Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Expanse S1 E3: Remember The Cant

"Earth and Mars have been stepping on the necks of the Belters out here for over 100 years and I didn't want to be the boot."
-James Holden-

"You know what I love most about Mars? They still dream. We gave up. They're an entire culture dedicated to a common goal, working together as one to turn a lifeless rock into a garden. We had a garden and we paved it."
-Franklin Degraaf-

The third episode sees the five remaining crew members of the now destroyed Canterbury captured by way of the Shuttle Knight and slowly sucked inside the Martian vessel MCRN Donnager.

The Expanse, Season One, Episode 3, Remember The Cant, is misleading as far as coloring the relationships that would form and be forged into the future for the series. Here, an already tenuous alliance of individuals thrown together are pressured and interrogated and played against one another by the Martians in an entry that works as a gripping interrogation procedural. The Martians, Holden and company and Earth are all attempting to get answers regarding just why exactly the Canterbury was destroyed.

There are so many details and variables in play between this large ensemble cast including Miller's search of Ceres for Julie Mao, whist Star Helix Security comes to blows with the OPA (Outer Planet Alliance) helmed by Anderson Dawes, played by the always exceptional Jared Harris (Chernobyl, The Terror). Despite the many players in the series, character growth and revelations reveal themselves in small moments.

I cannot implore science fiction fans enough to immerse themselves into the massively expansive world of The Expanse. Additionally, it is infinitely re-watchable and so many tiny details are observed with repeat viewings that enhance the story and aid in the experience of immersing the viewer inside the world of James S.A. Corey's The Expanse.

This series is exquisite replete with strong writing, an actual well-penned story, wonderfully complex characters, terrific spaceships and exceptional special effects. Further dubbing the show The Expanse was smart because that title works on a number of levels not least of which is the sheer fact this series is expanding the conventions and expectations we've come to expect with science fiction. Star Trek has conditioned us. The Expanse is broadening those horizons and pushing back the walls of our minds and imaginations.

Writer: Robin Veith. Director: Jeff Woolnough.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Expanse S1 E2: The Big Empty

"Ask me whether or not I should rip your helmet off and kick you off this bucket, and I couldn't give you a reason why I should or shouldn't."

-Amos Burton-

I'm reminded with each new viewing how strong this series is. The sounds, the details, the faithfulness to the books by James S.A. Corey. New pieces, new subtleties in the character beats and world building are revealed to me each time I absorb The Expanse. It's an impressive science fiction. It's arguably my favorite. Wonderful characters, interesting tech and world building, wonderful attention to detail in the ship designs. It's a state-of-the-art enterprise. It is a meticulous production. SyFy gets a lot of knocks and while I was disappointed the network cancelled the series after three seasons (thank you Amazon Prime for saving it), SyFy really allowed Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and the creative team behind The Expanse to create something deliciously special for science fiction fans. SyFy deserves that appreciation because The Expanse is stellar in every way.

The Expanse, Season One, Episode 2, The Big Empty, covered here extensively, sees the characters reveal bits about themselves as they float through the big empty of space. Following a thrilling and harrowing opening that sees the five survivors (Holden, Naomi, Amos, Alex and Shed) flee the incoming debris of the now destroyed Canterbury in the tiny Shuttle Knight, following events from Dulcinea, the team comes to terms with their situation and competing moves for what comes next sees the group jockey for control of their future. The tension and humor is real between some genuinely believable characters.

Meanwhile, Thomas Jane's Josephus Miller investigates the disappearance of Juliette Mao while based at Ceres Station for Star Helix Security.

The episode ramps up the tension on our five principals in the Shuttle Knight until they are swallowed and taken in by a Martian warship called the MCRN Donnager.

This is indeed science fiction the way it should be as The Expanse continues to follow the beats of the novel and unfold its truly compelling story.

Writer: Mark Fergus/ Hawk Ostby.

Director: Terry McDonough.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Expanse S1 E1: Dulcinea

"Air is good don't you think? Air is nice."
-Joe Miller-

My third revisit of The Expanse (2015-present) series continues to reveal new, exciting little details with every viewing. These details correlate seamlessly with the writing of The Expanse book series by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). Details regarding bone density and Belters and gravity, low gravity or no gravity and the effect on humanity in space or its return to Earth after years away permeate the series in small but meaningful ways.

The Expanse, Season One, Episode 1, Dulcinea introduces all of the key players in the series. The opening salvo also establishes the stunning look of the series from the dark corners of space to the Blade Runner-esque frontiers established within it to the doors of this expansive mythology.

With Dulcinea we witness the seed events to the show, beginning with the destruction of the Canterbury and the search for Juliette Mao whilst investigating the Scopuli. These events thrust the main characters forward propelling them toward their inevitable, fateful union by season's end. Josephus Miller, James Holden, Naomi, Amos and Alex begin their journey here.

The biggest revelation for those coming into the series blind without reading the books is how Dulcinea establishes how the series, in its first volume, Leviathan Wakes (the first book), in effect works as an original, thrilling, outer space mystery at least in the beginning.

My interest in the story was gripped by the both the literary tale and its respective TV series. I've seen the series several times and read the first volume. Dulcinea is dulcet, delicious, sparkling science fiction of the best variety.

This is a quick revisit of the episode previously reviewed here as we explore the series up close in the run up to the release of what promises to be yet another compelling chapter in The Expanse for Season Four on Amazon Prime in December 2019.

Writers: Mark Fergus/ Hawk Ostby.

Director: Terry McDonough.