TV Review: The Expanse Season 2 Premiere

<Minor spoilers ahead>

Last year, SyFy channel brought James S.A. Corey’s science fiction series, ‘The Expanse’ to television.  ‘Expanse’ is a very popular science fiction book series which just completed its sixth novel in a project series of nine books.  As far as science fiction goes, it isn’t particularly deep – but it is fun and cinematic and filled with charismatic characters cracking one liners as they fight a political and corporate conspiracy which soon explodes into an intergalactic adventure.  SyFy channel, looking to finally find a replacement for its acclaimed ‘Battlestar Galactica’, could rest easy as the show gained positive buzz and had a very successful first season.

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Season two premiered this week with two episodes and I’m happy to say the high-quality acting and sequences from the first season are back.    Rather than a full in-depth review, here are some thoughts on what I saw:

  • The chemistry of the crew of the Rocinante continues to be a high point of the show. There is now a love interest between Holden and Naomi and Alex continues to be good comic relief without being immature or annoying – the guy pilots a starship, he isn’t an idiot. But the best character continues to be the sociopathic Amos.  It is clear the man is a killer whose only anchor appears to be Naomi.  How long will that situation remain stable?
  • Miller continues to be brilliant. The death of Julie Mao has clearly put him officially in the ‘no fucks given’ category.  His actions in the explosive ending of the episode was pretty much the biggest mic drop moment of the entire series.
  • These first two episodes are where the politics of the Solar System really come into play and I thought the show knocked it out of the park by making the Martian-Earth stand off over Phoebe riveting. Chrisjen Avasarala and Fred Johnson were good last season but it is clear they are now going to be center stage in either preventing or starting a war.
  • The introduction of the Bobbie Draper and the Martian Marines is a good counterpoint. Bobbie was pivotal in the books and it appears they are making her a bit more militant than in the books.  The show so far has kept close to the books but I’m curious if they diverge a bit here.
  • The final action sequence of the second episode, the assault on the space station and the accompanying space battle were extremely well known. The Expanse has been great about giving us a different and perhaps more realistic form of space battle and they really delivered here with the cat and mouse game between the Rocinante and the Stealth Ship.

The third episode airs later this week and I look forward to seeing the political and interpersonal fallout from the space station raid.  Bottom line:  It looks like this show isn’t going to have a sophomoric slump and if you have been waiting for a great science fiction show to pop up, this is one you should start watching.

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