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The Expanse: A Story-Driven Sci-Fi

posted Sep 20, 2017, 1:20 PM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Korey Alder, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Posted September 20th, 2017


Frequenters of the Nite Crier by now have likely noticed that the majority of reviews which I have written are for science fiction content, and this is true. I am definitely a fan of the genre, and therefore I am always looking for new and entertaining science fiction films and shows. Continuing this tradition, today I’m going to be talking about a relatively new show from the SyFy channel, The Expanse.

   

The Expanse is set several hundred years in the future, in a time when the UN controls the Earth and Moon, Mars is an independent military power, and the asteroid belt is mined to provide for these two superpowers. The story revolves around several “belters” who are trying to unravel a conspiracy which could lead to a war between Earth, Mars, and the belt.


While the characters of this series are somewhat underdeveloped compared to some other shows, they still manage to be unique, and the varied backgrounds make them engaging enough to be entertaining. Where The Expanse truly shines is in the intricate plot, excellent special effects, and attention to detail.


The storyline is much more complex than in most series, with many seemingly unrelated events tying together as the show progresses. The writers also avoid making it clear who the good guys and the bad guys actually are. The viewer is given little more information than the characters are, allowing one to follow along and get engaged in the story.


Because of the series’ shorter seasons (10 episodes in season 1), it is obvious that more resources were available to improve the CGI and special effects, making the overall experience feel closer to a movie than television show.


Finally, the attention to detail is impressive as well, and this is reflected in plot elements as well as special effects. On the plot side of things, the writers avoid many of the common cliches and tropes which recur in many science fiction films. For example, after going to much effort to gain an access key to the storage locker on the protagonists’ stolen ship, they are presented with a 24 digit password screen. In another instance, the characters spend an entire episode drifting through space, repairing their ship and trying to survive. They finally manage to repair their antenna, with only an hour of oxygen left, only to have their SOS detected by an enemy ship, rather than the friend they intended. These small difficulties encountered along their travels make the show hard to predict and that much more interesting.


These things come together to make The Expanse an absorbing and immersive story and a definite must-watch for science fiction fans.

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