It’s no secret that Syfy has taken a lot of flak the last few years with science-fiction fans for seemingly abandoning the very genre it was meant to celebrate. For fans yet to be convinced that the network is serious about re-staking its claim as a pioneer in science-fiction programming, I feel confident in saying The Expanse is the show that will put geek hearts and minds at ease.
If fan reaction at New York Comic Con is any indication, Syfy (Blastr’s parent company) has a winner on their hands with this adaptation of James S.A. Corey's series of novels. The epic space opera landed at NYCC, treating fans to an advanced screening of the premiere episode a full two months before its television debut. My own excitement has been building ever since I had a chance to visit the massive set last winter, and has steadily increased as the marketing has ramped up and more footage has been released.
The passion for the series is evident, not just in Syfy’s financial commitment to the show ( they won an aggressive bidding war to bring the series to TV), but also in the way the cast and crew talk about the source material, working closely with James S.A. Corey to adapt the books, and the commitment to even the smallest details that set this political noir space drama apart from anything else.
During the panel, series creators and executive producers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby talked about how having the authors in the writers' room has been incredibly beneficial to writing the script, despite the move being a typically unpopular decision with screenwriters when trying to adapt books to film or TV. They talked about their approach to building a comprehensive world on screen, not just one that’s visually beautiful, but also one that really tells the story about the people living in this universe, be they humans, Martians, or Belters - the natives of Ceres. Not only did playing a Belter require actor Thomas Jane (Detective Miller) to lose weight, but he also had to learn a new language made up just for the show. It’s this commitment to detail that’s drawing comparisons to Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, and other notable sci-fi works.
For the cast, who continually sang praises of Corey’s books (though they note they only read enough not to hinder their portrayals of their characters), they’ve been equally in awe of the set design and amount of practical effects being incorporated into the show.
If you couldn’t make it to NYC for the Con this year, or missed out on The Expanse panel, you can watch a replay (sans the premiere episode) on Periscope @thecherness.