What to Watch: The Expanse

The empty feeling after completing a show is real, and we’re here to help you find a new series to binge on.

The Expanse: Seasons 1-5; Amazon Prime Video

Set 200 years in the future, this epic sci-fi series features a charismatic core of characters working together to save the day (or solar system). Seasons 1-3 were SyFy originals and some of the best in the series. In 2018, Amazon picked up the option on the show and ran with seasons four and five.

It’s ok to be skeptical when approaching a sci-fi series with dystopian undertones; there are so many out there and I’m guessing many viewers pass over this series as a result. The acting and writing sets this series apart and the overall effects and production are outstanding. The Expanse‘s quality is a product of three elements: the actors don’t appear to be “playing space” also, astrophysics is threaded into the series and that aids one’s suspension of disbelief (thus making the actors and their actions more believable) ; each episode leaves the viewer on the edge of his or her seat eager to learn the result of the cliffhanger; the production does not come across as cheap or staged.

The Story – What to Know

In the future, there are three main factions: Earth, Mars, and the “Belt” (as in asteroid belt). Earth is governed by the UN; Mars is a republic which depends on its military, innovation, and loyal citizens. The Belt is made up of those who were born out in space, suffer physical abnormalities as a result of a life in zero gravity (or a space station that merely emulates gravity) and serve as the labor for extraterrestrial projects for Earth and Mars. (There’s certainly a hint of Total Recall in the opening episodes.) There’s simmering resentment for the treatment the “Belters” undergo and there’s talk of an uprising. A distress call leads a space freighter to investigate an abandoned ship. A belter detective searches for a missing woman. A disparate group find themselves thrown together to solve a mystery. A mysterious material is discovered and Mars and Earth vie for control of the alien substance that could prove to be a powerful weapon. The first three seasons work each of these threads into its narrative and form an addictive thriller.

Seasons 4 & 5

Season 4 was my least favorite season. It was the first season where Amazon took the reins and I felt there were some missteps with the overall arc of the development of certain characters as well as the narrative. However, whatever the faults of season four, Amazon remedied any problems with character development and plot and produced a thrilling ten episodes. There are significant changes in the societies of the three major factions (Earth, Mars, and the Belt) and there are some really intense moments, most notably by Dominique Tipper’s character, Naomi Nagata. No spoilers to be found here. I will reveal that there will be a sixth season and it is said that it will be the final series of the show.

If you enjoy the series, comment below with your thoughts of season 1-5 or your expectations and guesses for season 6.


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