The Expanse, by SyFy
Genres: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Hard Sci Fi, Noir
Battlestar Galactica Meets Blade Runner
An excellent first season for what promises to be a fantastic series. Based on the novels by James S. A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), this SyFy production is an exciting and original. The production values are almost top notch (basically just under HBO levels), the acting is largely excellent and the sets are well done. I’ve missed the bus on this excellent TV show until now, and am writing this little blurb up in order to hopefully draw attention to it for others who are similarly benighted.
I loved the set designs. I loved the vaguely crappy nature of the Belt, where Pachinko parlors and decidedly run-down brothels set the tone for this grim setting. Earth was high-tech and fancy- except that global warming has caused all the oceans to rise enormously and overpopulation has caused massive inequality. The space ships were pretty good too, with each one having it’s own unique design. Some ships were pristine and perfect while others were so run down they make the Millenium Falcon look like a respectable vehicle.
I have to complement the storytelling. The producers/writers did an excellent job of making me believe that anyone could die at any moment after the first few episodes where seemingly important characters died off every few milliseconds. The show made me feel for these doomed characters before their deaths, so when they suddenly died it made me nervous for all the still-living characters who I liked. (Think The Red Wedding, except this happened in the first season.) My one complaint was that this sense of suspense faded slightly by the end of the season.
I was left guessing about the twists and turns of the plot. I, an experienced SciFi nerd, couldn’t guess the plot in advanced of it happening. The clues were presented in such a cryptic fashion that I (and the heroes) couldn’t puzzle together the events of the plot until it was too late.
Now for the acting. Some of the actors did an excellent job. In particular I found Shohreh Aghdashloo, Thomas Jane and Wes Chatham were the most compelling of the main characters in their roles as Chrisjen Avasarala, Joe Miller and Amos Burton. The other characters were usually very compelling as well, but I found that sometimes that my suspension of disbelief slipped a little with stiff acting.
My complements to SyFy. Ever since Stargate Universe was cancelled I haven’t had a reason to tune in. The situation has certainly changed. Highly recommended.