Finally, a high-quality new space drama fills the vacuum that’s been left since Battlestar Galactica and some other period pieces on Syfy ended. (Stargate Universe anyone?)
The Expanse has the right combination of thoughtful human themes and implausibly great space-travel technology, given it’s set a mere 200 years into the future. Storylines blend nicely, the multicultural characters are well-drawn and there’s a fine mix of action and drama.
Earth has colonized the entire solar system and is in a cold-war conflict with Mars. People also live on outposts in the asteroid belt, mined for ice and oxygen; the “belters’ ” bodies have adapted badly to low-gravity environments. There are terrorist threats from a political movement called the Outer Planet Alliance.
The acting is terrific; the top-named actor is Thomas Jane, of HBO’s Hung, who plays Miller, a seedy-seeming cop who’s drawn into searching for a missing heiress. Scenes shift from Miller’s cop life in the Ceres space station to following the crew of the ice freighter Canterbury. They run into trouble after answering a distress call in space, which as we all know is never a good idea. Another key location is Earth, controlled by the United Nations, and a deputy secretary (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo of 24) who tries to maintain the fragile détente between Mars and Earth.
The pilot is online now at Syfy.com.
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