The Expanse (TV series)
|Based on||The Expanse series of novels
by James S. A. Corey
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||15 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–44 minutes|
|Original release||November 23, 2015– present|
The Expanse is an American space opera/mystery science fiction drama television series on Syfy, based on the series of novels by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (writing under the pseudonym James S. A. Corey). Set in a future where humanity has colonized the Solar System, it follows United Nations executive Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), and ship's officer Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and his crew as they unravel a conspiracy that threatens peace in the system and the survival of humanity. The series premiered on demand on November 23, 2015, and on Syfy on December 14, 2015. A 13-episode second season premiered on February 1, 2017.
Two hundred years in the future, in a fully colonized Solar System, police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), born on Ceres in the asteroid belt, is given the assignment to find a missing young woman, Juliette "Julie" Andromeda Mao (Florence Faivre). Meanwhile, James Holden (Steven Strait), the Executive Officer of the ice hauler Canterbury, is involved in a tragic incident that threatens to destabilize the uneasy peace between Earth, Mars and the Belt. On Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), a United Nations executive, works to prevent war between Earth and Mars by any means necessary. Soon, the three find out that the missing woman and the ice hauler's fate are part of a vast conspiracy that threatens all humanity.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Thomas Jane as Josephus "Joe" Aloisus Miller, a Belter detective on Ceres assigned to find Julie Mao
- Steven Strait as James "Jim" Holden, the Earther captain of the Rocinante, formerly the executive officer of the Canterbury
- Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal, the Martian pilot of the Rocinante, formerly the pilot of the Canterbury
- Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata, the Belter engineer of the Rocinante, formerly an engineer of the Canterbury
- Wes Chatham as Amos Burton, the Earther mechanic of the Rocinante, formerly a mechanic of the Canterbury
- Paulo Costanzo as Shed Garvey, the Canterbury's medical technician (season 1)
- Florence Faivre as Juliette "Julie" Andromeda Mao, the missing daughter of business tycoon Jules-Pierre Mao
- Shawn Doyle as Sadavir Errinwright, UN Undersecretary of Executive Administration
- Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala, UN Assistant Undersecretary of Executive Administration
- Frankie Adams as Roberta "Bobbie" W. Draper, Martian Marine gunnery sergeant (season 2)
- Jay Hernandez as Dmitri Havelock, Miller's partner with Star Helix Security
- Lola Glaudini as Shaddid, captain of Star Helix Security's Ceres detachment
- Athena Karkanis as Octavia Muss, Miller's former partner
- Brian George as Arjun Avasarala, Chrisjen's husband
- Jared Harris as Anderson Dawes, an OPA operative on Ceres
- François Chau as Jules-Pierre Mao, father of Julie Mao
- Greg Bryk as Lopez, a Martian naval lieutenant
- Chad L. Coleman as Frederick "Fred" Johnson, former UN Marine colonel-turned-leader of the OPA who runs Tycho Station
- Jean Yoon as Theresa Yao, captain of the Martian battleship Donnager
- Elias Toufexis as Kenzo Gabriel, a corporate spy on Tycho Station who infiltrates the Rocinante
- Kevin Hanchard as Sematimba, a detective on Eros and an old friend of Miller's
|Thomas Jane||Steven Strait||Dominique Tipper||Cas Anvar||Shohreh Aghdashloo||Chad Coleman||Florence Faivre|
Season 1 (2015–16)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||1||"Dulcinea"||Terry McDonough||Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby||December 14, 2015[note 1]||1.19|
|The series opens with Julie Mao alone aboard a spaceship in a Scopuli suit. On the dwarf planet Ceres, Detective Miller is tasked with finding Mao and returning her to her rich parents on Luna. In New York, UN executive Chrisjen Avasarala interrogates a captured operative of the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA), a militant Belter group, about contraband stealth technology. Underway to Ceres, the ice trawler Canterbury receives a distress signal from the freighter Scopuli, and Executive Officer Jim Holden is ordered to lead a rescue mission with the ship's engineer Naomi Nagata, the mechanic Amos Burton, the pilot Alex Kamal, and the medic Shed Garvey. They find the ship empty but for a distress transmitter, but as their shuttle heads back to the Canterbury, a stealthed ship destroys the ice carrier with nuclear torpedoes.|
|2||2||"The Big Empty"||Terry McDonough||Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby||December 15, 2015||0.854|
|On Ceres, Miller investigates the theft of water, now severely rationed due to the Canterbury's failure to arrive. In Julie Mao's apartment, he finds clues placing her aboard the Scopuli. On Earth, Avasarala sends the suspected OPA captive to Luna after her superior, Undersecretary Sadavir Errinwright, disapproves of "gravity torture", but the captive commits suicide. In the asteroid belt, the Canterbury's shuttle is damaged by debris from the ice hauler's destruction. Using the last of their air, the survivors build an improvised antenna to place a distress call, which is responded to by the Martian navy's flagship, the MCRN Donnager. After Nagata identifies the distress transponder aboard the Scopuli as using Martian military technology, Holden broadcasts a message to that effect to the Solar System, as insurance against being killed as inconvenient witnesses.|
|3||3||"Remember the Cant"||Jeff Woolnough||Robin Veith||December 22, 2015[note 2]||0.676|
|Holden's broadcast triggers protests on Ceres, with the OPA blaming Mars for the destruction of the Canterbury. In the course of violent riots, Miller's partner Havelock is attacked, almost fatally, and a man with the handle "Nightbandit31", with whom Mao was in contact, is killed. On Earth, Avasarala tests her theory that Mars was behind the attack by leaking to Mars information about the transfer of Martian stealth technology to the OPA. She deduces from the panicked Martian reaction that Mars was not responsible – but that somebody else wants to start a war. Aboard the Martian warship Donnager, the Canterbury's survivors are detained and questioned, with Nagata in particular being suspected of being part of an OPA sleeper cell. Complicating matters further, an unidentified ship flies towards the Donnager, ignoring all requests to divert or identify themselves.|
|4||4||"CQB"||Jeff Woolnough||Naren Shankar||December 29, 2015[note 2]||0.633|
|On Ceres, Miller identifies the dead "Nightbandit31" as Bizi Betiko, a data broker with an implanted, encrypted memory storage device, only to discover the real Betiko is still alive. In the asteroid belt, the Donnager's pursuers reveal themselves as six ships of the type that had attacked the Canterbury, and begin firing torpedoes. Unexpectedly at a technological disadvantage, the Martian ship takes heavy damage, and Shed Garvey is killed by a railgun shot. As the Donnager is being boarded, the surviving Canterbury crew are evacuated on the Martian captain's orders, narrowly escaping aboard a corvette from Donnager's bay immediately before the Donnager self-destructs to avoid capture. Far from the battle, at Tycho Station, where a massive generation ship, the Nauvoo, is being built on behalf of the Mormon Church, station manager, and leader of the OPA, Fred Johnson turns the Nauvoo's sensors towards the battle.|
|5||5||"Back to the Butcher"||Rob Lieberman||Dan Nowak||January 5, 2016||0.631|
|For lack of options, the Canterbury's survivors accept a proposal by OPA leader Fred Johnson to join him at Tycho Station, and with his help they modify the ship's transponder, renaming their salvaged ship the Rocinante, to hide the fact it's a Martian warship. A flashback shows how Johnson became "The Butcher of Anderson Station" eleven years ago: as a UN Marine colonel, he led an assault on a station occupied by protesting miners, killing all despite their attempts at surrender. On Ceres, Miller finds evidence linking Julie Mao to the OPA, who try to recruit him through their local agent Anderson Dawes. While leaving Julie's apartment with the data chip, Miller is abducted by unknown people.|
|6||6||"Rock Bottom"||Rob Lieberman||Jason Ning||January 12, 2016||0.713|
|On Ceres, Miller is interrogated and tortured by Dawes, demanding to know what he has learned about Julie. Miller escapes, with fellow officer Octavia Muss, and discovers revealing information on a hidden data cube, a major secret. Upon revealing his discovery to his boss, she fires Miller and takes all information regarding the case. Avasarala wants a spy on Tycho Station, and makes things personal to get her way. Holden and crew arrive at Tycho Station, with Fred Johnson planning to leverage Holden's testimony for legitimacy with the UN. Holden makes an uneasy alliance, sharing everything he knows about the destruction of the Canterbury and the MCRN Donnager. Johnson seems fairly convinced neither Earth nor Mars was behind the attacks. After disguising the Rocinante as a simple gas hauler, they set out for Eros to pick up a potential survivor of the Scopuli.|
|7||7||"Windmills"||Bill Johnson||Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck||January 19, 2016||0.502|
|During a visit to Holden's co-op parents' house in Montana, Avasarala learns of Holden's troubled childhood and gains some insight into his recent decisions. On their way to Eros, the crew of the Rocinante realize too late that Kenzo, a spy from Tycho station is onboard and has inadvertently got the attention of a Martian patrol. Kenzo helps obtain the MCRN codebook from the ship's safe, and with a few code words the patrol backs off, believing the Rocinante to be a Martian black ops ship. Miller departs Ceres for Eros, with a new piece to the mysterious puzzle surrounding Julie Mao.|
|8||8||"Salvage"||Bill Johnson||Robin Veith||January 26, 2016||0.721|
|The Rocinante arrives at their true destination, an asteroid at coordinates given by Fred Johnson and discovers the Anubis, the stealth ship that destroyed the Canterbury. It's empty aside from a mysterious organic substance that is covering the ship's reactor. They scuttle the stealth ship, then head to Eros to find a survivor of the Scopuli codenamed Lionel Polanski, who escaped the Anubis on its shuttle. Miller is also tracking down Polanski, identifying her as Julie Mao. Arriving at Eros, Holden and his team are ambushed at the hotel where Polanski is staying by a UN black ops team (signaled by Kenzo, and authorized by Errinwright), but are saved by Miller. After joining up, Holden's team and Miller go to meet Julie Mao only to find her dead, infected by the same substance from the Anubis.|
|9||9||"Critical Mass"||Terry McDonough||Robin Veith & Dan Nowak and Naren Shankar||February 2, 2016||0.555|
|The events leading up to Julie Mao's infection by the unknown biohazard on the Anubis and gruesome death in her hotel room on Eros are revealed in a flashback. Fred Johnson broadcasts evidence that the stealth ships were built on Earth. After Miller and the Rocinante crew flee the hotel, Julie's body is found and studied by Dresden, a scientist working for Julie's father Jules-Pierre Mao, who harvests her infected blood. Under the guise of a ship explosion and radiation leak, mercenaries loyal to Julie's father and Dresden place Eros into lockdown and seal the poverty-stricken citizens into radiation shelters after infecting them with Julie's blood. Most of the Rocinante crew head back to the ship, while Miller and Holden go to investigate the shelters. Discovering their true purpose as incubators for the infection, with everyone inside dead or dying, they also receive a lethal dose of radiation.|
|10||10||"Leviathan Wakes"||Terry McDonough||Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby||February 2, 2016||0.555|
|The Rocinante crew, Miller and Holden (suffering from radiation sickness), make their separate ways through the increasingly horrific situation on Eros towards the ship. They theorise that the conspirators behind the stealth ships are using the population as food for the "protomolecule" infection. Miller begins to see hallucinations of Julie Mao. Amos kills Miller's friend, Inspector Sematimba, after he holds Nagata at gunpoint when she refuses to launch the Rocinante without Holden. Miller and Holden make it to the ship, which escapes, and are treated for radiation sickness. On Earth, Avasarala's investigation is stopped by Errinwright, who is part of the Mao conspiracy. On Eros, the UN spy Kenzo is left to be consumed by the rapidly advancing Protomolecule infesting the colony.|
Season 2 (2017)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|11||1||"Safe"||Breck Eisner||Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby||February 1, 2017||0.700|
|The season opens with Bobbie Draper and other Martian marines undergoing combat training on Mars. They are deployed to Phoebe Research Station, which had been reported as being attacked. The United Nations debates blockading Martian fleet deployments; Avasarala backs the measure but privately believes that she is being prepared by Errinwright as a scapegoat, and hires private security. A Martian naval vessel fires on a UN vessel; the UN elects not to fire back, figuring that the Martian missiles were saber-rattling. The missiles pass the UN vessel and destroy Phoebe Station. Draper believes that war with Earth is good; her commanding officer, Sutton, believes war must be avoided. Holden and Miller recover from radiation sickness; Miller and Amos have a violent disagreement that is broken up by Naomi. Naomi and Holden perform repairs to the Rocinante and decide to deepen their relationship. Alex cooks lasagna for the crew of the Rocinante, and over dinner tensions are eased.|
|12||2||"Doors & Corners"||Breck Eisner||Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck||February 1, 2017||0.700|
|Arrival at Tycho Station is tense, but the Rocinante crew defuses the situation by explaining what is going on at Eros and where the data is going. Fred Johnson pulls together a strike team from rival Outer Planets Alliance factions, killing one of their leaders in the process. Rocinante is assigned as the mission's muscle, engaging the station's defenses and clearing a path for the boarding party. The station is not prepared to defend itself, and falls easily to the team. Capturing the lead scientist on the project, the man is uninterested in who he answers to as long as he can continue his work. While explaining the source, dangers, and possibilities of the protomolecule, he is shot in the head by Miller.|
|13||3||"Static"||Jeff Woolnough||Robin Veith||February 8, 2017||0.587|
|Earth destroys Mars's moon Deimos in response to the MCRN's nuking of Phoebe. This creates tensions in Bobbie Draper's squad. Holden and his crew return to Tycho Station, angry at Miller for killing the lead scientist on the protomolecule project. Fred Johnson offers Miller safe passage off Tycho, but Miller's investigations show that action must be taken against Eros. Johnson and Holden reach the same conclusion when Amos figures out how to get one of their prisoners to talk. Miller realizes that Eros must be destroyed, and that Fred Johnson has the equipment necessary to do so.|
|14||4||"Godspeed"||Jeff Woolnough||Dan Nowak||February 15, 2017||0.534|
|Avasarala gathers information linking the protomolecule to Julie Mao's father. Miller's plan is put into action. After assembling a demolition team and procuring the Rocinante's services for cover, the Nauvoo is evacuated of its people, commandeered, and set on a collision course to knock Eros into the Sun. After flying to Eros, Rocinante drops its cargo of bombs and the demolition team spacewalks to them for precise placement. A complication arises when a group of doctors is found who will not follow Holden's orders, so he destroys their ship. The debris damages one of Miller's bombs, and he chooses to stay with it on Eros, watching the Nauvoo approach and no collision take place. Holden and crew confirm that the Nauvoo did not miss – Eros maneuvered to avoid the impact.|
|15||5||"Home"||David Grossman||Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby||February 22, 2017||0.600|
|Eros is on course for Earth. Miller and the crew decide that Miller will bring the bomb into the heart of Eros to destroy it and then escape back to the Rocinante. On Earth, the United Nations decides to fire its planetary defence nuclear missiles at the incoming Eros, but the asteroid evades them by ceasing to reflect radar. The Rocinante crew use their proximity to the asteroid to provide a target lock to Fred Johnson, who will guide the missiles to Eros. Eros reacts to this by accelerating still faster; to maintain visual contact, the Rocinante accelerates at the limits of human endurance and finally gives up the chase. Miller arrives with the bomb at the heart of Eros and discovers a transformed Julie Mao. While the protomolecule has infected her and Eros, she has in some way infected it back, and is control of Eros' flight. With a combination of words and affection, and after removing his protective spacesuit, Miller convinces her to redirect Eros away from Earth toward Venus, where it crashes in a planetary-scale event.|
|16||6||"Paradigm Shift"||TBA||TBA||March 1, 2017||TBD|
|17||7||"The Seventh Man"||TBA||TBA||March 8, 2017||TBD|
|18||8||"Pyre"||TBA||TBA||March 15, 2017||TBD|
|19||9||"The Weeping Somnambulist"||TBA||TBA||March 22, 2017||TBD|
|20||10||"Cascade"||TBA||TBA||March 29, 2017||TBD|
The Expanse is based on the novel series of the same name by James S. A. Corey, a pen name of the authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who also serve as writers and producers for the show. The first novel, Leviathan Wakes (2011), was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. On April 11, 2014, Syfy announced a straight-to-series commitment to a television adaptation of the book series, and ordered the production of 10 one-hour-long episodes for the first season. On that date Syfy President Dave Howe commented: "The Expanse is epic in scale and scope and promises to be Syfy's most ambitious series to date".
Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby wrote the pilot, directed by Terry McDonough, and serve as writers and showrunners alongside Naren Shankar. Produced by Alcon Television and The Sean Daniel Company, principal photography started on October 29, 2014, in Toronto. The pilot episode was screened at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2015.
The second season of The Expanse premiered on February 1, 2017.
The show has overall been critically well received, with the first season receiving a rating of 65 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 77% with an average rating of 7.12 out of 10 based on 39 reviews which summarized critics' consensus as follows: "The Expanse blends sci-fi elements and detective noir into a visually compelling whole, though it takes a few episodes for the story to capture viewers' intrigue."
Reporting on the pilot screening, io9's Lauren Davis declared herself "blown away" by The Expanse, appreciating its "incredible sense of scale" and its "deeply thought out future world that reflects on our present one, with high production values and characters who speak and act like real people". Max Nicholson of IGN characterized the pilot as "grim and dramatic", and a "very dense hour of television", with the terminology and large cast sometimes difficult to follow for viewers unfamiliar with the novels, but highlighted the pilot's "gorgeous" visuals and effects reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica, Dune and Firefly.
Writing for Variety, Maureen Ryan was unimpressed by the first four episodes "awkwardly linking a series of somewhat muddled stories" and the series' stereotypical characters, but credited it with tackling "issues of class, representation and exploitation", and a convincing design. At Tor.com, Justin Landon highlighted The Expanse's "bold and unique cinematography" and its claustrophobic, discomforting set designs, as well as the "extremely faithful" characterization, but remarked that the patois spoken by the Belters, the natives of the asteroid belt, made the series difficult to follow.
Based on the first two episodes, the second season has received favorable reviews. On Metacritic, the season has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 5 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 93% with an average rating of 8.79 out of 10 based on 14 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Expanse's second season offers more of the show's excellent signature production values while increasing character development and politically thrilling narratives."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||February 7, 2017||Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode||Robert Munroe, Clint Green, Kyle Menzies, Tom Turnbull for "Salvage"||Nominated|||
In the United States, it is broadcast by Syfy and streams on Amazon Prime. In Canada, the series airs on Space. In New Zealand, the series airs on Sky. In all other countries, the series is available on Netflix.
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