Why did "The Expanse" fail to get the attention of mainstream TV viewers?

Bren G

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I think you would find yourself enjoying it; if you gave it a bit more of a go. I thought it really hit it's stride about mid-way through the first serason. --- Not to say there weren't some parts that made me cringe, but overall one of the best TV S.F. ever.
I'll give it a go this weekend Parson!
 

Peter V

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I was late to The Expanse, starting in February, I had to force myself to slow down, trying desperately not to watch episodes back to back (and failing several times) so that I could savour it and stretch it our for as long as possible. I thought it was outstanding and better than the BSG reboot (which I enjoyed) and kicks the likes of STD out of the ballpark. I think the diverse characters are so believable and well realised and almost without exception, so well played that I would probably still have watched it if the plots had been weak. They weren't though, in fact quite the opposite.

Moreover, the character arcs are believable. Early on I could not have imagined I would get so invested with the story of Amos but it was compelling. Roberta "Bobby" Draper, on the surface an antagonistic and typical soldier but it wasn't long before I could not decide who I would want to kick my ass most, her or Carmina Drummer, arguably the pair of them are vying for the place of my favourite female character in anything SF I have ever watched (no disrespect to the wonderful Shohreh Aghdshloo as Chrisjen Avasarala). Jared Harris as Anderson Dawes - what a creation and the depth of David Strathairn as Klaes Ashford - was that really the guy from the Bourne films!

In answer to why it did not get more mainstream recognition, I am not sure. Maybe people are just not aware of it - I certainly wasn't until someone recommended it and I realised it was based on Leviathan Wakes, which I read a few years back (I never did get round to the rest of the series and probably won't now). I am trying to put this right by recommending it to as many people as I can. Of those I have recommended it to so far, only three have started watching. They love it too and it is no surprise to me that they have started to recommend it to people too.

Right, I have put myself in the mood to go and watch some Expanse stuff on You Tube :rolleyes:
 

Bren G

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I thought I'd come back and earnestly provide an answer to this question. On @Parson's advice, I went back and watched the first five episodes in the hopes that I would get hooked and continue on. I really wanted to. Series with big ideas about the human condition are right up my alley, plus, there is a dearth of good sci-fi series and movies and nothing would make me happier. Sadly I didn't, and my original opinion of the series remains. I too am struggling to determine why though, when so many others love it. Also, as a recently sub-published author myself, I am much more intimately aware of the process, effort and commitment when creating art, and I am certain the people who put this together put their hearts and souls into it, and so, I am not here to say their creation was anything but a wonderful expression of themselves and their aim to make the world a better place. It's just that it didn't speak to me. Why? I think the answer has to do with my life-stage and my views about what it means to be a consumer of art in general and digital art in particular. These days. I am extremely busy and there is just so much choice in terms of where to spend what little leisure time I have, so when it comes to films or TV, if the acting isn't top-notch, the writing tight, pacing appropriate then I swiftly move to something else. Also, I appreciate subtlety when it comes to the morality or values that the creator wishes to convey.

I think the Expanse fails for me on many of these levels. The pacing was good, though the acting felt wooden and the writing about average. A key moment when this is apparent is when Jean Yoon's character Captain Theresa Yao fights the Martian ship. I was rooting for her all the way, a fellow Canuck, fresh off a season of Kim's Convenience, get's her own starship. What's not to like! But in the throes of the battle, when all things are lost, the camera pans to her in dramatic fashion and her signature line is "This has to mean something." Really? After all Earth and Mars have been through, that's all the writers can give her? Though a small example, it was like the record stopped, and seemed to take me right out of the story.

Probably the biggest thing was that the series' moral compass was evident from the beginning and felt too preachy for me to wish to go along for the ride and see it through. I prefer to see it unfold slowly. All art is propaganda, but I prefer mine to be given to me in bite-sized chunks. It was clear that this would be a commentary on class-warfare, tribalism, uncaring governments, and the use of propaganda from the first episode on was apparent. Convince me with your ideas, don't clobber me with them. Contrast this with the first episode of Battlestar Galactic (though it's been some time since I've watched it to be fair), to see the difference.

I can only surmise that people who like Expanse have different tolerances for these things and so, it's simply the case of different strokes for different folks. It shows me how hard it is to create anything that has near-universal appeal (Star Wars, Star Trek for example do) and while The Expanse has clearly spoken to many, it hasn't reached that level in our popular culture.
 

Rodders

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I've been binge watching this over the last few weeks and I've just finished the fourth series and due to imminently start the fifth. I've enjoyed it a lot and it is very well made, but I don't think it's a great piece of SF. (I felt exactly the same way about the novels.)

I'm finding the story somewhat contrived and a little far fetched. I also find that the characters pretty one dimensional. Even characters that I really like are pretty poorly written and predictable. I think this is especially noticeable with James Holden, who is the archetypal good guy. I did think that Commander Ashford was especially good, though.

The special effects are excellent, and It's often praised for it's reality. I enjoy the use of zero gravity and reaction thrusters on the ships is a nice inclusion but I'm of the opinion that these details are where the reality of the Expanse ends. The Epstein drive is the same McGuffin as the warp drive and just because it's a slower device than light speed doesn't make it more any more realistic in my opinion.

I really enjoyed the Belters and thought that the hybrid style of language and their society was a particularly nice and detailed idea.

As an aside, i wonder if history would remember Mao as monster for taking lives for the protomolecule, or a visionary for being the catalyst for the ring gate and the expansion of Humanity to the stars?
 
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Parson

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As an aside, i wonder if history would remember Mao as monster for taking lives for the protomolecule, or a visionary for being the catalyst for the ring gate and the expansion of Humanity to the stars?

Don't know but for me it sounds like a question I'd answer "yes, both."
 

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