The Expanse (SyFy)


#201

Wow, that finale was fantastic, though I am hating myself for staying up to midnight to watch it “live”. Let’s see… [B]spoiler-free observations[/B] first:

Was that the first time we had seen the opening credits? Or was that just new? In the very first episode there was an opening-credits thing, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as extensive as this was. And in the subsequent episodes I think we got a title-card and that’s about it. The credits that they showed this time were sort of a mixed bag – some of them were a nice intro to humanity’s expansion into the solar system, and some of them looked like they were going for a “fake” look, sort of like GoT, which I didn’t think fit too well. No big deal one way or the other.

I liked the opening sequence showing Julie Mao’s POV of the whole thing. It managed to clarify a few things, though not anything that was a massive mystery or that really needed clarifying. It was just a decent recap of the season. There was one aspect of it that actually raised some questions for me, and I’ll address that in spoiler tags later.

The Earth-based stuff was mostly “meh” with the exception of the cool pencil thing. The “twist” with the villains was not all that twisty, and I do kind of wonder why - with all the obvious care that has gone into their evil plot - the bad guys left such an obvious breadcrumb trail back to the shipyard. Especially when we’ve seen that it’s not too difficult to alter “drive signatures”.

The acting was a little spotty in places. The guy that plays Holden (Steven Strait) had some really flat deliveries here and there, as did Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and Naomi (Dominique Tipper). I don’t really blame the actors so much as the director - it seems like these were lines that would have been easy to fix with one or two more takes. Maybe they were running out of time/money. That criticism aside, the acting was fine overall.

I really enjoyed their (fairly) realistic take on radiation poisoning and I’m really pleased that they didn’t decide to go with some cheesy green glow or whatever to hand-hold the audience into knowing that bad radiation-stuff was going down. Miller’s utter confusion as to what had just happened and the fact that there were no immediate effects was great.

I continue to like Amos’ amoral actions. In the books he is aware that he needs an external moral compass, and that is reflected in the show as well, but the show-Amos utterly sociopathic attitude towards killing and corpses goes a bit beyond Amos in the books.

And the Miller/Holden pairing was just as good in the TV show as it was in the books. Their discussion in the game parlor (and really the direction in that whole scene) was great. And I liked Miller’s gleeful interaction with the “gangster” guards. “Let’s get this man some medical attention!”

Just in case

The one thing I didn’t understand with the whole Julie Mao recap was the fate of her message to Anderson. Her first message obviously got through because Fred Johnson sent Holden & Co. out to the coordinates she sent. But the second message asking for help, sent from Ceres… why wasn’t that acted upon? Did Anderson not get it? Got it and decided not to act on it?

I’m very pleased that they significantly toned down the whole “space zombies” thing. That was easily the weakest thing in the book. Simply making them desperate sick people was effective without making them seek out the living to puke on or whatever.


#202

Arrggh - I want this show on something I can watch!


#203

Wow that was both brutal and awesome for a season finale. They give you just enough to kind of understand whats going on now but save the full monty for next season. Every character had their moments but Miller and Amos stole the show.
I am really impressed with this 1st season of Expanse. It shows that Syfy is capable of good quality sci-fi, if they really put forth the effort. I hope more people catch on to this show, it deserves a bigger audience. The only down side is that we likely have a year, at least, before new episodes air.


#204

The finale was my favorite episode of the season. I’d heard good things about the show going in, but it took a few episodes for me to get why it was so well regarded. Now I have to figure out if I really want to wait for season 2, when I could just dive into the novels right away.


#205

This is easily the best science fiction series we’ve had in more than 20 years.


#206

Yes it was. Now to the real question implicit in your comment: is this better than [I]ST:TNG[/I]?

Yes and no. [I]Star Trek[/I] gave us a future to be hopeful for. That hopeful view of the future is not without its immense value. That’s because the one shown in [I]The Expanse[/I], as dystopian as it may be at times, has an uncomfortable ring of truth to much of it.

Whatever the case, Season 1 of [I]The Expanse[/I] was impressive execution, with a [I]relatively[/I] modest budget, on what is clearly an exceptional underlying novel.

I am not sure that SF will be the same after [I]The Expanse[/I]. Like [I]ASoIaF[/I], its effect will ripple outwards on the genre and effect all of it far beyond its initial reach. My guess is that we are about to see a hard turn to the HARD side of SF in the coming decade (or two) as a result of what we have just seen (and the success that is certain to follow it).

On another note, as I am now listening to [I]Leviathan Wakes[/I], I cannot help but see some of the parallels in the structure of the story with GRRM’s story-telling mode in [I]ASoIaF[/I]. The symmetry of it all coming from GRRM’s former assistant made me smile.


#207

My guess is that SyFy is going to need a [I]much[/I] bigger hall when they are hyping Season 2 of [I]The Expanse[/I] at the next San Diego Comic-Con.


#208

I can’t think of anything better.


#209

Shouldn’t it rather be “is this better than Babylon 5?”? B5 is the first TV show I can recall that actually had proper story arcs which spanned the entire lifespan of the series, the fact they kept that going for 5 seasons was astonishing. A few odd casting choices aside that was more thrilling and dramatic TV than Star Trek ever managed to show imo (for the record, I am not talking about the B5 spin-offs but the main series).

Have yet to see The Expanse though.


#210

So, honest question, should I keep watching if:

1- Didn’t like the books. Actively disliked is a more accurate description.
2- Didn’t care for the first two episodes. Didn’t actively dislike them, just found them dull.
3- I think the show looks awful and it’s not very well made production wise (based on those two episodes). I can easily get over this, though. Not a biggie.

It seems I might be missing something, since this is getting so good word of mouth here. I was giving it a chance, but now my wife refuses to watch any more, so this is going to come out of my (not extensive) free alone time.

Is there anything substantially different after episode 2 or is the series mostly the same? Did somebody find the first two episodes dull but ended up liking it a lot?

PS: I’m asking because I had a similar experience with GoT. I think the first half of the first season is an unmitigated disaster in terms of acting, shooting, writing and pacing, but then the series picked up and became really good once they figured out how to do it properly. I’m asking whether there’s a similar shift here. Otherwise it might just not be for me.

PSS: What are you guys on about? The best sci-fi series of the last 20 years is [I]Planetes[/I], hands down!


#211

The series definitely picks ups after the first two episodes. They have a bit of character development and scene setting to get through early on as the politics of the era needs to be established in order for anything to make sense. The real turning point of the series is episode 4. Once they get there, the series starts to really take off. While the series does not follow the books exactly, it is close enough that if you didnt like the books because of the plot then I doubt you will like The Expanse. As far as the production values, most people Ive heard have been impressed with the production values, especially for a tv show. That complaint makes me wonder if youre just predisposed to not like the series. Anyway the show does get better especially from episode 4 and beyond and I agree its the best hard sci fi Ive seen on TV in a very long time.


#212

I’d say bail on it. I was all aboard after the first episode, if you didn’t care for it maybe it’s not for you. You may however want to stick it out and watch 3 and 4. rshetts is totally right on episode 4.

Whaaat, I think this is one of the better looking sci-fi shows and the fact that it’s put out by Syfy channel still boggles me.

Planetes is fantastic, been meaning to reread it. It was out of print for awhile, but Dark Horse put out an omnibus of it recently. Maybe I’ll rewatch the anime instead.


#213

Anyone else remember this dude?

Was hoping they were going somewhere with this, but I guess not.


#214

B5 still hade the “story of the week” setup, especially in the first season. In contrast, shows like Thrones, Breaking Bad and now Expanse are telling one uninterrupted story which just happens to be split into smaller chunks.

Which is better? I guess that depends on what you like. Me, I like this kind of long-movie-as-a-series storytelling, and there’s in my mind really no comparing it to the episodic type of show.


#215

If you suspect you might be missing something, then watch through the end of episode 4. If you aren’t bought-in at that point, then you’re never going to be.

But if you didn’t care for the books, then I suspect you’re not going to like the show either.


#216

All right. I’ll keep watching then!!! Thanks!

And as for why I think the show looks like crap… Well, the show looks like this:

Which is blue on blue on blue. With a little bit of green to spice things up! Daring!

Basically crappy cheap color correcting that can be done by anybody with barely functioning eyes.

Contrast with these images from BSG (a show I liked how it looked, at the beginning -it got bad later):

Oh, skintones!!! Oranges!!! Even contrast and, God forbid, some whites! People who don’t look like they are dead… :P

Yeah I might be oversensitive to this, but I worked as a colorist for some years, so I can’t avoid it… The expanse has a very cheap look (which is baffling cause the FX are good, so it’s not like they didn’t have budget for this).


#217

If those images are from what I think they are, you better remove them rather fast. This forum has little (and rightly so) patience with piracy.


#218

They are from a google search! (expanse screenshots)


#219

Ah :-)


#220