I was grieving over the news that my favorite science fiction show Defiance wasn’t returning for a fourth season, but there is a show that I’m really interested in watching. “The Expanse” is a bold space opera that takes place 200 years in the future when most of our solar system is colonized. Earth is under the authority of the U.N. and war is brewing between Mars and the people who work the mining outposts. I did watch the first episode, but do I feel that The Expanse will fill the gap left by Defiance? Rev up your space freighter and follow me to the Canterbury.
The Expanse is based on the novels of James S.A. Corey which is the pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first novel, Leviathan Wakes, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
There are ten episodes scheduled for season one. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby wrote the pilot and serve as writers and Showrunner for The Expanse with Naren Shankar under the direction of Terry McDonough.
S01 E01: Dulcinea
The series opens with a woman trapped on an abandoned spaceship. How she got there is not revealed, but her wealthy family is searching for Julie Mao (Florence Faivre). Julie is the daughter of Jules Pierre Mao, the head of Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile Corporation, which is one of the biggest interplanetary shipping empires in the solar system. Detective Miller (Thomas Jane) is a weary and hardened cop who lives on Ceres, a dwarf planet that lies between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. Miller is given the job of finding Mao and returning her to her family on Luna which so happens to be our very own moon.
While Miller tries to learn more about the rebellious heiress, an ice freighter, called the Canterbury, has just received a distress signal from a fellow freighter. When ship’s officer, Jim Holden (Steven Strait), ship’s pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), ship’s engineer Naomi Nagata (Dominique tipper, and ship mechanic Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) are sent on the rescue mission, there is no one there to rescue on the damaged Scopuli. They realize too late that the call for help was a trap.
Even in the future with mankind spread across the solar system, the old sins remain: greed, war, rebellion and pain. The Earthers, under the control of the U.N., are living off the blood, sweat and tears of the Belters, workers who live on the mining outposts that line the asteroid belt. The Belters are looking to break free of the oppression forced upon them by their overlords. Water and air is delved out in meager portions and air filters are seldom cleaned. Life on Ceres is brutal because the people have been born into, and live in low gravity. This life in low gravity affects human development in many ways and there are many deformities. The Belters are gangly, elongated and Earth’ gravity would crush them.
The planet Mars is an independent military power that shares no loyalty with either Earth or the miners, but they have to follow the rules of the UN which is under the direction of a master politician, Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashlod). In the first episode we watch Avasarala allow a captive Belter renegade to suffer the effects of earth’s gravity until he decides to talk. Avasarala considers Earth the cradle of humanity and will do all in her power to protect the planet from Belter revolutionists and Martian separatists.
There is a sex scene in zero gravity between Holden (Steven Strait) and Ade (Kristen Hager) which I have to say left nothing to the imagination and makes one wonder where they hid the harnesses on the naked actors. Chad Coleman who played Tyreese on “The Walking Dead” will also be in this series. He plays Fred Johnson, Chief of Operations at Tycho Station construction platform. He shows up in episode six.
I was hooked on the first episode of The Expanse and I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this new series. The acting, plot, and the special effects are kick-ass great. The future, we discover, is a mirror image of our present situation; the same old drama, except it takes place in space. You can watch the first episode of “The Expanse” on Demand now, or on Monday, December 14 at 10 p.m. on the Syfy channel. Episode 2: The Big Empty will be shown on Tuesday, December 15th at 10 p.m.