When the Expanse crossed my radar, I’ll be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed. As is pretty obvious from a lot of my posts, I get a bit… annoyed with how books are stripped down to make them fit for movies or televison.
But as adaptations go, The Expanse, which was Sy-Fy, and then picked up by Prime Video after a fan campaign when it was cancelled, is really quite close to the mark, if you look at the broad strokes and the main characters.
The Expanse looks like a bog-standard sci-fi in space, with stuff going on out in space, and at a space station. In space, a freighter shipping ice was destroyed, and at the station, a detective is tasked with finding a rich girl who has gone missing. The stories are completely entwined in one another and involve something called ‘The protomolecule’. The CGI in space was good, but I was most impressed with how they handled the protomolecule and all the stuff around it.
The best thing about the book, and the TV series is the originality and the characters – both of which were pretty faithfully kept, for the most part. Tom Jayne’s detective (Joe Miller) is world-weary and the right side of believable, just like the books. Amos is a big cuddly (homicidal) teddy-bear who always gets shot first. Alex, the pilot has the broad Texan drawl, and Holden is completely the Lancelot type – wants to always do the right thing, always screws it up. Naiomi is a brilliant engineer. All, bar Holden, hide secrets.
Then there’s Bobby (a Martian Marine) and Chrisjen Avasarala – a very foul-mouthed, blunt little woman who is the UN Undersecretary, under a corrupt boss.
Well, other than it being cancelled? I guess one of the few things I do find a bit irritating is I’ve read four books, and the timeline gets a bit mixed up, or a bit condensed, or a bit….all over the place for me really. But I understand why, and quite honestly, it’s a minor complaint.
One of the most understandable – and still well-handled things – in the books that I really liked and the TV show does it’s best with is the handling of how people feel – the internal motivations. It’s not as clear that character (x) is in love with Julie Mau, and why, which the book covers, but is still an aspect of why the show is, I guess, so successful.
And there’s no real difference since it moved from Sy-fy (or, if you got it while syndicated, it’s not your imagination, it was on Netflix in certain territories.
All in all, the Expanse is a great show, and it’s up for our recaps (along with Westworld, Altered Carbon and The Mandalorian, to name a few), that I really enjoy.
But….I still prefer the books 🙂