• James Hewlett

The Expanse


I was going to write about The Expanse today, but because of everything that went down yesterday we didn’t get a chance to watch the new episode so I can’t really talk about that too much. Fuck it, the new season just started, this is timely and relevant even if I can’t talk about the most recent bit.

I love this show, I really really wish and hope more people would check it out. The elevator pitch is ‘It’s like Game of Thrones but in space.’ And that makes sense as one of the writing duo that makes up the author James S.A. Corey was actually a writing assistant for George RR Martin at one point.

I wrote about the book series back in December when I finished the latest novel but today I wanted to focus a little more on the show. This isn’t going to be a long post though.

The SyFy original series, which is made available globally on Netflix some time after the season wraps up and I believe is on Amazon Prime in the US, is a really good adaption. The show is an adaption of the series as a whole, not a book to book analog. This works to its benefit as they are not constricted to telling an entire books worth of story per season and can rearrange plot points as necessary for the pacing of the show. Certain characters and plots are hinted at or down right introduced much earlier and some a pushed back or reworked. We see a lot of scenes that we don’t from the novels due to the style the prose was written in, the first book for instance we see entirely from alternating POV chapters of two characters. There are clearly other leads in the story and many of them become POV characters in later books, but in the show we have the benefit of being able to get into their heads earlier and see things from a different perspective.

The pacing of the show can feel a little disjointed at times, especially in season one when we might spend an entire episode in a very slow noir style investigation intercut with flashbacks to many many years ago followed by an episode of balls to the wall action and craziness, but I really think it can be forgiven as you move on because they were doing a really good job of establishing a fully realised and fleshed out world for our characters to live in. By the start of season three anyone who has been watching completely understands the different dynamics, cultures and characteristics Earthers, Martians and Belters and how very different they are despite all being humans with a common ancestral background.

The actors portraying the characters in the show are all fantastic and while in one or two cases their physical descriptions might be slightly different from that of the novels they all completely imbibe the characters. When I’m reading the novels now and Amos is in the scene I can’t picture anyone other that Wes Chatham, Shohren Aghdashloo IS Chrisjen Avasarala, no one else could ever play that character.

They lucked out with a couple of actors and ended up beefing up their roles, either by keeping them on longer than they appeared in the books or by combining a few minor characters together to create a kind of amalgam character who shows up earlier than her book counterpart. It keeps knowledgable fans such as me guessing and the show runners aren’t afraid to throw some curve balls and change up plot lines sometimes. I am completely in favour of this, especially as the books writers are also in the writers room for the show too so keep all the characters voices very authentic.

I really love this world and I hope the show does well enough to continue on, as season three begins they have covered up through two thirds of the second novel and there is some really crazy shit coming up that I can’t wait to see how and if they handle it on screen. They’ve also seeded plots that don’t appear until the fifth book and beyond so I really hope the show continues. With the international distribution deals they’ve made it does give me some hope and ScFy seem like a forward thinking network that understands modern TV viewers, especially those who are watching genre shows, aren’t sitting down and watching shows as they air. I just hope they’re getting what they need back in order to continue making the show.

If you like really interesting TV with lots of intrigue, be sure to check this out. If you are put off by science fiction think back to what you thought of fantasy before you fell in love with Game of Thrones. Give this show that same opportunity and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

A couple of fun posts planned for the weekend, come back then and check them out.

#scifi #tvshows #netflix #books #adaptation #nerdy #fiction #embarrassment #entertainment #reviews

©2017 by James Hewlett.