The Expanse (TV Series 2015– ) Poster

(2015– )

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Ambitious, complex sci-fi/mystery thriller; offers great world-building and perfectly paced storytelling
gogoschka-118 October 2016
Wow: This was by far the biggest surprise for me in 2016. And apparently, I was somewhat late to the party, as the show already began to air in 2015. I'm an avid sci-fi fan, but I hadn't heard or read anything about 'The Expanse', and yet it's one of the most ambitious sci-fi (or generally high profile/concept TV) shows I've come across in recent years.

First, I believe a little (spoiler-free) information might be helpful prior to watching the show, because the viewer is thrown right into an incredibly detailed world where much is shown rather than explained (which is certainly an elegant choice in terms of storytelling and world-building, but there's so much going on and every shot is packed with so much visual information that it can be a little confusing during the first 2 or 3 episodes). So what you need to know is this: A couple of hundred years into the future, humanity is spread out throughout the solar system and divided into 3 opposing forces who are on the brink of an all out war for political power and resources (mainly water - which is harvested in the form of asteroid ice). The 3 fractions consist of the two superpowers Earth (governed by the U.N.) and Mars; the third party are the "belters", which is basically everyone unfortunate enough to be living on poor dwarf planets like Ceres or other large rocks in the asteroid belt (hence the name "belters").

Those belters are the future equivalent of the 3rd World population, as they represent the poor, exploited and underdeveloped colonies in the solar system. Many belters feel represented by the "Outer Planets Alliance" (short: O.P.A.) which is a radical group demanding more autonomy and fairer distribution of resources for the inhabitants of the asteroid belt, but is viewed as a terrorist group by Earth and Mars. Belters are badly affected by the harsh conditions in low (or even zero) gravity (which is often referred to as "low-G" or "zero-G"), as well as low oxygen levels and the strict rationing of water; their bodies develop less muscles and their bone structure has less density compared to that of humans born and raised on Earth or Mars. The belters' life expectancy is roughly half of that of humans living on Earth.

So that's the backdrop to the story told in 'The Expanse', and it all may seem a little complicated at the start, because the plot unfolds through several separate story lines. The key parts of the story are told through the eyes of three different protagonists: a high ranking U.N. official on Earth named Avasarala (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo); a cynical belter police detective named Miller (Thomas Jane) whose story starts on Ceres; and a young executive officer named Holden (Steven Strait) working on an ice freighter in space. Although those three don't know it (yet), their stories are connected - and that's all I'm gonna say about the plot, because this show deserves to be watched unspoiled.

Featuring visual and narrative elements that reminded me of almost every sci-fi film I ever loved - 'Alien', 'Outland', 'Serenity', 'Blade Runner' and many more - this is an R-rated space opera no sci-fi fan should miss. And although it probably can't compete with 175 million costing blockbusters like the new 'Star Trek' movies in terms of visual effects, 'The Expanse' looks fantastic. Given the insane amount of effects work involved, it must have been a very expensive affair for SyFy (who ordered the series from production companies Alcon Television and The Sean Daniel Company), and although I doubt they were able to afford the kind of budget HBO usually spends on shows like 'Game of Thrones' or 'Westworld', in terms of scope and complexity, this new SyFy show easily matches HBO's flagships (it appears Syfy is trying to get rid of its reputation as "shlock-channel").

The storytelling is meticulous and perfectly paced; the world-building richly detailed and always credible, and the patient viewer who doesn't demand everything be explained within the first episodes is rewarded with a thrilling, mysterious tale of adventure and discovery. The cast is terrific (especially Thomas Jane who seems to fit his character like a glove) and the writing manages the astounding feat to elegantly lead us through a very complex world and complicated story without ever feeling forced or weighed down by expository dialogue. Showrunners/writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (known for their Oscar nominated work on the screenplay for 'Children of Men') really have done a fine job bringing the series of novels by James S. A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) to life. Highly recommended to every sci- fi fan: 9 stars out of 10.

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Get past the first season to see its grandour
philnoone2124 May 2018
A few of the one-star reviews here say they gave up after 2 episodes, Dull acting, silly plot etc etc. Well, I did give up too. I concurred, and thought it was hopeless.

Damn, though, my niece, son and a friend said it was the best TV series they had seen. Respecting their views based on previous recommendations, I persevered out of respect only, and recommenced watching the series with great reluctance and bemusement that they could be so misinformed.

At some point, and certainly into Season 2 I became aware that I was watching the best TV series I had seen. Firefly used to be may fav, but this has swept past. The architecture is spectacular and importantly grounded. Not the fantasy (apologies to fans) that is served up in Star Wars but a grounded realism that hooks one to the possibility.

It's just awesome, truely, I'm mesmerised.

What ever you do, stick with it to Season 2 and I promise you wont be disappointed. If you are, then my profuse apologies for making a promise that I thought could not possibly be compromised.
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Dear Jeff Bezos,,,,
shelchel28 May 2018
Dude thanks for saving and picking up "The Expanse" Sincerely, real Sci-Fi fans.
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A future Cult Series
alexodisea3 March 2017
The Expanse is not an easy series to start. The first couple of episodes are slower because there are a lot of world building to do and character to present. That can threw off a lot of people, but if you keep watching, the series shows everything one can hope in a Sci-fi and space opera series. I also realized that the first slowest episodes are much better in a re watch when you know the characters and what is going on.

The first season is a more paused space opera, but in the 2nd season the brakes are off, the stakes are higher and its being an even more awesome show. The 5th chapter of 2nd season "Home" is one of the best chapters in the history of sci-fi without a doubt.

The series follow several mayor characters across the solar system:

Miller, a burn out cop searching for a missing girl in Ceres in the asteroid belt, Avasarala, a ruthless Earther politician who wants to stop a possible war between Earth and Mars, Holden, the 2nd officer in an Ice hauler who sees himself in a situation he never saw coming...

Later more characters join the plot with the same level of importance like Bobbie the Martian Marine, Fred Johnson, Tycho station head project and one of the OPA leaders and a lot of other complex characters.

The plot and characters at first feel disconnected and random, but when the series develops, you realize they they fit incredibly well.

The special effects are top notch with some incredible gorgeous shots, and and incredible attention to detail. That shows in how smartly they use real physics in a way that is almost a character and plot in itself.

The acting is great for the most part. Specially Thomas Jane, who simply nails it in a way that makes Miller one of the most compelling and charismatic characters in TV in a long time.

So to summarize:

  • Great plot

  • Great Characters

  • Stuning Special Effects

  • Great use of real physics

  • Hard to follow at the beginning, but with a great payoff later

  • Great re watch value

  • The series is gonna be a CULT SERIES, mark my words-
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An absolute island in television
ccudahy-6763615 April 2018
This is possibly (probably) the best television or even cinematic experience I have ever seen (particularly in the sci-fi realm). I am very stingy when it comes to TV shows since I feel that often they are inconsistently realized. I created an IMDB account just to drop a review for this one.

I just finished an episode in season 2 that made me cry and just stare at the credits for 2 minutes, motionless. No other show has ever so consistently provided the following for me:
  • Non-stop realistic character development and exposition
  • emotional gravity and consequences; every action has a reaction and every single second of seemingly unimportant exposure or backstory is relevant to building character and stakes in the story. No fluff here.
  • a real and believable world with new thoughts and a reason for everything
  • delivered creative, thoughtful, new ideas and plot points which make me question the nature of life and humanity
  • great acting from all levels of character

This series reminds a lot of the video game series Mass Effect but with even more consistency and thoughtful execution. Don't miss this, very much underrated in my opinion.
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The best space opera I have ever seen!
nyutkamarko2 March 2017
I'm a very lazy person when it comes to reviews, basically it is my first one. But I just really want to support this show as much as I can!

I've never seen any space opera TV show with the same attention to details, high quality graphics, mind blowing storytelling. Gosh, even costumes are superb! Usually I like to search for some holes in the story or illogical stuff, but here everything comes together just precisely like it should.

The show combines everything that I love in TV shows - politics, intrigues, technology, controversial but solid characters, multiple "worlds" etc. And I really didn't expect that level of bad-ass production from SyFy, great job guys! I'm looking forward to the next episode and really hope there will be more seasons to come.
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Best sci-fi in the longest time
prakharone16 May 2018
Starts a little slow but builds a whole believable universe. And WHAT a universe it is. Rarely does one come across characters and worlds with so much depth. Cannot recommend this show enough.
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One of the best SciFi series lately
ocika9 August 2017
I was so tired of new sci-fi shows until this started. Luckily I had whole 1st season. Show starts little bit slow, but getting better and better every passing episode. Excellent story and casting. Very refreshing. The best science fiction series in last decade. I highly recommend you to watch with English subtitles on.
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Best Sci-Fi since Babylon 5
cobra616 July 2017
This show makes other Sci-Fi shows seem bad. I can't get into Dark Matter, which otherwise would be a decent show, but after watching the Expanse, it pales in comparison.

I don't have issues with the accents. I like that the Belters have unique accents. The accent sounds a bit Afrikaans but it is distinctly unique. I think it adds to the realism. Of course after years apart, people will have new accents.

This is the only show I watch where I can't be doing anything but watching the show. I often multitask while watching programs (I am actually watching an episode of Dark Matter while I type this), but The Expanse has too much going on. I must devote all of my attention to it.

I always had Babylon 5 (well the first 4 years at least) up on a pedestal as my favorite Sci-Fi of all time. The Expanse isn't there yet, but it is getting close.

My only complaint is why aren't Earthers so much stronger than Martians and Belters. I understand that Martian Marines train in 1G, but Earth Marines live, breathe and sleep in 1G. Earthers should be far, far, stronger than any Belter. (Am I wrong in my thinking here?)

It sucks having to wait 9 months for season 3.
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Best "hard" sci fi I've seen since Battlestar Galactica
jeffrey-464 April 2018
OMG I love this show. I've seen up through S02E03 on Amazon Prime.

I only gave it a 9 because I don't like to give anything a 10.

Others have gone into good detail of what is good about this show so I'll just add some bullet points that I didn't see covered (although with 250+ reviews I probably just missed 'em)

In no particular order other than stream-of-consciousness:

* Detailed, realistic science fiction * Space behaves like, well, space * Gravity. They did a stellar job with gravity. It isn't perfect. But they emphasize realistic ways to simulate gravity (ships under continuous acceleration, spinning, ring-shaped space stations). And they shut gravity off when appropriate. * Space ship battles are incredibly thoughtfully designed, with an eye for small details. They pump the air out of the ship before a battle, for goodness' sake. I can't think of *any* other scifi space show that goes into these details * Consistency. Characters act consistently. Environments act consistently. * Details. So many details! Mag boots. Ship maneuvers. technology such as computer/handheld devices. All so believable. * Mormons! There are mormons, because, of course there are. And they aren't even the bad guys! (I only state it this way because too often, mysterious religious groups are used as hollywood shorthand for "bad guys"). The presence of Mormons just enriches the worldbuilding. * I love the fact that Eros station just looks like a giant potato with a porthole on its butt. It isn't polished. It isn't flashy. It's grimy and utilitarian. * I love that every move made by a spaceship has corresponding thrusters pushing it in that direction. The space ships do not fly like fighter jets, like they do in other typical sci fi shows. They fly like rocks. * I love the fact that space craft tracking screens look like legitimate space object tracking screens, with curved, mathematically drawn projected trajectories.

I can't gush enough about the "hard" sci-fi elements. I haven't even gushed about the production yet:

* Story is detailed, in-depth, and engaging. It's basically a political/war drama, but it is very well written. * Acting is great. Seriously. Even the throwaway characters are great. * Anyone can die at any time. Very Game-of-Thrones-y in this regard, in a good way. Builds tension very realistically. * Costumes, sets, graphics, cinematography are all excellent

Star Trek. I used to like Star Trek. Have you seen Star Trek Beyond (2016) though? That was terrible. Everything that is done wrong in Star Trek Beyond is done correctly in The Expanse. In fact, I'm not sure I can watch any Star Trek show or movie again after The Expanse.

Ultimately The Expanse feels like a combination of Battlestar Galactica (2005 one) and Firefly, more than any other series I can think of.
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Best sci fi in a long long time
wtf_is_god8 December 2015
Highly recommended. I have never written reviews, although I've had an IMDb account for a long time. I give all the new sci fi shows a try, but I end up not following most. So I have a good idea of what's out there for fans. Most new sci fi is ... unscientific, to put it kindly, or just techy stage furniture with soap-opera dialogue and character development. Like most fans, what I want to watch is a great sci fi story that seriously takes into consideration the effect of technology on the world around us, and intelligently explores the possible futures of humanity. I'm also interested by stories that consider the social issues of an alternative world shaped by different forces -- what would happen if, say, people lived on different planets, or if water was scarce, or if you had to live in 0g all your life. I know no sci fi will ever rise to the standards of physics PhDs, but it would be nice if writers occasionally paid attention to one.

This review is based solely on one episode so hopefully this was not a fluke, but the quality and writing are outstanding (better than most good high budget movies). Just based on this, and the fact that it is genuinely science fiction done with care, which shows great attention to detail and love for the project, I think this show should get the best word of mouth it can get. I warmly recommend it to everyone.
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mac-leckrone11 June 2018
Most distressing part of being a fan of the "sci-fi" genre, is that on the one hand we have an embarrassment of riches in a continuous flow of excellent literary works from which to choose; and on the other hand, a sputtering supply of embarrassingly bad movies and lackluster TV. Adding insult to injury, the fates seem to seek and destroy the few high-quality TV series that do emerge from the pack (Firefly, Dark Matter).

As another reviewer well said, the Expanse is an "island in television." Not since Battlestar Galactica have we been treated to motion-picture art so well-conceived in the sci-fi genre. Hollywood seems to believe that "sci fi" fans are easy to please with superficial stories, predictable characters, and eye candy special effects. NOT TRUE. Although the "production value" of The Expanse seems near unprecedented, it is NOT why there are so many 9-10 star reviews on this forum.

Rather, the reason is good story-telling. Not too much reveal too fast... but enough to keep big, interesting questions smoldering. And mercifully, the writers spare us long passages of explanatory dialog. Instead we're invited to use our imagination, and even watch episodes repeatedly.

If you've read the SA Corey books, you'l delight at the manner in which they are here brought to life. If you haven't, you'll be seriously entertained, and perhaps inspired to do so.

With all the high-quality literary works in the genre, Hollywood has no excuse that something as good as The Expanse is so rare, as there is certainly no shortage of deep, multi-layered, captivating universerses. Why it is so rare, I can't say. I can say however, that I'm damn glad the people behind the production The Expanse care so much about their creation, and that they are being supported by the industry. Here's to 10 more seasons!!
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Agenda driven industry and dumbed down audience are destroying entertainment.
rsvp32112 May 2018
Gobsmacked at the news that this show has been cancelled after only three seasons!

Currently, if a series doesn't have social messages central to every plot, they won't be supported, and abandoned.

With imbecilic agenda shows like Arrow/Flash/Legends/Supergirl continuing to survive in an era where the wrong people are making these propaganda decisions, it's obvious that there won't be much chance for another high caliber show as this one to make an appearance any time soon.

***For fans of The Expanse, fortunately, there's an option. There are a stack of books available to continue the saga! (Unfortunately, it will upset you even more when you see how awesome future seasons of this series was going to be, once you read where the incredible story was taking us!) They are all also in audible book form. No CGI can duplicate your imagination.
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No Lasers! no Shields! No Warp drives!
I cant get enough of this show , Bingeworthy edge of your seat Sci-fi that ticks all the boxes whilst scaling space travel down to to the confines of our galaxy and i solid dose of reality which when i comes to space based dog fights is just brilliant.

Cannot recommend enough for any sci-fi fan.

Great actors, great acting, rivetting story and a janky ass south african/irish/god knows what belter dialect that i cant get enough of.
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NekatsiEmanresuSiht4 October 2017
Well this will be one obsolete review as by now pretty much everyone agrees this is probably the best sci-fi TV show of today, and the ratings seem to prove it. I'm also a few years late. However, I've had like a sip of wine and it just crossed my mind once again how awesome this show is, and how happy I am in general to witness the amazing sci-fi television achievements of today, with film technology finally catching up with the awe-inspiring ideas this genre has been giving us since its conception. I. Am. Happy. Have been miserable approx. ever since Battlestar Galactica ended, whining how there hasn't been any decent space sci fi on television for ages, and all of a sudden I got this, and several other decent shows followed - for crying out loud, we have like TWO Treks going on right now!

So anyway. I have no idea what happened to Syfy channel, who got fired or hired, or whatever, but something changed there a few years ago, and for the better. They actually invested money in televising a contemporary, groundbreaking sci-fi story, and they did it WELL.

I haven't read the books, bought a few of them of course, but read? Nay. However, the story shown on the TV series is intelligent, complex, and more than anything, DIFFERENT, in the best way possible. Season two finale left me baffled, amazed, excited - and happy. And that's what this scheisse is all about.

Thank you everyone who participated in writing this and bringing it to small screens for all us lazy bastards to see. We are forever grateful. Thank you. Thank you!!

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Promising series sticking largely to the book
sahil17029 November 2015
To start with, I have read the first three books of the Expanse series by James Corey, and I am a huge fan. I got to the books, after George RR Martin's recommendation.

Moving to the series, I expected another cheesy show Syfy has been known for lately, and dreaded that they are doing a TV Series for one of the best sci-fi books I have read in some time. I did not even watch the trailers, somehow curiosity got me to watch the pilot episode. I was pleasantly surprised by the production quality. Syfy is clearly putting a lot of resources (and a big bet), that the series will be the winning horse. The actors so far are sticking to the characters James Corey sketched out, but some of the main characters personality is yet missing (Naomi comes to mind the first).

The actors are too early to comment, but Holden (Steven Strait) seems promising, a little younger than what Corey sketched. Detective Miller is a very crucial character, and Corey had given him a fantastic gray, sarcastic humor (hope Thomas Jane can pull it off). But thats the beauty of a series based on a brilliant book, the story-line and the universe the author has built is so good, that it will be able to mask some mediocre actors too. Unlike the TV shows at present who have a rudimentary story line but rely more on script and acting to pull it off.

The pilot episode largely sticks to book (a huge relief), in fact the producers have even stuck to what sort of background music is playing. I really hope this show receives the positive feedback, the sci-fi fans need it, sci-fi is so much more than comic books.

I do hope viewers appreciate the intricacies of the story line, the politics between Earth, Mars, and the Belter region. The relatively more accurate space physics. The attention to smaller details (on why just having a normal Earth pressure, is a grievous torture for someone who has been born on null or lower gravity etc). The changes in lingo between various regions, there is a lot of Belter lingo in the dialogues etc.

In the end Sci-fi fans, you have to watch this to support the genre. This is actual old school Sci-fi.
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One of the best series in the last 20 years, serious sound issues in season 1
anonymtruther28 June 2018
... and cliché/boring season 2 (later half). The Expanse has 3 seasons, the first one is a mixture of noire and sci-fi, the 2nd one of political drama/sci-fi and the 3rd one is adventure/sci-fi with some plitical drama. This is much better than BSG (2/5). While the books try to get about 1/2 of the science right, the series gets about 1/3 of it right - that's reasonably enough. Be prepared for some serious sound quality issues in season 1 and some seriously boring and dumb episodes in season 2 (later half) - where the creators for some nonsense reason decided to expand a 5-episode book into 13 episodes + some material into the 3rd season /they'd need 15 seasons to finish the books at this rate/. Season 3 is extremely good, so don't throw it away due to the bad episodes in season 2 - as I nearly did.
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A delightful offering that will remind you of Outland and Alien
kevinstan3 December 2015
Syfy's new offering presents camera work, atmosphere, and backgrounds reminiscent from greats like Outland and Alien, among other pillars of the genre. Backed by faces familiar and unknown, the cast does an effective job keeping viewers in the moment as the story progresses.

Distinct from shows like The Last Boat, Helix, or Defiance, the story, acting, and dilemmas posed work well with a camera that feels oddly familiar as the first episode lays out the road ahead.

Without going into detail, the plot is far from unique. But it is as reasonable a hook as any to bring us into the universe of author James Corey. Conflict between Earth and Mars anchor the show and we are left desiring more information at the show's conclusion.

While it is not the next "Battlestar Galactica," it promises to be more. While Galactica wrapped itself in mythology and religion, The Expanse promises a universe troubled by politics, economics, the brokenness of man, all with the familiar look and feel of cinematic greats that came before.

If the series can maintain the look, feel, and quality found in those previous movies, The Expanse stands to deliver something new that feels like something old... or at least the best parts of something old.

I highly recommend you take a look for yourself; you will not be disappointed.
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What took so long Syfy?!?
michael-phipps17 December 2015
Is it possible that the Syfy channel finally produced a space drama that isn't complete garbage? It sure looks like they indeed finally made a good science fiction show that doesn't rhyme with sharknado.

The Expanse has acceptable acting, a great story that appears well scripted for TV and a well deserved budget for special effects. The original book material gives a lot to work with for the TV script. It has been awhile since something close to Battlestar Galactica quality has aired.

I'm really looking forward to continuing this show..and I will keep my fingers crossed that the first two episodes were not a fluke.
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Best thing on SyFy since Battlestar Galactica
mhorg201814 February 2017
Damn. If the Syfy (I hate that abbreviation) Channel would show more stuff like this and less from The Asylum, I'd watch it more. This is simply great SF. The physics of space travel are as realistic as can be. The characters, from Miller the beat up Belter Cop, to Amos the Earther, to Holden the righteous captain by default and the places, Ceres, Tycho, Earth and Mars are all well defined and believable. The sfx is brilliant and the ship designs look like they've evolved from what we use today. The situations, different governments vying for power, resources and land, are all excellently done. A really great adaptation of a really great book series. This should be watched by anyone who even claims to be a sf fan.
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Very Entertained
nightblade-537309 December 2015
I was hooked almost immediately. The story is great so far, acting is above average, and it has a high production value considering the network. Finally some true science fiction! This is the second show from SyFy that they have produced in the last year that I am impressed with (12 Monkeys being the other)...that is impressive since they basically have had only one really good show to their credit since they came on the air. Judging by the production value, I would say that SyFy is attempting to finally get into TV's golden age...even non- science fiction lovers should get into this one.

Good stuff so far. I'll definitely be watching!
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Hands down best modern science fiction TV show, loaded with an extra shot of science!
toranmallow16 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Others here have said it better than I can, but I can't help but chime in... No modern science fiction TV series has come close to the quality of The Expanse, in my opinion.

What does it have?

* Movie level special effects * A plot arc that begins on a very reasonably sound scientific basis (*spoiler*) before it starts slowly introducing aspects of fiction/fantasy * Kick ass characters who are scientists, engineers, pilots, marines, etc * Extremely strong and diverse female characters (Avasarala is hot!) * Lots of attention to detail, especially on the science (although it can be subtle sometimes if you aren't watching closely) * Occasionally haunting horror aspects * Excellent acting (although it takes some episodes to start to catch on with some characters) * Builds up a world history explaining (*spoiler*) how humanity expands into interstellar colonization

What more can you ask for?
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Don't Listen to Reviewers Who Only Watched Episode One
bpw38335 July 2017
I don't understand why so many people feel they can review a series after watching one (or part of one) episode. I agree that the first episode was hard-to-follow, but the whole point is that the remaining episodes *explain* what happens in that first episode.

Overall the show is engrossing and worth checking out if you're a fan of science fiction. I wouldn't say it's anywhere near as good as Firefly (although I hear season 02 is even better than season 01), though, despite the fact that the two seem to often be compared. The plot of season one was, in the end, tight and well-executed.

I wrote this review primarily to voice my frustration with all the recent reviews of this show written by those who only watched one episode.
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Not only the best sci-fi show, but the best among all TV shows these days!!
tesseract-9596021 May 2018
I have been watching 'The Expanse' since Season 1, and it just keeps getting better and better. It is intelligent storytelling combined with accurate science/physics portrayal, great acting and stunning visual effects. Definitely supporting the campaign to save it!! 'The Expanse' must go on!!
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Love it!
virginiacottrell11 February 2017
So it took a long time for them to bring out the next season of The Expanse, and since then I watch 'Killyjoys' and 'Dark Matter', DM being the better of the two. To be honest I had forgotten about this show and even part of the story. So after a quick recap of the last season now I remember why I liked it so much. I then watched all 3 current episodes in one go at the time of writing this review, and have to say I love it. It kills the Killjoys, Dark Matter... yes still keen but The Expanse has come back with a vengeance!

If you have watched the season 2 trailer (as they describe it as Battlestar Gallactia and Game of Thrones), I might tend to agree.

There are no other sci-fi shows out there that could beat this right now. Strong acting, good story and great special effects. I cant wait for the next episode.
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