Season 1 Episode 1 – SPOILERS
In the 23rd century, humans have colonized the xolar system, at least as far out as Saturn. It has done them no good. Socially and politically, everything is about the same as it is now, except that Earth is controlled by the UN, which runs black ops sites where enemies of Earth are tortured. Also, Mars and Earth are threatening war over who controls Ceres. (Mars, in an apparent attempt to live up to its name, is an independent military power.)
The ice trawler Canterbury (there are easier ways to collect ice from the asteroid belt than the methods this ship is using) is headed for Ceres Station when it receives a distress call from another vessel. Duty bound to respond, the Captain orders the crew to ignore the anonymous plea for help so that they can get to Ceres more quickly. Almost everyone agrees with him. A lone crewman takes it upon himself to (anonymously) notify HQ of the distress call, so that the ship is ordered to assist.
They locate the Scopuli, a Martian light transport vessel from Eros. The name of the ship does not bode well for the rescuers. The Sirenus Scopuli were the trio of islands from which the sirens lured sailors to their deaths. (Another literary reference is the episode’s title, Dulcinea, which was the name of Don Quixote’s ‘true love’. Perhaps Ade, Holden’s significant other, is not what she seems?)
In the Expanse universe, ships can go fast enough to get to the planets, but not to the stars. At first glance, aside from the modified fusion drive that gets humans off planet, the technology seems much like what exists today. Cities are minimally futurized by adding really tall buildings (which could be built today if anyone wanted to).
According to producer Naren Shankar, however: “The technology’s there, it’s just that we’re not a technoporn show, it’s not about devices. It’s a world in which artificial intelligence exists, in which people have been probably genetically engineered to some extent for disease resistance and radiance resistance and muscle growth, it’s just we don’t talk about these things. Think of it this way, you don’t get in a car and go ‘My, this internal combustion engine is extremely efficient. I’m extremely happy with how it gets me to 60 miles an hour.’ No one talks like that. We just get in and fucking drive. That’s the world we’re trying to make.”
The series seems to be written for people who have not read a lot of science fiction, because it goes to lengths to explain that (for instance) people who spend their lives in very low gravity tend to be tall and thin, and would find prolonged exposure to the gravity of earth agonizing. Most of the special effects center around variations in gravity. We see zero gravity sex, and a bird flying in the relatively low grav conditions of Ceres Station. People walk upside down in magnetic boots as they board a derelict ship. (We get a couple of close-ups of the boots as their magnets are engaged. They have LED’s in the heel.) Ceres Station’s gravity is apparently lower than Earth-normal (it affects the flight of a bird) but not drastically so. Ceres itself has negligible mass (9 x 1020 kg), so is the gravity augmented artificially? The external views do not show the station rotating.
The two main characters are Jim Holden (Stephen Strait) and Detective Miller, a Ceres cop played by Thomas Jane. No interaction, past or present, between the two was shown in ephsode one. Detective Miller reminds mE a lot of CAPRICA’s Joseph Adama, and not just because of the hat. Thomas Jane was an auto shop worker in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film (1992).
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala) is Habibeh in SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ, the story of a secular Jewish family caught in the Iranian Islamic revolution and their efforts to excape it. The film is based on the 2007 book of the same title by Dalia Sofer, and had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 15 September.
Dominique Tipper (Naomi) is Maddie in the science fiction thriller DxM which premiered at Grimfest in the UK on 4 October. In the film, a group of young students attempt to create a wireless neural network with the aim of restoring mobility to a world class runner who broke his neck in an accident. They inadvertently create the first shareware for human motor skills. DxM (Deus Ex Machina) was filmed in Bucharest and Vienna.
Four LOST GIRL alumni are in THE EXPANSE. Athena Karkanis (Nadia) is Octavia Muss in the first seven episodes, and Elias Toufexis (Son of Will’o’the Wisp) appears as Kenzoin the last five. Jean Yoon (LOST GIRL’S Officer Tong) will be Captain Theresa Yao in episodes three and four. Adrian Nguyen (Fang in LG episode 3.8) is Riker in Episode One.