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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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The Expanse

People, make sure you reserve a slot in your monday schedule to watch the first episode of SyFy’s new science fiction series (10 episodes recorded in advance): The Expanse is an epic story about the human race that is on a crossroads: it will either destroy itself… or expand beyond our solar system.

There are not many science fiction movie series that are honoring the science – most current science fiction is just sitcoms interwoven with something inexplicable. Ever since Babylon 5, I have not been excited as much as I am now.

The theatric version is based on a series of novels called The Expanse (5 so far, and more in the pipeline) written by a duo that assumed the pen name James S.A. Corey. Taking place two centuries in the future, when humans have mostly depleted the natural resources on Earth and colonized Mars (for expanding human living space) and the Asteroid Belt (for its resources), the cold war between the three populations is about to get hot. In  the center of the story is a rich girl gone rogue, who has come into contact with an alien probe containing a genetic code alteration template (need to keep this vague in order not to spoil the storyline). Story lines on Earth, Mars, the Belt and in space are revolving around the devastating effects the alien genetic code has on the world around it, and the result is a solid and exciting space opera. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the author duo, are also the script writers for the SyFy episodes which should be a guarantee for a a faithful interpretation of the books. I read all of them, the story draws you in and won’t let you go. The combination of fast-paced action and contemplative chapters worked as a booster for my imagination. I like it when a written story is able to visualize itself in my mind, many books are just (exciting) stories but without a properly crafted and believable world in which the story unfolds. I could totally connect with the main character Holden’s quest for a good cup of coffee, regardless of the precarious situations he finds himself in.

If you are not so much into movies, at least take the opportunity to buy or borrow the books, they are worth it.

 

Comments

Comment from Jen
Posted: December 13, 2015 at 01:06

Requested from the library!

Comment from Mike Langdon
Posted: December 13, 2015 at 13:42

Thanks for the heads up! I don’t watch much TV, but this will have to be on my list.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: December 13, 2015 at 14:05

Hi MIke

The first episode has been online for a couple of weeks already, in advance of the television premiere: http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse/videos/101-dulcinea
Unfortunately that video can not be watched outside the US.
However, a smart Slacker knows how to use proxies and circumvent that insignificant barrier 😉
I watched this first episode twice, because it is crammed with background information. If you have not read the books or at least the first book, you’ll have a hard time getting all that’s going on.
Still I think that even for the un-initiated, this will be a gripping and exciting story. Can’t wait for the second episode.

Comment from Kingbeowulf
Posted: December 13, 2015 at 20:51

Looking forward as well. Its the next book series after The Wheel of Time series I’m currently addicted to. We have very good independent bookstore here that gets my disposable cash on a regular basis (http://www.powells.com/)

There has been a dearth of decent space opera. The Star Trek series’ were just so-so, Babylon 5 was good, Firefly was VERY good (an NO sound in space – excellent!). As for the rest, well, I’ll pretty much watch any SF no matter the quality. Its gotten so bad that I fire up U.F.O and Space:1999 on Hulu. “the Expanse” gets me as excited as a new Slackware release.

Comment from Brad
Posted: December 14, 2015 at 00:02

Thanks for the recommendation. Will give it a try.

Comment from ponce
Posted: December 14, 2015 at 19:35

I watched the first episode before reading this and, yes, I liked it.

recently a dear friend pointed me toward the battlestar galactica series post-2000 as the best tv sci-fi ever: I had never watched any (I hadn’t liked the old ones so I was biased) and gotta say I was not disappointed at all: let’s see if this gets as good as that!

Comment from fabio
Posted: December 15, 2015 at 03:32

Many thanks for the heads up! Got the first book and reading it before diving into the tv show. So far (16% of the book says the reading app) and it’s really worth it.

Comment from joshee
Posted: December 15, 2015 at 04:15

Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009) was phenomenal. I hope this new series will be just as good. Thanks for pointing it out!

Comment from Darth Vader
Posted: December 15, 2015 at 16:11

Superb series, indeed. Loved first episode.

Yeah, SyFy as in its ol-good days, when the HD torrents are ready and uploaded by our American friends, in 30 minutes after airing the episode!

Oops! I for one, NEVER, BUT NEVER I torrented sci/fi! I wait candid one frakking year to be aired in Europe, of course!

BTW, how it is called your native language, Dutch, well … native? As in ‘Dutch Language’ in Dutch?

Comment from alienbob
Posted: December 15, 2015 at 16:36

Hi Darth Vader… Dutch is written as “Nederlands” in dutch,

Comment from Darth Vader
Posted: December 15, 2015 at 18:39

Thanks, I needed this information for a colleague, to insert in a site.

Comment from Deny Dias
Posted: December 16, 2015 at 13:44

[SPOILER ALERT!!!]

Thanks for the tip, Eric! I’m in looking for anything SciFi lately (real world just sucks nowadays), so your tip come in a very god moment.

I watched The Expanse S01E01 yesterday night. Kinda liked it, but… doppler effect?!? In the outer space? Why, why in the hell directors/producers keep doing that?!?

It’s just beautiful a most physically correct approach as we see in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. But no! They insist in those low pitched noise and now we’ve got even doppler!

Aside of that detail, it’s a really good, entertaining SciFi what I see in The Expanse.

Comment from Niki Kovacs
Posted: December 16, 2015 at 21:26

Just watched the first episode and got hooked. Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll watch out for the books as soon as I get into town. Cheers!

Comment from Willy Sudiarto Raharjo
Posted: December 17, 2015 at 01:56

downloaded ep 1-4 already. Will watch it for weekend 🙂

Comment from alienbob
Posted: December 21, 2015 at 00:24

I watched the four episodes that were put online, the last one just now. I am blown away. Tense action, terrific scenes, brutal politics.
This series will be here to stay if I am to take a bet. No series on television currently matches the depth of story and the fantastic execution.
I love rail guns. I loved them in the book already.

And watching these episodes made some things come together that I did not understand when reading the first book. After reading all five books of course, I know the full story and how it plays out but I had forgotten about these initial events that set fire to the epic.

Comment from Janis
Posted: January 4, 2016 at 19:47

The language to non-englishman ears very often is almost incomprehensible. It seems subtitles does not exist. I’d try to read the books.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: January 4, 2016 at 21:51

I am not a native english speaker either, so I have english subtitles for all four online episodes. Subs for the belter creole is very convenient – at least now I have some idea what these Belters are saying.

Yes, anyone with an interest in the movie series should read at least the first book ASAP. It provides a much-needed backdrop story because the movies are not making it easy for you if you did not read book one. The other books are even better. And the most recent book… oh man how are they going to film that!

Comment from Alek
Posted: January 7, 2016 at 08:17

Have read first three books couple a years ago, and I am very pleased with first episodes. But then, I discovered books 4 and 5… Now I can’t wait for Babylon’s Ashes! Roci would be much better with Bobby and Peaches as crew 🙂

Comment from Gerardo Zamudio
Posted: January 29, 2016 at 15:32

Thanks for this recommendation, Eric. I just caught the first episode and was immediately blown away.

I want to buy the books and read them before continuing but the story is so intriguing I don’t think I’ll be able to wait for Amazon to ship them over + the time it will take to read them :p

Comment from steve
Posted: February 3, 2016 at 14:07

The first season was pretty good.
There’s too few space Sci-Fi these days.
Let’s wait for season 2 of the expanse and Dark Matter 😀

Comment from R.H.
Posted: February 5, 2016 at 00:37

Good call on this series. The first episode was not that great. But I wanted to give it a chance since it was clear they put a lot of work into this production. The second episode is even better. And now I watched all of them as of last night.

It is good to see how well the actors are doing with so much green screen. I have heard that it is very difficult to act in front of green screen.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: February 5, 2016 at 10:28

R.H. in retrospect, now that the first season has ended, I think the series was brilliant.

Note that the production uses a lot of real props, they built all the enviroments except for the Earth shots, instead of reverting to CGI and greenscreen. This is what makes this series so impressive – the real-life stages are a definite plus. See http://www.tested.com/art/movies/555199-building-world-syfys-expanse/ :

We had a lot of soundstage space. We had 72,000 square feet, which would be somewhere between five and six stages at Warner Bros. We had a lot of stage space–big generous space that was just fabulous to work in. And we built about 150 feet of tunnels for Ceres station, which to me, is quite a lot. We built several space ships interiors too–a lot of stuff.

Comment from R.H.
Posted: February 12, 2016 at 02:27

I am glad to hear that they are not all green screen and they are doing real sets/props. Maybe they realize that green screen is just too hard and only the the rare actor can make it convincing. So good all around for the show. Now how long until season 2 starts?

In the meantime I watched Childhood’s End. Not as good as this show but provoking some deeper thoughts about humanity. Based on A.C. Clarke’s book by the same name.

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