The Expanse

Rating 6.8
Streamer Amazon Prime
Seasons 5
Episodes 57 x 50 mins

When this Amazon space soap opera first aired in 2015, critics and viewers everywhere were comparing it to the higher stratosphere success of Battlestar Galactica. But five seasons later, is this series still reaching for the stars?

If you’ve not yet had chance to take in the first few seasons, let us give you rundown: we’re in the twenty-third century, and things aren’t going well for us, so for the most part, we’ve buggered off to other planets. Notably Mars and the asteroid belt. But now there’s a bit of aggro between Mars and Earth, which feels a bit like Russia and The US during the Cold War – what’s a good sci-fi without some political allegory? Anyway, whilst Mars and Earth engage in a battle of mine’s-bigger-than-yours, those who live on the belt are busy mining the ice that keeps everyone afloat, whilst also becoming fairly radical. So, there’s tension, lots of.

Season one launches when rich girl Julie Mao goes missing, and detective Joe Miller and his merry band of spacemen set off to the outer reaches of the solar system, on a mission to find her.

Whilst it doesn’t have the grand duty of Star Trek, it has the character depth of Mad Men, and admittedly, the soapiness of Battlestar. And you need to pay attention, as showrunners Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby – a sci-fi name if you ever saw one – keep you on your toes, with plotlines so intricate it makes shows like Peaky Blinders feel like lazy viewing.

This has particularly intensified in the most recent season, where the gang are separated across space, meaning we hop planets as quickly as we used to channel flick before the invention of Must TV.

Equally changeable are the reviews for this show. Mike Hale in The New York Times initially dismissed the series, which he called “a little too smooth and unexceptional.” However, he has since admitted that whilst he still doesn’t think it quite lives up to Battlestar, the more “intimate scale” is “both a large part of its charm and a reason that it isn’t, at the end of the day, as viscerally exciting as its predecessor.” But does it need to be? The Telegraph’s Ed Power thinks not, saying “its portrayal of a multi-faceted and morally ambiguous future brimming with dozens of heroes and villains remains a stunning achievement,” and “for those prepared to commit the necessary time and attention, it’s an absolute blast.”

First shown November 2015. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here:

Added to your Watchlist Removed from your Watchlist Something went wrong... Copied Something went wrong...