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10 August 2018 @ 02:29 pm
The Expanse  
Since I haven't really gushed that much about The Expanse, here is a spoiler-free recommendation post in order to openly praise it and get more people to watch this glorious science fiction series that deserves more attention.




The Expanse is a science fiction television show based on the book series by James S.A. Corey (the collaborative pen name of two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), and it originally aired on Syfy but has since been picked up for a fourth season by Amazon. This space opera follows humanity in the future where, due to the lack of interstellar travel, we've colonized our solar system which have split into three particular factions -- Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid belt -- and primarily focuses on the tensions they have with each other, possibly on the verge of war with one another, while at the same time gradually discovering something mysterious that can very well threaten the change the existence of human evolution.

Much like how the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica revitalized the genre, The Expanse continues that streak with being a story about human beings, exploring the complexity of our interpersonal connections, of understanding the conflict of our political, cultural, ethical, and ideological differences, and how we can come together despite these differences in great times of need.



I discovered the show not too long ago myself, just before the third season premiered, and I'm so glad I did because everything about this show is precisely what I want in a science fiction series. Ever since the absence of Battlestar Galactica and most recently Dark Matter, this has filled a particular emptiness in my soul that has been missing for some time in regards to finding some good, rich scifi. From the acting to the production value and the story being told, here are some reasons why I, personally, believe The Expanse is absolutely fantastic and is worth checking out.
The rich world-building. From the very first scene of the first episode you're left with a sense of curiosity and wondering, it draws you in immediately and never falters in capturing your interest, and it just builds from there. It's safe to say that the world-building in this show is phenomenal in more ways than one. It is rich and enthralling because it doesn't need to announce itself, it just takes you along for the ride. While some exposition can occur, it never holds your hand and never treats the audience like they're dumb and need explanations for everything. And even though it's probably way more elaborate in the books, the show does a fantastic job with just allowing the audience drink in the atmosphere and to observe what is going on without being told every five minutes. Furthermore, the way everything is shown is done quite beautifully. There's so much attention to detail. It's what attracted me to the series in the first place, right from the first episode.

Diverse cast. Aside from a few characters, the entire cast is primarily non-white, having a mix of multiracial actors among not just the main characters but also recurring and minor roles, as well. This is an important factor for many people who are looking for shows that don't have the tired stereotypical "mostly white cast with the token minority character" trope. Science fiction, at least on television, is one of the few genres out there that have this kind of multicultural representation, most recently with shows like Dark Matter, Sense8 and Killjoys, and this show is no exception. It's also very deliberate, too, since the books themselves make it very clear that most of the characters aren't white, and the show reflects that by casting appropriately. One of the prime examples of this was finding the right actress to portray Bobbie Draper for the second season, which it's been claimed that Syfy executives tried to convince the casting producers of the show to not focus on race, but they did anyway because they wanted to do right by the book character.

Furthermore, practically all the characters are incredibly well-written, fully fleshed out with complexities and nuances to who they are as individuals and their motivations that even the most minor characters will make an impression on the audience. Plus, I guarantee once you get introduced to Chrisjen Avasarala (portrayed by the fabulous Shohreh Aghdashloo), you'll love her instantly.

Putting the science in science fiction. One of the many praises The Expanse has is how it utilizes certain aspects of real science that oftentimes is ignored or isn't really thought about much in most science fiction stories. In truth, science fiction is just mere speculative fiction, where it's an open sandbox for exploration of the unknown. It's expected that we're going to have to suspend belief a little bit when it comes to this genre, but sometimes that can only go so far before it starts getting a little hokey or ridiculous and can be hard to take it seriously. With The Expanse, however, they pay special attention to detail and physics when using scientific accuracy that correlates with the story they're telling, from how the varying levels of gravity affects people differently and how human biology can be altered with long exposure to atmospheres that aren't like Earths, to even simply understanding the physics of space travel from one planet to another that doesn't rely on faster than light travel. It is so particular that there are plenty of videos discussing this topic at length on the realism of its science in the series, and how it doesn't feel like the typical "scifi magic" that we're so used to seeing of this genre. It's a great combination of being grounded in reality and still having that curiosity of the possible future and the mystery surrounding the unknown. It's a testament to what great research does to enhance the story instead of merely hand-waving it to, "well, it happens just because." Grounding a fantastical element with an already existing aspect of our world makes it more believable, and The Expanse, both the books and the show, does this rather well in a way that we haven't really seen before.

The soundtrack. Composed by Clinton Shorter, the score soundtrack for The Expanse perfectly sets the tone and mood of what is happening, immersing the audience with the story and, much like what Bear McCreary did for BSG, it complements the atmosphere that is being presented on the screen. I highly recommend giving it a listen, at least the score for the first season.

Quality production value. It's pretty evident just based on any footage you see that the show has incredible production quality, from not just the writing and direction but from the sets to the special effects; designing not just spaceships and planets but also cities, civilizations, technology, and everything else in between. It all comes together perfectly. Of course, it's expensive as hell, but the final product makes it all worth it.

The S1 trailer. As I said, this isn't a spoilery post, so to get an idea of what to expect from the show itself I do recommend looking at the first season trailer and the first season story featurette trailer. You won't regret it.


In Conclusion: The Expanse is probably one of the best science fiction shows we've had in a long time, and that's not even an exaggeration. It mirrors the political space opera that the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica was and amps it up to eleven with being an adaptation of a book series that is equally as phenomenal, if not more. As someone who has a liking to these kinds of scifi stories, The Expanse is a breath of fresh air I didn't realize we needed in this particular genre, and it has rejuvenated something that has been missing in science fiction for a long while now. From rich storytelling to phenomenal performances to the gorgeous visuals and effects, this is something special that shouldn't be overlooked. I highly and definitely recommend this show, especially for anyone who loves scifi and wants something new and different to watch.


As a sidenote, since The Expanse was picked up by Amazon for a fourth season, anyone who wants to support the show (as y'all should because as I mentioned it's absolutely amazing) I suggest getting an Amazon Prime account if you don't already have one and watch it when it comes out. The Expanse got a second chance at life, and it deserves more seasons to continue telling the story.
 
 
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Profiterole_profiterole_ on August 11th, 2018 12:43 pm (UTC)
Here, we have it on Netflix, but they don't have S3 yet. And I suppose they won't get S4 since it'll go to Amazon.
Renée: Sharon Valerii. Identity.rogueslayer452 on August 11th, 2018 05:55 pm (UTC)
Which really sucks. :( I feel like they should make exceptions for those who don't have Amazon Prime accounts for them to stream on other services, at least at first. But I know it's about the competition between both streaming services so, y'know.
katie: jj | in bluereys on August 11th, 2018 03:37 pm (UTC)
I've heard so many good things about it and I think this is the nudge I needed to finally watch it. It looks right up my alley. You sold me on it! Excited to try it out :)
Renée: Inara Serra. Smile.rogueslayer452 on August 11th, 2018 05:59 pm (UTC)
Yay, that's awesome! I'm happy that this post was the final deciding factor for you to finally check out the show. :D It's such a fantastic show, and I'm sure you'll end up really enjoying it. :D
Laura: Killjoysviolateraindrop on August 11th, 2018 05:06 pm (UTC)
When Amazon picked it up, I wanted to start watching it with my mother. It is not on Prime Germany though :(
I hope once we get closer to the release of the new season, it'll be on there, too.

I kinda of slept on the show when it first started. I heard positive things, but not that often, so I never bothered checking it out until I hear about Amazon picking it up. Now I'm waiting...
Renée: Dark Matter. Two.rogueslayer452 on August 11th, 2018 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm hoping so, too.

I also slept on it as well, initially. Granted a lot of my show-watching habits surround me needing to be in the right mood to start something. I had heard a lot about The Expanse and how it was the next BSG-type scifi show, which definitely caught my interest, but I didn't start getting into it until this year, and I'm so happy I did. I was gutted when I read that Syfy cancelled it, but was incredibly relieved as I kept hearing about how effective the fan campaign was and when Amazon picked it up. Which I'm hoping has more seasons because I want to see where the journey goes as it continues to adapt the books.

(Speaking of, I'm also going to be starting the books soon, too.)

Edited at 2018-08-11 05:23 pm (UTC)
Driver Picks the Musicbatmarg on August 13th, 2018 09:06 pm (UTC)
I've really got to catch up on the recent season. I've been spending some time seeing how to cancel prime if I get it for just the season (assuming my friend won't let me borrow her account, which I think she will).
Renée: Defiance. Irisa Nyria.rogueslayer452 on August 14th, 2018 07:19 pm (UTC)
The third season is so good. Like, I knew it would be, but it still never ceases to blow me away with what they're doing. It makes me eager to start reading the books.

Yeah, I feel like for many people who don't have a Prime account (or don't want one) the only way to go about watching it would be to ask permission from someone they know if they can borrow their account. I'm hoping that there might be alternative methods in the future, but this seems to be the only solution other than signing up yourself.
giallarhorn: mushishigiallarhorn on August 15th, 2018 12:19 pm (UTC)
I think it's the first scifi show we've had in a looonnnggg time that was properly about space, y'know? Like yeah, we had other shows set in space and blah, but this is the one where space plays a very real role- the Belters have different biology than Earth and Mars inhabitants, Mars and the Belt have wildly different cultures evolved around their environment, etc.
Renée: Dark Matter. Five.rogueslayer452 on August 16th, 2018 08:57 am (UTC)
Exactly! I love that The Expanse focuses on showing us the terrifying beauty that is space, and making it within our own solar system that we're already familiar with instead of going out into a far away distant galaxy. Furthermore, I loved that they explored something that we hardly see much of in this genre. What fascinated me instantly was understanding that, oh yeah, human beings wouldn't be the same after spending their entire lives on an atmosphere that isn't on Earth. The Belters with their lanky, slightly elongated bodies and brittle bones and deformities because of the atmosphere they're born into that isn't like Earth's, that was something that attracted me instantly to the show because it showed us the side effects of living on other planets that aren't Earth. We haven't seen much of that in science fiction since we're all meant to assume that everyone has it all figured out, but I like that this series doesn't sugarcoat it. They make the science behind it fascinating and terrifying and an excellent way of drawing you into the incredible world-building.

That is excellent storytelling and it's one of the reasons why The Expanse is probably the best scifi series I've seen in a long, long time.
wheatearwheatear on August 15th, 2018 09:43 pm (UTC)
I watched the first season and enjoyed it, although I was disappointed by a character death that happened at the end of the season. The first episode of season 2 really didn't grab me though... It was all getting too dense. Is it worth continuing? Honestly I feel like the main guy is a protagonist I've seen a million times before.
Renée: Dark Matter. Two.rogueslayer452 on August 15th, 2018 09:48 pm (UTC)
It is absolutely worth continuing, omg. It is 100% the best science fiction show I've seen in a long time, and the story just goes into fantastic places. The show just gets better and better as it continues on. If nothing else, I also recommend reading the books as well, something I still need to do but they explain a lot more.

Honestly I feel like the main guy is a protagonist I've seen a million times before.

Which one? Holden or Miller?
wheatearwheatear on August 15th, 2018 09:51 pm (UTC)
Holden. The younger one, not the detective guy. He's so painfully generic.

But if it gets better as it goes on, I might give it another look!
Renée: Jessica Jones.rogueslayer452 on August 15th, 2018 10:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Holden takes some time to warm up too. I was really annoyed with him a lot of the time at first, but there is some growth to him, it just takes a bit. But I can understand your feelings in regards to him. Thankfully though, he's not the only main character and there are so many others that get to share the importance of the plot and screentime.

It's honestly such a good show, like, this may be my bias talking, but I cannot recommend it enough to continue watching. :)
haebin: libraryhaebin on August 16th, 2018 01:57 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaaand, I will put this on my to-watch-list as well. :>
Renée: Inara Serra. Smile.rogueslayer452 on August 16th, 2018 05:14 pm (UTC)
Yay! :D

It won't regret it, believe me. :)