Over Christmas my father and I were exchanging comments on television shows and movies we’ve been binge watching over our vacation, when he mentioned a new SyFy television series called The Expanse. It wasn’t the interesting plot involving the 200 year in the future relationship strain between Earth, Mars and the Asteroid belt inhabitants that piqued my interests. No, it was one simple statement.
It has the potential to be better than Battlestar Galatica.
Now that? Is the best compliment I could ever imagine coming out of my father.
And after watching the first few episodes? He could be right. And if you’re not watching, you may be missing out on one of the best science fiction television series in years.
The Expanse is based on a book series written by James S. A. Corey, which takes place 200 years in the future when humans have colonized the solar system. Earth is now run by the United Nations and Mars while settled, is still working on terraforming and creating a safe haven similar to Earth for it’s residents. While Earth seems to be stuck in the same rut it was 200 years prior, during our time, Mars is full of residents focused on technological advancements, including stealth technology, to brighten their planets future and safety. And in between the two? The Asteroid belt, occupied by belters. They are easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. Artificial gravity has wreaked havoc on their spines and bodies, causing them to taller, many with long thin fingers. They are the workers, who due to their physical and financial differences tend to be shunned by both Earth residents as well as those on Mars.
Tensions are high between the three groups, but things are about to get worse. Canterbury, a long haul space ship whose mission is to collect ice and deliver it to the planets is destroyed. The survivors, led by Jim Holden (Steven Strait) are stranded in space, trying not only to survive but to warn Earth who is behind the attacks. Meanwhile an Earth detective (although born a belter) Josephus Miller (played by Thomas Jane) is asked to locate a missing woman. And through his hunt he discovers some truth is being hidden. And this truth? May just be the end of humane existence.
The Expanse, even after only four episodes, is an incredible story. It deals with classism, socioeconomic struggles (especially seen over water and economic stature) and what occurs when communication breaks down between super powers. Beyond the broad over themes, it also boast a phenomenal cast, whose synergy with one another make their own personal and group struggles believable and engaging. The series is also filmed more like a movie than a television show. The atmosphere, camera work and sets are far better than your average Syfy show and engross the viewer into the time and location.
While it is still to new of a show to determine if The Expanse will one day will be at the same caliber as Battlestar Galatica, it truly does have the potential.