It’s been a long while since I’ve talked about some of the TV shows I watch, and that’s mainly because I have been without cable for almost a year now. Prior to that, I had a full DVR most of the time, and was consuming both recorded cable television along with original programming on some of the major streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video). Because of the lack of television in this house (this is by choice, by the way) I’ve been limited to things that I can stream on the aforementioned services, and in that case it means the only “new” programming that I’m watching are those original series. Shows like Stranger Things and The Grand Tour have been excellent and I’m glad to have the ability to watch them, but I’ve fallen behind on some of my favorite shows like The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul. Netflix gets these shows, but they are only put on the service just prior to the new seasons releasing on cable, so you’ll still be behind by a year. I was gifted a modded Firestick for my birthday last year, but with our spotty WiFi in this particular living situation, it wasn’t reliable enough to use so I will continue to be behind for the time being. With that said, I want to talk about a show that is a few years old but one that I hadn’t watched until recently: The Expanse.
I think it was my father that told me that this was a good show, but our viewing preferences don’t always align so I must have forgotten or pushed it aside for other shows. That was a mistake. This show is the single most intriguing and entertaining Sci-Fi TV shows that I’ve watched in years — decades even. I haven’t looked forward to watching a show as much as this one outside of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, but those are obviously very different animals. I haven’t enjoyed a Sci-Fi show this much since Star Trek: The Next Generation (though I have enjoyed the episodes of Star Trek: Discovery that I’ve seen). The Expanse really hit all of the right notes for me, and it’s become my one of my favorite shows.
Starting in 2015, The Expanse ran for three seasons on the SyFy channel, the latter of which finished up this year, at which time it was cancelled. What brought it back into the forefront of my mind was the recent outcry from fans for someone to pickup the series and produce a fourth season. Amazon Video has decided to do just that, and a fourth season has been greenlit. Coincidentally, this is the exact service I’ve been using to watch the show, but have been limited to two seasons at this point. This is one of the limitations of Amazon Video, the fact that in many instances you’ll have seasons of a show included with your subscription, but then newer seasons will be locked behind a pay wall. I get it, I only subscribe to Amazon Prime for the free two day shipping, because I don’t like to wait for things that I order and I don’t like to pay for shipping. Amazon Video, Music and other services are included for your $13/month, so I understand why they need extra money for certain things. I just don’t like the fact that I’m currently finished with the first two seasons of this show which I absolutely love, but then have to pay $20 to watch the third season. Considering that the 4th season will likely be included with subscription because all Prime Originals are, it seems silly for them to charge me for the current season that just finished. I’m still considering doing so though, because I haven’t had my fill of the show despite binging the first two seasons in only a couple of weeks.
As far as the story goes, it’s less episodic like Star Trek and other shows like it, where the same crew gets involved in differing adventures week in and week out. Instead, it lays the ground work by painting believable scenarios in our own solar system. Earth colonized the Moon (now called “Luna”) and then moved on to Mars. With dwindling resources on Earth, people were sent out to the asteroid belt to mine ice and other minerals for the inner planets. Eventually these become our factions: Earthers, Martians and Belters all vying for control of the solar system. From there, we are introduced to main characters of each faction, and the underlying plot by their governments to do devious things. One part Sci-Fi adventure, one part murder mystery and one part conspiracy theory, this show has it all.
The special effects are pretty damn good for a cable television show, and the acting isn’t terrible. It doesn’t feel like a B-movie on the small screen, instead it feels like a big budget block buster stretched out over many hours. I don’t want to spoil anything at all, but you need to do yourself a favor and watch this show if you haven’t already, and consider yourself any sort of Sci-Fi fan. I’m going to be checking out the third season soon, and will look forward to the Prime Original version of season four with much anticipation!