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Though not a huge sci-fi fan, and perhaps one of the only things sci-fi related on this blog are Orphan Black and a handful of anime, I must admit there is something about this series. Be it because it has the diversity many crave when it comes to futuristic programming, or because it has a similar vibe to Star Wars or Star Trek, but minus alien species. Either way, it seems SyFy may have something here if a few matters get handled.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
As of the pilot, the focus is split between Detective Miller (Thomas Jane) who is your usual cop who is about justice, but not necessarily doing things about the book; James Holden (Steven Trait) who I would say is about a steady paycheck than making a name for himself; and Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) who, I believe, is the head of Earth’s UN.
As for the story, it seems during the time of the show Earth and Mars are the major players of the solar system and the belt is, well it almost seems like a 3rd world country in a way. You see, Earth is beautiful, technologically advanced, and like you see in most sci-fi films. As for Mars, we aren’t there much, but it is presented as a planet with a strong military. Then, when it comes to the belt, while the upper levels house those with money, the farther down you go, the poorer the people and conditions. Which is horrible for, with water and air a valuable commodity, it means the people who make sure Earth and Mars get such things, are treated like crap. In fact, just getting clean air is a problem and, those who live in the belt, named Belters, seemingly are slowly, but surely, being bred to be made to do those dirty, thankless jobs. Though the many genetic abnormalities could also come from various other issues due to second class citizenship.
I don’t know if it is because of seeing the original Star Wars, in marathon form, or what, but discovering this series right now just seems perfect. It takes away the oddness of alien species, and the question of how the first contact went, and just focuses on humans. Which, for me, was excellent for it allowed the show to address issues often talked about in modern time: the high chance of resources being depleted.
Though for many it isn’t a big deal, I quite love how there aren’t just people of color in the second class world of the Belt. Chrisjen is a high ranking official on Earth, and isn’t just a politician, who has no issue of using torture, but a sweet grandmother who makes you wanna go “awe.” And while, unfortunately, many of the other people of color on the show haven’t been made that memorable as of the first episode, fingers are crossed and hopes are high.
With a storyline dealing with impending war, due to resources; pirates; kidnapping; and love, to me it has a little something for fans of any genre.
While this is sci-fi, in the form of spaceships and settling on distant planets, I like that the show doesn’t go so far that you are left questioning how they invented that, how does that work, and are questioning the validity of what we are introduced to.
With the show splitting its focus 3+ ways, since it seems Julie Mao (Florence Faivre) could likely be another individual storyline, so comes the question if each storyline can maintain being interesting? For, if you watch Game of Thrones or movies which have multiple stories which may bridge at times, but mostly are individual, you will understand how frustrating it can be when you only connect with one, or two, characters, and pretty much are indifferent to everything else. Which I won’t say is a feeling I have at this moment, but there is always the possibility.
On The Fence
Outside of Detective Miller and James Holden, I honestly could not name a single person after finishing the first episode. Which very well could have came from being overwhelmed a bit, but I do feel that it may also speak for how much a lot of people were quickly introduced and no real foundation was built. I mean, most have a unique enough look to standout, though I did get James Holden and Dimitri Havelock (Jay Hernandez) confused often, but for the most part, I think with time the characters should stand out easily and hopefully become memorable.
Final Thought(s): Watch It
I don’t know if it is because there isn’t anything else to watch right now, or just because I don’t have a lot of experience with sci-fi media to compare it to, but something about The Expanse has my interest captured. To the point, I’m going to cover the episodes until the finale, which currently will be the 10th episode. Though, knowing SyFy, if it does well, as it seems they planned for with a 2nd season, it may stick around for a while. Which is fine by me for between war, pirates, social caste, and the many other topics this show covers, I feel like I might just be converted into a sci-fi fan.