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?
It’s a Mini Series *
Let’s be honest. If The Expanse becomes a roaring success for Syfy, the odds of it returning for a second season are probably going to be very high.
But until that time, what we’ve got to look forward to is a ten part ‘event series’ based on the events of a book with some pretty definitive jumping on and off points.
Look it’s 2015, and at this point we should all be making the case for condensed storytelling over broadcast network style 20-22 episode seasons stuffed with filler episodes and flashbacks.
And staying on an honest note, The Expanse will surely prove too expensive to follow that inflated structure anyway. The less is more concept may lead to more in the long run if fans like what they see over the initial episode run.
** We’ve just been called out on Twitter by Producer Ben Roberts and writer/producer Ben Abraham for for referring to The Expanse as a mini series. Roberts has let us know season 2 is planned, and that the writers are currently busy working on scripts. Ben, consider us duly slapped!
— Ben Roberts (@broberts76) November 16, 2015
@ScreenSpy Dude. I already wrote one script for next season. And invoiced for it.
— Daniel Abraham (@AbrahamHanover) November 16, 2015