Friday, March 03, 2017

The Expanse

     It's a science-fiction TV series based on a book series that I have never read.  It's great fun, though I still fault the science.  Sets are great, props are great, cast is great, characters are strong and the story is good -- but basic fiddlin' details, like which way is "down" on (and docked to) a spinning space station, how long radio waves take to get from, say, Earth to the Outer Planets (hours!), transit times even with a constant-boost drive (which they don't really have) and the goofiness of  "acceleration drugs" make it more of a graphic novel come alive than a book-turned-TV-drama.

     That said, Firefly had as many physics and technology howlers as The Expanse, if not more;* this doesn't make either one unwatchable or less fun, just check your skepticism at the door and bring popcorn!  It's about halfway through the second season and available via Amazon and probably other on-demand services, so there are big blocks of story to enjoy if you haven't already.
* Each one has Big SF Exceptions, things essential to the plot that make no sense at all -- Firefly's possibly-FTL drive system, The Expanse's Big Spoiler I Won't Mention.  You have to allow those for most SF.  And little-to-obscure things can be wrong if well-sold (I loved The Martian but the math doesn't work at several points in the film.  Sorry, he didn't make it).  But don't cheat high-school physics!


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I admit I have not watched The Expanse. In my defense, I don't watch much TV anymore.

I could never really figure out if Firefly was an interplanetary story in a really crowded and terraformed solar system, or if it was an interstellar story and that little ship could actually go supralight. Still, I didn't watch it for the tech, I watched it for the story. And Kaylee. But the ship was cool. Did I mention Kaylee?

Since you mention The Martian, I think it was probably as good of a 144-minute film as could be made from Andy Weir's book. And I've heard people question Weir's math in the book.

My main quibble with the book is that Watney's survival hinges on several improbable coincidences and just plain blind luck. But, that's fiction for you. Didn't stop me from enjoying either the book or the movie.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I'm gonna be depressed all day, now.

Johnny - Oh said...

My wife can't understand why I can watch and enjoy shows like Firefly and The Expanse, but a show called Scorpion gives me a case of the screaming heebie-jeebies. If you start out with something like "A long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away", I'll give you a pass on your math or physics. If your show is about a group of "geniuses" set here and now, well I am a genius as well, and the math and physics aren't just fudged or incomplete, they are impossible and almost consistently dead wrong. Good actors and a fun plot will never ever let me not see the things that are just not how the world works, and give them a pass. Sometimes being an Aspie sucks.

Roberta X said...

NJT: He does fine in the movie. In real life? H'mmm, no, not with data-as-given.

JayNola said...

I've just gotten into the expanse. About 5 episodes in I realized I was going to have to buy the books. I out some of my Barnes and Noble nook settlement money to good use. I'm about a quarter into book two. The thing that bugged me the most about the first couple episodes were the cavernous spaces inside the ships.

Roberta X said...

The ships interiors are pointlessly big, with too may levels in the control space on some of them. Set builders are still building ocean liners, when they're not building submarines.