When Syfy announced that The Expanse is the most ambitious series in the cable and satellite channel's history, they really weren't kidding around.
The epic space drama (and we don't use those words lightly) premiers mid December in all its glory, although the first episode will be available ahead of time on VOD on Monday Nov. 23, and is totally worth checking out.
Based on the best selling book series of the same name (more on that in a minute), The Expanse follows the fortunes of a disparate collection of individuals on a journey across the solar system some 200 years in Earth's future.
Cast names attached to the series include Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Florence Faivre, Hawk Ostby, Mark Fergus and Naren Shankar.
So what's the future like? Well, the icecaps have finally melted, and we've got an inflated population of 30 billion people. Dubbed an empire in decline, we've established a colony on Mars, which is probably a good thing. The Martians are a rather uppity bunch though, who see themselves as tough pioneers, unlike us soft Earthlings. They're also heavily militarized, focused and disciplined, and if we're not careful, they could wipe us out completely.
We also pushed ahead into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in search of live-giving raw materials like water in the form of ice. There, on crime-choked cities like Ceres and Eros you'll find the downtrodden Belters, hard working and largely manual laborers to whom water and air are more precious than gold.
Tossed into the mix is a tense and escalating political situation born of a deeply unsatisfied working class, and the mystery of a missing young woman (Florence Faivre) from the upper echelons of society. How are these events connected? The missing persons case will lead a hardened detective (Thomas Jane) and a rogue ship’s captain (Steven Strait) across the solar system that will uncover the greatest conspiracy in human history, according to the log lines.
And if you're feeling a little tingly after reading all that, stay with that feeling for a little while. After all, it's not often that new TV shows deliver exactly what they promise, especially those dubbed "epic space adventures." We've binged watched the first 4 episodes in advance and we're confident that you're not likely to be disappointed by the story, the scope, the characters or the visuals. In fact, for true scifi fans, there's a lot here to love.
So what exactly is so cool about this series, and why is it worth checking out?
By being based on a book series, The Expanse already has a huge repertoire of carefully constructed political, scientific and societal material from which to mine.
Everything from language patterns (they take some getting used to) and body gestures to believable science and a delicately balanced political structure add layers of credibility to the world.
In one scene you’ll get to see firsthand what it’s like a for a Belter, who has lived his entire life off-world, return to Earth only to find his lungs crushed by our harsh gravity, and his long limbs unable to support the weight of his frail body.
In another, you’ll be momentarily distracted from the conversation between two shipmates as you wonder if the rickety elevator they’re traveling in will suddenly stop working and send them crashing to their deaths many floors below.
It’s all in the details.