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The Expanse… July 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Anyone been watching The Expanse? I managed to pick up a copy second hand from the US and I’m kind of impressed. I read the first and second books in the sequence on which the television show is based a few years back and they were pretty good depicting a reasonably believable future Solar System. The television series has been extremely close to the books so far, impressively so, and to a point that I’m not going to read anymore of them for fear of spoiling the programme.

By almost every yardstick – bar some perhaps wobbly acting from one of the leads initially – thought that improved, it is better than I’d have expected. Not least the lived in feel of the universe it depicts – at least visually. Sure, there’s some oddities and some short cuts and at times one can see the constraints on budget – the expansiveness is more a goal than an outcome. But broadly speaking it’s well done.

One thing though I particularly like is its inclination, at least in the first five episodes not to rewrite the US War of Independence. Too often the situation is always one where Earth’s colonies or outposts break away. That in itself isn’t unrealistic. But the political complexion of the independence forces is too often one that ignores class in favour of ‘independence’ as a concept in and of itself. Just like the US WofI says you… but still. But here there’s a real sense of class and also of the cross class coalitions that function in independence struggles.

I hope it can keep this up.

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1. Robert - July 29, 2017

As far as I’m concerned The Expanse is the best scifi on TV since Firefly; in fact, I’d say that the holy trinity of essential scifi comprises Babylon 5 (S1-4), Firefly and The Expanse.

It’s not perfect; there are aspects of the story – essential to the plot – that I really wish weren’t there, but this is more personal preference than anything else. Overall it’s a decent, actual-use-of-proper-physics (mostly) story that’s got great graphics, decent characters and a story that whizzes along merrily. The lack of fantasy handwaving like FTL, teleporting and the like is pretty rare, and I’m always happy to see it done well. In fact, there are only a few series where I’ve seen it done properly, and three of the four are anime (Moonlight Mile, Planetes and Space Brothers). The other is the can’t-recommend-it-enough Star Cops.

I’ve seen up to the end of season two of The Expanse, and am more than happy with the result (caveat: haven’t read the books, so no axe to grind).

If there’s one series that comes even close at the moment, it’s Dark Matter. I commend that series too to any who have yet to see it.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2017

Very good to hear Robert et all re the positive thoughts on The Expanse. For a SyFy show its certainly very strong and while its early days yet for me it’s certainly moving into my top ten of sf shows rapidly.

Thanks to you all re steers on other shows and film adding them to list.

I’ve mixed feelings re that haircut DS!

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2. dublinstreams - July 29, 2017

Can’t take yermans hair seriously, finished Season 1, Dark Matter is much more fun. A heist of the week show that survives using every sci-fi concept ever.

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3. Liberius - July 29, 2017

One thing though I particularly like is its inclination, at least in the first five episodes not to rewrite the US War of Independence.

The template it’s working from seems more to be the cold war with Earth being America, Mars being the Soviet Union and the belt being a bit like the NAM; albeit that isn’t an entirely accurate way of describing the story.

I’m not hugely keen though on the quasi-Jamaican accents that some of the characters sport, doesn’t entirely feel right.

On Dark Matter, it’s an enjoyable watch, however it’s overly reliant on recycling well-worn clichés like alternative ‘dark side’ versions of characters and McGuffinish technology that has to be contrived away in order to keep the plot going. It’s also got major plot elements that enter one episode and then get swept away easily soon after. All in all it lacks coherence.

Killjoys on the other hand doesn’t have Dark Matter’s plotting problems and is less reliant on cliché (although not immune to it). Much more coherent and tightly plotted, which partly comes down to having less episodes, and to better writing generally.

All three though are good watches, and great for anyone wanting to play ‘name that obscure Canadian actor’, and for spotting oddly shaped liqueur bottles the props department have repurposed for that futuristic feel; Chambord and St-Germain get a good look in

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4. EWI - July 29, 2017

The TV series is starting to wobble, in my opinion (the fate of nearly all TV book adaptations, when they start improvising to save costs). The ‘Bobby Draper’ actor in the last season is horrendously miscast.

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WorldbyStorm - July 29, 2017

I haven’t got there yet but I can see how it can happen. The number of shows which have fell apart as they go on (Fringe being Exhibit A)….

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