I don’t usually type about live action media because this is an anime blog. When I do, its usually about fantasy or science fiction and I guess I am fulfilling that here too. In fact, I will be doing that a little more for a little bit because there are some science fiction and fantasy shows that I want to talk about on some level. Especially with The Expanse because I literally have nowhere else to put my thoughts or talk about the expanse with other people. Mostly because almost everyone I know, even science fiction fans do not watch it. So I am here to post about my thoughts on the series into the air of the internet. Partially the reason why I created a blog in the first place.
The Expanse is a series that I watched ever since it aired on television on the formerly known Sci Fi channel. A channel that I miss dearly because I don’t think they are going to make any new science fiction shows anytime soon or at least I am not going to stick around for it. But there was a small peak of hope that came from it, Kill Joys, and I forget the other series that came out because it ended a lot sooner. The Expanse came out for three seasons on that channel before being eventually rescued by Amazon for three more seasons to where it ended less then a month ago now. Its kind of crazy to think about how a series with a journey in its own story had a meta journey from television to streaming services.
This was a series that got me back into reading for the second time? I don’t know, I have just burn out from reading novels for a while and it definitely lead to a resurgence of some king that lasted until my new surge. I’m not caught up on the Expanse novels yet, but I’ve read up to the content of the latest season. Recently, I’ve been digging into the works of Samuel Delaney (which is mind bending science fiction stuff that I like) and the slower but more natural styling of the Heorot Series. So I will dive more into the Expanse novels soon. Its all apart of my plan of course. I just read a lot slower then I used to, but I am taking my time with some good books that I enjoy and I feel like that is just how my media experience has become recently.
Anyway, back to the Expanse. Finally getting to what its about now in the 4th paragraph. The Expanse takes place in a Universe where the Earth is old and overpopulated so there isn’t equal, legal job opportunities that immediately come up, Mars is new and way more war like with everyone who gains citizenship must spend time in the Martian space forces somewhere. In between, there are the sort of Gundam colonies. A third party made out of minorities who have been exploited for centuries. So what happens to change things? Aliens. An alien probe shows up to shake up the entire solar system from it just affecting everything with its appearance to all parties creating all sorts of races to create tension.
In that way, the Expanse feels like a compilation series into what Sci Fi series can do. From their appearance in the first book to a small arms race with larger government forces of Mars and Earth using the unknown to create super soldiers. There is even an extra terrestrial ring system to the other solar systems that is fought over before having a very Star Trek like scenario of new settlers having to deal with a complicated scenario of the government of Earth trying to take it use it for money. Finally, it culminates together with the third party or the outers getting frustrated with the Inners and declaring an all out war by dropping rocks onto Earth Gundam style. All of this on top of one of the most realistic sets of technology and physics that I’ve ever seen in Science Fiction shows.
I’m not kidding about that last point either. For example, let’s talk about how hard a series can get with its space travel. The Rocinate, a stolen mars ship that James Holden and the rest of his crew ride around to save the solar system one season or book at a time, is pretty realistic in how its presented somehow. While the drive system isn’t focused on as it could, during a space battle people are stuck into crash couches and everything is tightened down as the ship fights in a gravity environment where the ship is constantly rotating with its gravity bursts and trying to fire its weapons while trying to escape. That is only a mere example of the entire universe that also runs like that. Supply lines and the number of people matter through out the entire show because of how realistic the series is when its not focused on aliens stuff.
I feel like the characters in The Expanse are not the strongest characters in fiction because this is very much a much more story based series in which the story itself is incredible. But I like the characters because their journeys are rather incredible because most of them never compromise who they are despite all the things they survive. James Holden, no matter what happens, is the lawful good captain that never changes from that journey. He is the morality compass of a much greyer universe even on just his ship. Naomi, Alex, and Amos have their own small journies as they argue on what to do with every situation. Then things always get more complicated from the journey of my favorite characters Drummer, Bobbie, and Avasarala. Three women who are different parties that eventually join together through their own journies. Kind of amazing.
The Expanse’s last season may have been only six episodes in length, but it never felt rushed. Everything that made the Expanse the Expanse, from it politics to supply lines to doing something to change the rebellion from taking over the Earth Sphere and what happens after to make the Earth Sphere a better place, was apart of this season in only six episodes. Each character was true to themselves and everyone was just tired from the entire experience too. So it was a very relatable season finale with the characters going off into the sunset jut like we are. Somewhat meta, and yet it works. Some seasons were stronger then others, but I had such a great experience watching the series in general that I didn’t really care about that fact. It’s somewhat original sci fi on television, because it was a novel first, and that is so rare.
In a universe where I don’t want to watch other science fiction series because they are based on products that can’t help but reference older material and doing nothing but reference them to get attention, the Expanse was my science fiction series that I could rely on for doing something different. Not that new Star Trek or Star Wars things in which a lot are not original material because they use a lot of conventions in modern science fiction series and not just Star Trek. The Expanse is a modern piece of science fiction based on a book series, but the series itself doesn’t belong to other properties besides that fact. It is an original science fiction series that somehow survived to six seasons in the late 2010’s to early 2020’s and that is phenomenal given today’s climate against it for being based on something else. Can’t wait to see what appears next. So this ends the six season journey of the Expanse.