I got Amazon Prime as a birthday gift, so I’ve been finally able to watch The Expanse TV series that ran on SyFy (and that will continue on Prime). I’ve also read the first novel in the series, Leviathan Wakes, and have the second one queued up at the library. Here are, in no particular order, some thoughts on the series so far in both of its incarnations. Be warned, there may be spoilers.
- The Expanse is Game of Thrones in SPAAAACE!!! For real, it follows the general same format of political drama mixed with some action featuring tons of characters, switches point-of-view characters by chapter, it’s got White Walkers-ish things, and its very own Jon Snow (see below). Given that co-author Ty Franck is George RR Martin’s personal assistance, it comes as no surprise to me to see that influence all over his own work.
- James Holden is legit Space Jon Snow. They both are annoyingly righteous in a world that’s decidedly not, both keep getting in trouble for trying to be holier-than-thou, both know nothing. They also look alike. Seriously. Look at them. They even spend their whole time squinting!
- I like the economy of storytelling in the TV show a lot. They condensed the story of Leviathan Wakes to pack a much meaner punch than in the book, with things happening quicker. Characters get repurposed, and even with the ones added to the show, it makes the whole thing tighter. I’m still trying to figure out if this is a result of the adaptation, or if, years after first writing it, the authors saw a chance to rewrite their story after honing their craft.
- I like the crew of the Rocinante a lot more in the novel than on the TV show. In the novel they are truly a crew, they have bonds, a history, and then they get tossed into the interplanetary shitshow. In the show they barely know each other, and so much time is wasted with petty interpersonal conflict that doesn’t add anything. The characters are thin to begin with, and the TV show turns them into stereotypes so many times.
- I liked Miller a lot more on the show than in the novel, though.
- Interesting change in the protomolecule, going from HR Giger-inspired visuals to neon blue crystal details. I understand the neon blue stuff looks really cool on TV, but it would’ve been neat (and terrifying) to see the nightmarish Giger stuff described in the book.
I’m hooked on the series, both novels and TV show. If I had to choose, I’d say I like the show more due to its pacing, but I like the slower, sweeping epic developing in the novels. I was afraid that The Expanse would be overhyped, but in general it isn’t, and I’m looking forward to diving into the story again.