TV Review: ‘The Expanse’

'The Expanse' on Syfy: A Review

Perhaps it’s appropriate that among the vast array of current television options, science fiction is represented by a gaping void. Light and inconsequential sci-fi-flavored fare hasn’t been difficult to find, but there’s been a noticeable lack of dramas set on space ships and other planets — fewer still that are challenging and bold. “The Expanse” sets out to fill that gap, and various aspects of it show real promise. But if the drama is to live up to its potential, it will have to improve on its first four episodes, which awkwardly link a series of somewhat muddled stories, and introduce characters that are too often standard genre types rather than distinct individuals.

It’s to the show’s credit that it is openly political, and takes on issues of class, representation and exploitation. The narrative takes place 200 years in the future, when Mars has been settled, Earth is run by the U.N. and many of the blue-collar folks living on a series of mining outposts are looking to break away from their colonial overlords. Quite a few Belters, as they’re known, believe Earthers are living too high on the fruits of their labors, and yet out in space, there’s little love for the militaristic people of Mars, who are highly disciplined and navigating their own frosty relationship with those on the neighboring planet.

The problem with “The Expanse,” which is based on a series of books by James S.A. Corey, is that it tries to do too much at once in its opening episodes, which ultimately undercuts their overall effectiveness. Storylines about rogue elements, terrorist machinations, a missing woman and political gamesmanship are all crammed into hours that have very little room to breathe. Clearly “The Expanse” wants to set up a series of linked mysteries, but too often it ends up sketching out a set of scenarios that could have been plucked from dozens of other sci-fi serials, and yet are vague, confusing or insubstantial.

The series of incidents that unfold in the opening hours are sometimes exciting — in particular, the knockabout crew of a rust-bucket freighter go through some suspenseful and unexpected adventures (some of those are on display in the first episode, which Syfy posted online in advance of the show’s Dec. 14 premiere). But other stories on Earth and in the Belter colony Ceres feel a bit rote, in part because the people in the midst of those events aren’t always interesting in their own right.

Thomas Jane plays one of TV’s favorite types, a cynical, semi-corrupt cop. A mild twist is that he works for a private security firm, not a government entity (as in the “Alien” movies, almost every aspect of life ends up serving commercial interests, which is one reason the Belters feel aggrieved). It’s hard to say if it’s the writing or the performance that comes up short in the police storylines; it would be safe to say that neither has enough texture or depth to make Jane’s character charismatic or compelling yet. The best part of the Ceres tale is when the terrific Jared Harris turns up as an underworld boss whose genial demeanor never quite reaches his eyes.

Shohreh Aghdashloo does what she can with a stiff, underwritten role as a savvy U.N. operative on Earth, and Steven Strait is competent but little more as a freighter officer who gets pulled into a series of machinations that seem designed to turn unrest into war. Two standouts in the cast are Dominique Tipper, who plays a tough, resilient engineer, and Cas Anvar, who imbues the role of the freighter’s pilot with welcome warmth.

The charms of “The Expanse” are often in the details, like the rat that calls the dingy freighter home, or the scuzzy landlord on Ceres who doesn’t change the air filters and ends up making kids sick. Ceres’ main commercial area also looks suitably distressed and lived in, and scenes of daily life — and rebellion — on that outpost throb with the kind of vitality the rest of the series could use more of. In the main, however, the production design doesn’t set itself apart from other genre fare; the blue-and-black palette that is by now too common in sci-fi dominates, but some of the space sequences are suitably swashbuckling. 

There’s enough potential here — and enough of a desire for space-set sci-fi in some quarters — for viewers to stick with “The Expanse” to see if it figures out how to tell a more cleanly assembled, character-driven story. Even as many streaming and cable dramas lean into the idea of assembling a season-long movie (a concept that, granted, sometimes leads to underpowered slogs), “The Expanse” is a bit too frantic to supply incident and telegraph rising stakes. But the stakes will only matter to the degree that its characters and allegories become complex, idiosyncratic and resonant.

In the early going, the drama is not quiet an adventurous slice of sci-fi escapism, like Syfy’s highly enjoyable “Killjoys,” nor a serious parable about power and exclusion, a la the powerful re-imagining of “Battlestar Galactica.” Trying to be both sometimes causes “The Expanse” to split the difference and ultimately seem a bit generic and perhaps overly aspirational. (And it’s hard not to wonder if a larger episode order would have alleviated some of the character and pacing problems here, but in the cable realm, 10 episodes appears to be the new standard.)

In a TV universe in which dozens of dramas are creating deeply memorable characters and mining their own allegories with exceptional skill, “The Expanse’s” sparks of life may not be enough to power it into must-see territory. To be more certain of survival in this unforgiving atmosphere, this middling space saga will have to reach a higher orbit, and quickly.

For a discussion of “The Man in the High Castle,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” and “The Expanse,” check out the most recent installment of the Talking TV podcast

TV Review: 'The Expanse'

Series; Syfy, Mon. Dec. 14, 10 p.m.

Production

Filmed in Toronto by Alcon Television Group.

Crew

Executive producers, Naren Shankar, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Sharon Hall, Sean Daniel, Jason Brown; producers, Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, Ben Cook, Dan Nowak; director, Terry McDonough; writers, Fergus, Ostby; director of photography, Jeremy Benning; production designer, Seth Reed; editors, Harvey Weinstock, Dev Singh; music, Clinton Shorter; casting; Julie Tucker, Robin Cook, John Papsidera; 45 MIN.

Cast

Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Florence Faivre, Paulo Costanzo, Chad Coleman, Jay Hernandez

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  1. greg says:

    The acting in the show is too dark and flat emotionally. A bunch of misery guts’s. No likeable characters.
    The soundtrack is too loud and too often. It needs some quiet moments, and turn the volume down on the music.
    It’s another show where the producers have focused on the look too much. Too many posers. Get rid of some and get some actors. The camera is on the background too often, when it should be close up on the actors.
    It could have been a good show, but more than anything else it suffers from the same thing that a lot of newer shows do – bad brain chemistry. It’s like the producers have no sense of humor, and suffer from depression. (A good example of this is BSG – a show full of unlikeable aholes – surely you’ve gotta be miserable to like shows like that).

  2. Welp! Came here excited to read what you have to say about the best Sci-fi show I’ve seen in a while, and you let me down. LOL Are you kidding me? At first I got a bit confused by all the subplots too but I caught on much faster than you I guess. I am done watching all episodes and can’t wait for Season 2.

  3. beyondtool says:

    It’s a crime how many people do not understand the brilliance of this show. Sure you have to pay attention, but there is plenty of intrigue and excellent writing to get you there. The whole point of this show is to put the pieces together and figure out what is going on. The last time I watched the final episode of a first season and immediately ordered the blu-ray version was game of thrones, but somehow people manage to follow it’s convoluted storyline just fine. Can’t wait to watch it all again and for next years S2.

  4. Joe Lightfoot says:

    What a disappointing review. The Expanse is the best sci-fi show since Firefly. It’s serious, takes on very interesting plots and inter-planetary political situations, and it leaves you in suspense. Great show, bad review!

  5. Bobqat says:

    Well, that was a painfully predictable “review”, complete with all the politically correct cliches and elitist condescension. Quite obviously Ms. Ryan hasn’t read the books and has a negative opinion of hard science fiction – why even write a “review” if you went into it with your mind already set? The Expanse is the first really good TV sci-fi in quite a while, and even more surprising that it comes from Syfy (though they ~have~ managed a couple of decent attempts over the decades..) – consider we could have had “Protomolecule vs Sharknado”

    Oh, and fire your proofreader.

    • the minister says:

      I like The Expanse more than Mo too, but if you think she doesn’t like Sci Fi, you haven’t read much Mo Ryan!

      • Welter says:

        yeah, criticize everyone that doesn’t agree with you. The show is a typical Scy-Fy show– it’s OK at best. The characters are cliche at best and some of the acting is stiff.

  6. Whocares says:

    Sometimes I think TV critics are desensitized by too much bad Sci Fi on TV. Maybe you have seen too much Star Trek to realize that there is more than to Sci Fi than just easy to watch TV shows. The Expanse isn’t perfect, but its far better than the usual crap we get sold as Sci Fi. It isn’t made for the mainstream viewer, it is made for an Sci Fi audience. And as such it is amazing.

    There is no artificial gravity, just coriolis force and magboots. There are no force fields shielding the ships from space, just a fragile hull and the crew is almost always just one hullbreach away from certain death.
    In shows like Star Trek space is just one more place you can go. In the Expanse space is vast, cold and deadly. And in that sense it surpases any other Sci Fi show on TV.

    If you wan’t an easy plot that you can follow with one eye while half asleep, go watch Star Trek. If you wan’t superhuman space mutants, go watch one of those awfull Marvel movies.

    But if you wan’t to see some real Hard Sci Fi, in the tradition of Heinlein, Assimov, Greg Bear, or Iain Banks, the Expanse is pretty much the thing to watch. Its dark, its complicated and its the best damn Sci Fi on TV right now.

  7. Mark whelan says:

    Steven Straight is underwhelming in his role and looks more like a lost puppy who forgot how to shave then a seasoned and cynical first officer on a ship in this rough and table universe. I haven’t seen anything that would convince me or even make me consider following a less than confident character through desth, danger and inter system civil war.

  8. Peter says:

    Comparing the Expanse to Killjoys? Seriously? And this “critic” writes for Variety? What a sad, sad view of the storied publication this produces. Has Mr. Rupert acquired the journal or i she owning it by proxy?

  9. Joe Coleman says:

    I do not care what critics have to say about anything. More and more you will see that critics dislike things that the rest of us love (wants wrong with this picture). I usually skip the article and go right to what people who don’t make a living dumping on people have to say about it. l think this is great. lt might not be what you are looking for if you want to do your facebooking tweeting and instagramming at the same time. You kind of have to pay attention.. l liked one reviewer said he like a program because if you missed a whole season it didn’t matter. LMAO Yep sadly that’s what the viewing public is and who television programmers want to please

  10. cajunfit says:

    Shelly, it is amazing how much I disagree with your sentiments, which is fine because if everyone liked exactly the same thing, life would be so damned predictable. The Expanse is a fantastic sci-fit show that has already been credited with being much more realistic with their actual “science”. I have read the two books, and while you do not need to read them to enjoy the show, I think the producers and writers have done a great job making it feel like the books. My wife is not a big sci-fi fan and she has watched all of the episodes after I asked her to sit through the pilot. There is more to science fiction than “space opera” battles and non-stop action. The casting is actually damned good. When I first saw the trailer, I was a little disappointed because it is hard to match a TV face with an expectation from the books, but by the middle of the first episode, I was fine. Avasarala (the woman who you hate because of who they cast) is admittedly harder to understand than I would like but she plays the part very much like the character in the books. I only wish they would let her unleash her hilarious nasty/curse-word comebacks like in the books. The men look alike? I don’t understand that thought at all. The women are very different although the books seem to focus on three that are all different:

    Avasarala, and Indian power figure who is extremely well-written.
    Naomi, the ships engineer who is brooding and confrontational…at the start.
    Julie Mao, who I admit they have not shown much of yet, but the books do have side chapters dedicated to her experiences, and I hope more of that comes out soon.

    In truth, nothing we say will change how you view the show. You obviously like different things than me, but I at least wanted you to see a much different appreciation for The Expanse. It is dark because the books are DARK. It is serious because there is some serious S&%T happening, and more will become apparent later in the series.

  11. shellyleit says:

    I am so disappointed in this show… it’s a very confusing show, probably because it’s so boring it’s hard to pay attention, and the sound editing is awful. The men all look alike and where are the female characters that seem even slightly like real interesting people? Everyone is angry, wearing dark colors…. ugh, depressing. Boring. I have to force myself to watch it which I only do because I made the mistake of buying it on iTunes. Please, someone do sci-fi better than this, it shouldn’t be hard.

    • the minister says:

      Oh my GOD that sound editing is SOOOOOOOOOOOO bad….. I think the show is pretty solid, but they should be ashamed of that sound editing, really they should.

  12. CTaylor says:

    The reviewer is spot on. I have sat through 7 episodes of this show and it’s still muddy story telling and very boring. One should not have to read the books that a tv series is based on. The tv show should stand on it’s own. i.e. Game of Thrones has many more characters, fictional regions, and plot twist. Yet the tv show is interesting due to good story telling and characters. And it can be followed without ever reading the books. This is what The Expanse lacks, big time.

  13. williamlawrencepeterson says:

    Hollywood doesn’t understand hard science fiction at a really basic level. They don’t understand who the protagonist is, even when you put it in the title. They think it’s the people!

  14. WShawn says:

    I generally agree with Maureen’s takes on shows, but I’m going to disagree with this review of The Expanse. I’m really digging the show. My favorite show of all time is Firefly, and while The Expanse isn’t quite up there it’s become my favorite sci-fi show of recent years, a worth successor to Nu BSG.

    I haven’t read the books, so I’m viewing it with unbiased eyes. It is a bit confusing to be dropped into this world with little exposition, but I appreciate that the writers don’t spoon-feed every plot point. It takes a bit of effort to watch, but I’ve been rewarded by the intrigue and world-building.

    Regarding the characters, we are only four episodes in. They are a bit stock at this point, but you could say the same about many other characters on highly-respected sci-fi fare like BSG. Adama: gruff father-figure. Starbuck: hard-drinking, cocky hero. Etc.

    And unlike pretty much every other show on TV, in which every plot turn can be seen a mile away, the ending of the first episode genuinely surprised me. Killjoys strikes me as mindless fluff in comparison. The fourth episode of the The Expanse is pretty cool, too.

    I’m very happy it’s been renewed for a second season; I’m really rooting for it to succeed.

  15. JCohn says:

    Oh. You didn’t read even the first book. That explains a good portion of your review.

    The technical work in this production is amazing. The. I detail is a step above other shows in this vein.

    ‘The Expanse’ is one of my new favorites and my own impression is that this series, so far. Faithful to the book.

    It’s not Stargate repetitions. New day, new world, new adventustuff. It’s an actual story arc!!

    It’s so much better. FINALLY SyFy has gotten it’s act together and done something right.

  16. John Moser says:

    The fact that the reviewer loves the insipid “Killjoys” explains the offbase review.

  17. dharvell says:

    Your review of “The Expanse” echoes my feelings on the show, exactly. After the first four episodes, I have grown mostly bored with it. The writing does not give the viewers enough to really care about the story, nor the characters that inhabit it. After investing four hours into a show, one should expect the show to give the viewers something in return. “The Expanse” fails to do so.

  18. SteveV says:

    The problem with this show is the material upon which it is based. Much of the plot occurs in the thoughts of Miller and Holden. For example, the tension between the belters and the planeteers is all described in his head. This is a great challenge for even the best writers, and as usual the ones at SyFy are not up to the task

  19. The Expanse is some of the best hard sci-fi I’ve seen on TV. After seeing the first 4 episodes, I can’t wait to see the rest.

  20. billybobby says:

    Comparing everything to BSG. Personally, I found BSG to be preachy, with NOTHING to preach. Find a “god” on your own time, give ME a scifi TV show.

    BSG needed less “who’s my daddy?” “where do I come from?” and more Cylons.

    I hope The Expanse is BETTER than BSG. With BSG you could miss WHOLE SEASONS and it really didn’t matter.

  21. billybobby says:

    What is all the love over Killjoys about?

    I dumped the show after 3 episodes. It’s a boring “been-there” scifi show that belongs on CBS. All the cliche stories, uninteresting characters. Excuses for single episode stories built right in.

    • Craig says:

      I agree. Killjoys is good background fare and nothing more. But I really like the expanse. Its obviously setting a lot up. Game of thrones was like this too. This reviewer doesn’t seem to have the brain for a slow burning intricate story. She should stick with Hawaii 5 o and Killjoys

  22. erasure025 says:

    The problem is, people are reviewing this show but wanting to watch another show. If you want Battlestar, go watch Battlestar. If you want Babylon 5, go watch Babylon 5 (I loved this show btw). This entire review doesn’t actually review the show – it just makes comparisons to make it seem like the author has “science fiction creds” because clearly (obviously) the author has watched this and that show and that show over there. They are name dropping to prove they have the creds to certify what is good science fiction. Not very helpful in the least.

    Frankly, if the author cannot see how the storylines intersect and are connected, the show is clearly above their pay grade.

    • Fargi says:

      Very salient point. I could not agree more. Unfortunately, many of the reviews on similar sites are equally vacuous. I do hope these types of reviews did not turn off too many potential viewers. Although, anyone incapable of recognizing the lack of substance in this review most likely would not understand or appreciate The Expanse, anyhow.

  23. Netrix says:

    I agree with everything in the review. I would say that I feel Science Fiction writing has moved on and there are far better stories to tell. This type of space story has been done so often and Expanse makes so many mistakes of previous Syfy endeavours. I had to endure the press screening of Red Faction and that was a sorry tale of mimicry of hashed writing and a golden opportunity wasted. Expanse apes every good and great space show from Babylon 5 to even feeling like Total Recall. It feels like it also pulls on Alien and Bladerunner but not in a good way. There’s none of the character appeal or draw into the story. You compare to The Walking Dead and you see where all the CGI will not save this show if they can’t come up with a gripping tale with real characters that either play a stereotype really well or turn them on their head. Babylon 5 has done all of what Expanse promises and was thought then to be a bit cheesy but in time it became a real stand out show that simply did well because of great cast, storyline and well threaded story arcs. Also comparing it to Game of Thrones, as one web reviewer did, was akin to comparing 2001 A Space Odyssey to Spaceballs.

  24. J says:

    OMFG! Nit picky maybe, but someone please fire the a**hole who approved sound effects in the vacuum of space.

    • the minister says:

      Let’s just fire everyone who had *anything* to do with sound on The Expanse.

    • dharvell says:

      Sound effects in space, the effects of gravity pulling a space walking ship pilot as his/her ship falls out of the sky (er… I mean, falls out of space, to… another part of space?)… all sorts of “realities” get thrown out the airlock in favor of drama. I guess it’s called science FICTION for many reasons. Forgetting about real physics is just one of the many.

  25. MJ says:

    I had never heard of the books nor this series before stumbling upon it on a lark, but I have to add to the echo chamber in disagreeing with the reviewer; I thought the pilot was fantastic. Perhaps since sh has seen more episodes it becomes tedious? I have no idea, but I will be watching and waiting for more episodes.

  26. Syfyok says:

    This review is garbage – c’mon, you didn’t watch it did you. Well done Syfy, best thing you’ve ever done

  27. Delores says:

    Kacey? So you turned it off for a hat! You’re clearly in tune then? You haven’t read the books and know nothing about sci-fi. I recommend Teletubbies maybe

  28. Kacey says:

    Before I read any reviews, I paused playback of the first episode at 9 minutes in because I couldn’t stand watching any more of the horribly MISCAST Thomas Jane. That beyond ridiculous fedora, long and scraggly surfer hair and overplayed-angst was so utterly trite I couldn’t care it any long. I then proceeded to read up on The Expanse and a few reviews, Variety was the third and last review I read. Whaddya know, I’m in complete agreement with the reviewer: she literally wrote what I was thinking in her first paragraph.
    But, I love sci-fi and so I watched the entire thing, gritting my teeth whenever Detective Miller showed up on the small screen. Think Harrison Ford’s Deckard to Jane’s Detective Miller. The natural dystopian-tough-guy-angst-ridden-but-hero-vigilante is much more nuanced and not as forced in Ford’s character. I sure hope they smooth out the screen time for ongoing episodes and exclude Jane, (or change his look) because he’s tough to take.
    I haven’t really appreciated a good sci-fi series since Fringe.

  29. NoamiNagata says:

    Maureen, some people like complex plot lines. I know your a fan of ‘The Leftovers’ maybe the buck should stop there in terms of complexitites, no?

  30. Bsgboy says:

    Gotta agree with the comments NOT the review. The show gripped me from start > finish

  31. The Russian says:

    It tries to do too much in the opening episodes? While the concept of multiple plot lines might be somewhat overwhelming for you, some of us actually prefer a show with complexity. One we feel demands calling your friends immediately after watching to dissect and speculate about. I’d hate to see what you thought about a movie like Crash. Bland and simple is not exactly the expectation nor the desire of those that have been craving a decent show to recapture the feeling of BSG and the genre in general.

    Vague and confusing? You’ve watched 4 episodes…of a season. If you have no idea how those plot lines play out and what the payoff is, since you clearly haven’t read the books, how can you possibly judge or speculate about the direction, intent, or emotional payoff after the season concludes? A bit presumptuous there…

    I can’t speak for the rest of your readership, but I for one am ecstatic that shows are leaning into the season long story arch. At least to me, it makes me eager for more and considerably more involved in the experience than the underwhelming expectation that any given story is going to have it’s conflict, climax, and resolution perfectly crafted every 43 minutes. The definition of predictable and boring.

    The SciFi space has been lacking ever since BSG went off the air. Word on the street is that the new management at the network is trying to atone for the mistakes of Warehouse 13 and the rest of their lineup ever since and actually create quality properties for an audience that has been yearning for far too long.

    Remember the Cant…

    • dharvell says:

      Do not confuse “complexity” with “clarity”. There is a difference. A show can have a complex storyline, but yet be entirely easy to follow (not “easy” in a brainless sort of way, but more in an interesting sort of way). “The Expanse” goes the other direction. It attempts complexity, but turns it into a muddled mush that gives you too much story without giving you a single reason to even attempt to relate to the characters. I cannot get behind a story in which I don’t give a flying fart about people in it. I find the complexity of the storyline replaced with a big “WHO CARES” tattooed on the foreheads on each and every character. Maybe if they gave me a reason to try to care about the characters, I could get behind the story. Sadly, that is not the case, here. They favored complexity over character development. I don’t see why they couldn’t have given both.

  32. rara says:

    bit disappointed that the two main guys are white and straight, I’m happy with Shohreh Aghdashloo if she’s given a lot more screen time.

    • DC says:

      Thanks for the heads up rara, now I know it’s safe to watch.

    • cajunfit says:

      Sure RaRa…lets try to make sure and avoid authors that do not place gay characters front and center. And as Derek Smith says below, these authors actually do use quite a bit of non-straight-white characters. Not to attack you here, but I am just dumbfounded in that attitude in general. Its like people bitching about not having enough interracial relationships in shows, when they still make up a statistically small portion of marriages in general (as do LGBT compared to hetero). Science Fiction writers are generally very progressive and socially “open” in their works, but looking at a straight white male main character as a deterrent is pathetic.

    • Derek Smith says:

      What RaRa? This series does a great job of including LGBT people. Have you even read the third book? The star of the show is a Lesbian Married Preacher. A powerful woman is running the Earth. Plus, a female Martian Marine! What could we possibly do to appease you? Every character in the series must be a minority female?

  33. Jezp says:

    any response Maureen? No?

  34. nickem says:

    So basically, you don’t like the characters and the plot mysteries. Exactly the things that made the books a bestseller and the things that have been implemented by James S.A. Corey(as both authors are writers for the show) with great detail into the TV series to closely resemble their paper counterparts. This doesn’t seem like a serious attitude for such a review, but instead seems like pulling a leg here, just because the first few episodes don’t fit your personal expectations of a sci-fi TV show. And if these expectations are about being more like “Killjoys”(it’s sounds like they are), I really hope you keep getting disappointed by The Expanse, because the books are quite far from your “quite enjoyable adventurous slice of sci-fi escapism”.

  35. CJ says:

    Fantastic. It was actually better than I expected. I have read both books in the series (more to come). I love the series, and I felt like they did a very good job with my approximation of what these characters would be like. That is often extremely hard to do. Avasarala as a book character is surely one of the most intriguing I have ever read. She is the grandmother power figure that uses curse-words so perfectly shocking it makes you wish you could be her. I won’t spoil it with stuff from the end of the first book, but things definitely get a bit scarier/shocking as this series moves along, and I am wondering how they will portray some of this. Let’s all just realize that SyFy is not HBO. Game of Thrones episodes are like watching 1-hour movies that deserve placement in a cinema. SyFy has generally under-produced series with lower quality, but they did do great justice to BSG, and The Expanse looks like it could be this quality.

  36. Jon D says:

    The only thing I agree with here is that Avasarala is under-written, everything else is clearly over-critical. The problem with Avasarala is however not the fault of her acting or the writing, it is the fault of the censors. The series tries to stay very close to the book series, in which this character is one of the most creative user of raunchy expletives I’ve ever read. If only the writers of the series could employ such poetry as “That man’s asshole must be tight enough right now to bend space.”

    • Kacey says:

      She is a bit underwritten, I agree. But this woman’s failure to employ a diction coach and fix her mangled accent is annoying. She’s been in Hollywood for a while and I find this lack in professional adapting bizarre. For instance, If I moved to France and wanted to become an actor/actress there, I’d do my best to perfect my french accent…BECAUSE I LIVE THERE.

      Freida Pinto worked at it and Alice Eve can switch accents in a jiffy. This is probably why she doesn’t get that much work and frankly, why her acting is subpar. When you’re struggling to enunciate words properly because you just don’t know how to do it, it will effect your craft. Invest in a proper dialect coach Shoreh. Don’t turn out like Roselyn Sanchez and her accent debacle.

      • Valin says:

        SO you don’t like the show because of a hat, and you think an actress needs to completely change their accent for their acting to be considered above subpar? It sounds like you need to work on looking past small cosmetic details you don’t yet understand, which in fact are completely true to the original material and indeed quite relevant to the overall plot down the road (especially the hat), and maybe try to look at the big picture, which is that Syfy is finally giving true fans of space sci-fi dramas a very accurate adaptation of one of the best series in the genre. I know that was a mouthful, but I would really recommend sticking with the series and especially reading the books, as the subplots laid out in the pilot will start to interplay very quickly in so many ways. Try not to get turned off by the little things that clearly don’t have any consequence on the quality of the series.

  37. Sykes says:

    Wow I’d not heard of this before a friends sent me a link. But this has rapidly become one of my favorite shows after only a single episode! I hope there is more as good as this to come!

    • shellyleit says:

      I agree that woman is impossible to understand and her voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard, horrendous. Casting that actress was a huge mistake.

  38. Chenave says:

    Have to agree with the comments! The show was spectacular – gripping and left me wanting more. Role on December 15th

  39. Stargatefan says:

    This is the expanse (Syfy) you’re reviewing right? “a bit generic and perhaps overly aspirational” . . .you couldnt have just watched the same show as I watched . . this is the best piece of TV I’ve seen in a while . . stunning, great characters, left me craving more.

  40. dk says:

    I just watched the first episode, thought it was great. Reminded me of the old movie Outland. I do agree it will take a couple of episodes to clear up plots and turns. Best Sci Fi I have seen in a while though.

  41. GladiatorF says:

    you have seen the show right Maureen? The Expanse will be a major player . . you’ll be eating those words

  42. Nial says:

    Huh!! Seriously? Watched the online premier – It was outstanding. You clearly know nothing about Sci-Fi

  43. Bill B. says:

    Doesn’t sound like a success to me, but I’ve been wrong before. I am so sorry to see Thomas Jane in a SyFy project. Speaking of being wrong before, years ago I thought he was going to be a major film star. Looks, talent, presence & charisma all lead to nothing with poor judgement by Managers or himself in picking projects that has lead to this. I don’t think I’ll even give this a try. Sad to watch.

  44. dreamlife says:

    I watched the first episode and have to say I agree with many of Maureen’s points. Visually, I thought the show looked spectacular, from those exterior shots of the Canterbury to the bright, sleek, and cheery interiors of Ceres station. The characters were definitely generic (reluctant hero, hard-boiled detective, ragtag crew), but there were some really nice moments (Miller sadly watching the father with his daughter and then later feeding the bird), the stunning Avasarala going from playful grandmother to cold torturer, and the moment where Jim Holden takes the distress call and makes the big decision. I’m interested enough to keep watching, but hope to see a little more personality from the characters.

  45. Cynthia says:

    I disagree with the reviewer. The Expanse was brilliant.
    On a seperate note someone forgot to copy edit her article. There are far too many mistakes.

    • Kacey says:

      Oops, sorry Cynthia, I didn’t mean to reply to your comment. It was meant to be a standalone post.

    • Kacey says:

      Before I read any reviews, I paused playback of the first episode at 9 minutes in because I couldn’t stand watching any more of the horribly MISCAST Thomas Jane. That beyond ridiculous fedora, long and scraggly surfer hair and overplayed-angst was so utterly trite I couldn’t care it any long. I then proceeded to read up on The Expanse and a few reviews, Variety was the third and last review I read. Whaddya know, I’m in complete agreement with the reviewer: she literally wrote what I was thinking in her first paragraph.
      But, I love sci-fi and so I watched the entire thing, gritting my teeth whenever Detective Miller showed up on the small screen. Think Harrison Ford’s Deckard to Jane’s Detective Miller. The natural dystopian-tough-guy-angst-ridden-but-hero-vigilante is much more nuanced and not as forced in Ford’s character. I sure hope they smooth out the screen time for ongoing episodes and exclude Jane, (or change his look) because he’s tough to take.
      I haven’t really appreciated a good sci-fi series since Fringe.

    • tyranthraxus says:

      I must admit I enjoyed the Expanse a lot.

      • ceegeemetoo@gmail.com says:

        Yup, not sure you were watching the same show I watched last night! the Expanse is the best Science fiction in ages!!!

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