What is on my video device this week: The Expanse, Season 2
I am not quite caught up with the current season of The Expanse, but I am loving catching up with this show in batches. I still love the casting for Bobbie, and am really liking seeing more of her before she get swept up in the larger narrative. But, the casting of Wes Chatham as Amos is still the one that is blowing my socks off. He has the dead-eyed stare of the character from the book, and manages to be both the loyal shipmate and menacing figure he is in the book.
One of the problems with adapting a book to TV or movies is what has to change. They are different mediums and what maybe an epic moment in one, is horribly tedious in another. So, scenes and characters change or get cut to make the story work, and then the fan-rage begins. There is something about science fiction that does not lend itself to the type of passionate fandom that epic fantasy does, you don’t see as many fans enraged by changes in the Expanse the way that you see them reacting in something like The Game of Thrones.
Even before the advertising calling The Expanse “Game of Thrones” in space, there were a number of similarities between the two series. They both have huge casts and sprawling narratives that cross huge distances, The Expanse feels a bit smaller in some ways. One reason why is that even through it takes place across a whole solar system, the cast of The Expanse is much smaller. You could argue for a week who the main character of Games of Thrones is/was/will be, in The Expanse you have a much smaller set. Miller, the four members of the Rocinante crew, Bobbie, Chrisjen, and Fred and you have most of the repeat speaking roles so far, where as Game of Thrones had that many in the first episode.
Some of the space for characters is taken up by the need for exposition around the technology, even in a not quite hard science fiction series like The Expanse needs a lot more time to satisfactorily explain the tech. You can wave you hands a lot more when you say “magic” like you can in epic fantasy.
Could you do a science fiction epic with a cast like Game of Thrones? What about a tight fantasy with fewer characters and more depth on the magic? I would assume so, trying to think of some good examples…
TL;DR review: Highly Recommended. Expanse is the best space show on right now, hands down.