Syfy Channel's 'The Expanse' and 'Childhood's End' Review
by Bryan Mero
Syfy is no longer the laughing stock of the scifi universe. Yes, they have the occassional Sharknado movie but in recent times there have been actual science fiction shows going on. Last night was the premier of two shows, The Expanse (based on the book Leviathon Wakes by S.A. Corey) and Childhood's End (based on a book of the same name by Arthur C. Clark). One I expected to be good and the other was unexpected off the radar and excellent.
Labeled the 'Game of Thrones' in space, that is a lot of pressure going into the first episode. I admit that I read the first book, Leviathon Wakes, which is very good and very long. What I found is that they know how to curtail the story to fit into an exciting show for an hour at a time. We meet some of our main characters, who are all very separate from each other but I know will meet down the line. Thomas Pane plays Detective Miller, a earthman living on a space station out in the asteroid belt with the 'belters.' The belters are the working class, tasked with mining the belt for resources that go to Mars and Earth. The belters are not happy in their situation and are on the brink of revolt.
We don't see much of Earth or Mars but what we do see is a leader on earth interrogating a belter. The belter is not used to earth as generations in space have changed them into long boned, light breathing humans that can't stand in our strong gravity.
Our other group are ice miners. They are trying to get back to space dock and collect their on-time bonus when a distress signal comes up. That's about all I can say about that if you haven't seen the first episode. Tonight is the second episode and it only looks like its going to get better and better. The Expanse is first rate science fiction, drama and action all rolled into one!
I had seen one trailer for this and vaguely remember the story from Arthur C. Clark's 1953 novel. It had been on schedule to be made several times but never did until now.
It is set on present day earth. Suddenly spaceships arrive...yes, like Independence Day, but with much different approach. There is one voice from Karellen, the Supervisor of Earth, that starts to change the world. Wars are stopped, people are fed, healed and given a better life. All of this as Karellen stays hidden. Freedom revolts start and die as they are exposed and our man in the middle is a negotiator from Missouri who works with Karellen to persuade everyone to cooperate.
Ok, I could go on and on about the first episode and the content. I should really let you see it for yourself. It is NOT action packed, but they do a great job of letting you get to know the people involved. Everytime your ready to turn the channel or walk away it comes back and reels you back in. This is a straight up scifi drama, as simple as that. It takes a story from 1953 and puts it in modern times. It is the ending that is shocking to those who don't know and what makes me want to tune in again tonight and see how the world reacts.
Thank you Syfy. I've been very critical of your programming in the past. Mostly because it wasn't science fiction on your channel, it was wrestling and horror movies. This puts you back on the map as the leader in scifi and just good television. You have my trust once again and I can't wait to see how these two series play out and what you have in store in the future!