who lack the wisdom or are too shallow to explore what is underneath.
  • Jan 06, 2020
    It was good it hasn't good hearts to it but there is a whole nother or other store in like with it that is the most useless worst thing in the world I cannot stand it I I would watch it if it wasn't for that storyline with the guy at his daughter I mean that was
  • Jul 27, 2019
    Loved every episode...Sean Penn was awesome...I hope there is a season two...I binged and watched every episode in one night!!! It's a must watch show!!
  • Jul 07, 2019
    I love space stuff. This is not terrible. At times very engaging. But the pacing is glacial and there are so many solemn scenes of people strapping on spacesuits, strapping into seats or just staring at the horizon that it becomes a bit of a joke. I'm going to stick with it - its sort of worth the effort. But the show may take itself a bit too seriously.
  • Jun 10, 2019
    This series is intelligent, poignant and well written. The characters are well drawn, deep and engaging. No wonder it was cancelled! I only wish it was on Netflix. I mean they give a series a chance to find its audience!
  • Jun 07, 2019
    The First was an emotional roller-coaster of human emotion on an epic scale. What pleasantly surprised me was that the impending space mission thread through the episodes is treated almost as a sub-plot while the characters deal with very real and very well captured and well explored issues. On more than one occasion, the series caught me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as we explore the heartbreaking relationship between Penn's main character, his deceased wife and their daughter. All three deliver outstanding performances along with the ever strong Natascha McElhone in an inspirational supporting role. As much as I'd love to see this back for a second season, it would be a beautiful end to a fantastic run of episodes.
  • Apr 22, 2019
    Its just not your expecting its more of a family drama, drug addiction, suicide , father daughter relationship. the mars aspect seem like and afterthought. It is quite slow paced maybe 5-6 episodes may have have helped 8 was to much for this drawn out drama.

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