“The Expanse” a fun ride into the unknown

Star Wars is out and Star Trek’s newest movie has gotten mass approval from moviegoers, but they both lead to the same question: where is the hard science fiction? Thankfully this question is answered in the form of “The Expanse” which is a show based on the series by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

If there is one thing that marks a good science fiction universe, it is when the limitation of the setting is used effectively in order to shape it. In the case of “The Expanse,” this is done very well and results in a universe that feels very much alive and believable.

The introduction to Joe Miller, played by Thomas Jane, is a good example of this. We’re introduced to Miller as the camera zooms through the colony he calls home. While this is happening, viewers hear an anti-Earth political speech laid out, and the trip through the colony helps to firmly establish the universe “The Expanse” occurs in. The class system of the colony is shown here as well, as the higher levels of the colony are clearly fitted with grass, vegetation, and with all the comforts of Earth, while the lower levels of the colony (where Miller works) look to be where the poor and unfortunate live. The colony is located on Ceres-one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt that separates Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars from the rest of the planets in the solar system.

In the first episode, it firmly sets up the world and the issues that will likely affect future episodes later in the season.

This firm establishment is also done with the other characters. For instance other characters, like Shohreh Aghdashloo (played by Chrisjen Avasarala) is back on Earth. She is established both as a family person and an unpleasant person in her introduction as the UN Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration, in which we see her give permission to torture a man who clearly has no place on a planet with gravity.

This is done again with Steven Strait’s character, James “Jim” Holden, the acting executive officer of the ice freighter Canterbury, in we which we see what life is like out there alone in space, with no one around for millions of miles besides the people inside the Canterbury.

All of this is done to draw in viewers, and it doesn’t end there. In the opening of the season, we see the girl that Miller is eventually tasked with finding and shipping back to Earth, where her parents are waiting for her. But the characters aren’t the only reason this show should be seen. Namely, this isn’t soft science fiction, that feels more fake than real. “The Expanse” is hard science fiction, not that much different from reality.

In short, “The Expanse” does a great job of drawing in viewers into its world and bringing it alive. It is a show worth keeping an eye on, especially for any science fiction fans.