In all honesty, I have high hopes for the upcoming holiday programming on Syfy. The channel has been regaining viewership with programs like Haven and 12 Monkeys and now the upcoming Childhood’s End and The Expanse which both begin on December 14th. The premiere of Expanse is currently available online at Syfy’s site here or over on YouTube.
The show stars Thomas Jane as Detective Miller, a cop 200 years in the future on the planet Ceres located in the colonized asteroid belt now known as The Belt. He’s investigating the disappearance of Julie Mao and I’m investigating why he’s still wearing a fedora. Probably shooting for the whole film noir thing, but I digress. The first few minutes are sort of laughable. It’s clunky and fast moving while not engaging the viewer and even a change of scenery doesn’t help right away. Aboard the ice freighter, Canterbury, we are introduced to Jim Holden and zero gravity sex. Both are a little ridiculous. Holden, played by Steven Strait, is great-looking and seems to have everyone on his side until he decides to overthrow his own captain and respond to a distress signal from another freighter, the Scopuli.
The most interesting characters aren’t featured enough. Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks plays a thirty-second part of a guy who loses it and talks to his plants. His short performance was gripping and made me forgive the first few scenes, but then he was gone. Paulo Costanzo of TV’s Royal Pains brings the intentional laughs and is the first really likable person onscreen, but he gets lost much like the rest of the Canterbury crew. Shohreh Aghdashloo plays UN Deputy Chrisjen Avasarala, who switches from loving mother in a tickle fight with her son to a gritty interrogator on the other side of torture when a Belter lands on Earth, but her scenes don’t last long.
The pilot certainly isn’t bad, but it doesn’t do a great job of establishing the real conflict and what’s bringing these groups together, which it should do to get audiences interested in tuning in when the show begins to air on television on the 14th. I will definitely be tuning in once the series begins, but I don’t think it’s worth streaming early. The previews for the rest of the season look promising so it’s likely the series will begin to hit its stride in episode two.
Will you be checking out The Expanse?
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