Review: The Expanse S01E05 — Back to the Butcher

If the latest episode of The Expanse doesn't have the level of tension that the previous one did, that does at least give the show a chance to do yet more world building and let its characters breathe a little. One of the biggest problems with this show for people who aren't familiar with the books is the amount of characters and locations and story that are being crammed into a mere 10 episode season. At the very least that can make it hard to keep everything straight. Up to now each episode has been packed with events and characters and stuff.  This week though if you just wrote down what …Read more  »

Review: The Shannara Chronicles S01E01 through S01E04

What do you get when you cross epic-fantasy heavily inspired by Tolkien with a post apocalyptic future and MTV? Apparently the answer is The Shannara Chronicles a series that is, based on the first four episodes, resolutely... okay. I mean it's just exactly what you would expect... I guess? It's not like it's bad... you know? By this point my ambivalence should be shining through and there are a few reasons for that. One is of course the fact that someone in their forties isn't in the prime demographic for MTV dramas. Another is that while I acknowledge their flaws I do have a soft spot for the first three Shannara books …Read more  »

TV Review — The Expanse S01E04 — CQB

2015 has seen the rise and rise of serialized storytelling on tv. It's a trend that has been growing slowly for years but particularly with the likes of Netflix and Amazon it is coming into its own. While The Expanse is on a traditional cable tv channel it's very much serialized rather than episodic in nature. Hardly surprising perhaps given it seems to be a very faithful adaptation of the source material (a series of scifi books). There's a lot to like about serialized storytelling not least of which is the ability to go unexpected places. In episodic tv you set up your "home locations" early on and keep returning to …Read more  »

TV Review: The Expanse S01E01 — Dulcinea

Those of you lamenting the lack of space based science fiction on tv should be very pleased about SyFy's latest series The Expanse which is adapted from a series of books by James S. A. Corey (actually a pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) because we're firmly in Space Opera territory here. While the story is set within our solar system we're looking at a (partially) terraformed Mars and assorted space stations. The reason you don't see shows like this on TV very much is that even with modern CGI, doing them convincingly is expensive. People have become so used to movie style special effects that they are not at …Read more  »