We list out a few reasons (without spoilers) to tell you why The Expanse is probably the most gripping and realistic sci-fi show you’ve ever seen!
It may not be one of the most spoken-of shows in recent times, but The Expanse definitely left an impact on every science fiction fanatic who watched it. The six-season show is based on a series of novels of the same title by James S.A. Corey. The television series was developed by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.
The main crew of the Rocinante
An Overview of the Plot
The series is set in a very realistic timeline, where we as humans colonizing space can actually imagine our future going in this direction! The plot revolves around the three main divisions within our Solar System – that of the United Nations of Earth and Luna, the Martian Congressional Republic who are settlements of people from Earth on the planet Mars, and the Outer Planet Alliance or OPA, the rest of the working population between the belts and moons of Jupiter and Saturn, referred to as the Belters.
The character development of the Belters in The Expanse is one of the most detailed and well thought-of sketches in a realistic sense. From the very first season, the Belters are shown feeling unequal to Earthers, with lack of support in terms of supply and resources to their stations in space. Since not much crop can be grown in space, the Beltalowda (Belter people) are dependent on supplies, and that’s when whispers begin to ensue a war against the Inyalowda (Inner people / Earthers).
James Holden, Captain of the Rocinante with Chrisjen Avasarala, secretary of the United Nations of Earth and Luna.
The Earth government is headed by Chrisjen Avasarala (played by the amazing Shohreh Aghdashloo), while distant relations are maintained with Mars. One of the main elements of The Expanse is the ship called Rocinante (formerly the Martian ship Tachi), a ship captained by James Holden, along with his crew featuring Naomi Nagata, Amos Burton, and others through the course of the show. They identify an extrasolar bio-weapon called the proto-molecule. The story progresses with the formation of the Ring Gate, a doorway into multiple other alien worlds. What happens beyond this is for you to watch, with a powerful story, intense dialogues, and tough decisions every time. Full cast here.
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A mighty force who becomes almost unstoppable is Marco Inaros, leader of the Free Navy, and father to Naomi Nagata’s son Fillip, who is also part of the crew on Inaros’ ship. Most of the best sci-fi is laced in the drama of blood relations, the brotherhood of the crew, and The Expanse doesn’t fail in any of those concepts. The show also delves into exploring new worlds to an extent, and bearing the consequences of diving into foreign worlds not knowing if human technology is enough to sustain what lies ahead.
Marco Inaros, leader of the Free Navy.
Science, oh science!
In literary sense, the show is based on a completely imaginable concept, bearing in mind every detail during the production process – whether it had to do with physics, human emotions, complex politics, and up-to-date visual effects. Some important details the show included were – techniques of travelling in space, the silence of space, and the oversaturated and distorting sound of thrusters, even deceleration, The Expanse had it all covered.
Flip and Burn
Special mention to the show’s attention to detail with the ‘Flip and Burn’ of the spaceship, something a lot of people didn’t understand when they saw the ship showing in reverse for at least the first three seasons! To break the motion of thrusters in a certain direction, moving in a single direction without any breaks in space will result in the spaceship crashing into the landing site! A spaceship would need to turn around, and thrust into the reverse direction to break the fall, while still headed to the destination for a smooth landing. Epic.
Gravity Boots, and Belters & Martians Adjusting to Earth Gravity
You will notice how being born in space would mean scientifically factoring the physical body experiencing some changes. The Belters are seen to have extended spines, making them taller in height and their bodies cannot take gravity on Earth after spending their lives suspended in zero G. Martians train twice as hard to be able to face gravity on Earth, and this can be seen through sequences in the show. These GIFs ahead are kind of self-explanatory!
Bobby, a Martian running successfully while escaping on Earth.
The practicality of fighting with PDCs, railguns and torpedoes in space
Rocinante crew member Alex Jamal turning his boots on to sip on floating water in zero G
Let’s also not forget, there have been some exemplary performances and characters throughout the show supporting the main cast and their objectives. Big shout out to the ultimate belter Camina Drummer, and her crew from Tyco station, all the way to what she becomes. Another massive shout out to Bobby Draper, a Martian who comes to Avasarala’s aid because of her good conscience.
The lingering question – what lies ahead?
After several teases, and hints at unfinished story lines, news portals all over the world have been suspicious of the sixth season being the final piece from The Expanse franchise. The credit roll with the ring gate at the end of the sixth season’s last episode with the gate slowly being taken over by the orange aliens is considered to be alarming and potentially dangerous.
The foundation of the planet Laconia (Planet 2 of ring #673) through the ring gates is also another possible future for something set within The Expanse timelines. Towards the end of the show, there is another twisted element which relates to troubles in the earlier seasons, but just for a brief glimpse. The current TV series ends at the sixth book, with a seventh book from the 9-part series set with the characters 30 years in the future. Let’s hope Amazon Prime finds the money to let this masterpiece continue. Maybe not now, but in a few years?
Strange Dogs on Laconia
What we do have right now is The Expanse: A Telltale Series, based on events prior to the TV series.
The final season of The Expanse concluded in the second week of January 2022. It was revived by Amazon Prime for a sixth and final season in November, after the critical acclaim that the show received in the form of praise for its visuals, how scientifically accurate it is, the deep rooted politics and complexities of different factions and areas in space, and the four awards it won for best science fiction television series and dramatic presentation at the Saturn and Hugo awards respectively.
The Expanse is definitely one of the best science fiction shows in history. We can only hope that there is never any half-assed effort with a slashed budget to make any sort of follow-up for The Expanse, because this kind of gold in science fiction translated from a book to a TV series is one of a kind, and none in the recent past has been even close to matching the spectacle that The Expanse is.
Cover image originally via Amazon Prime.