The Expanse - Seasons 1-5 review: Babylon 3.5

Dwarvenhobble

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So The Expanse.
A show I basically only started watching because of The Escapist staff and Darren putting out two videos this year on it with it looking interesting enough to try. I've hammered through all 5 seasons on it quite quickly but for all the media comparisons to Game of Thrones, It's argue that's a bad comparison. Yes there are ideas and techniques shared between the two with set ups leading to much later pay offs in both shows and a few shared elements between them, The Expanse for all its seeming ambition comes off, at least in terms of trying to be a show about political machinations, as the dime store novel political thriller compared to the near genre classic of Game of Thrones. That's not to say The Expanse is bad it's a very enjoyable show but it's more in the easy watching area for me alongside shows like Stargate that do dip there hand into more heavy subject matter but don't ask for too much thinking. The thing being with The Expanse it seems to want to be more and quite a lot of stuff seems to feel like pale attempt at capturing something like the impact and idea of Babylon 5 but never really reaching that kind of level ideas and thought. With some characters coming off as almost cartoonishly villainous rather than a more tragic flawed character like Londo Mallori in Babylon 5


Most of the Expanse revolves around a core idea of the protomolecule. A substance from outside of our solar system and the best breakdown I can give without too many spoilers is this.

Season 1 - What is the protomolecule?
Season 2 - what can the protomolecule do?
Season 3 - What can it be used for and what does it want?
Season 4 - What happened to those who made the protomolecule?
Season 5 - What protomolecule? No really forget about it for a while ok?


While there is a 6th and final Season planned it's not yet aired and so far it's a fairly uneven journey with season 4 feeling like more of a side story which will have ramifications later and season 5 feeling like downright filler with it being used mostly for characters to have their own little stories and adventure and mostly moving pieces round the board to set them up for bigger things in Season 6. As is if you're going to watch it you're best stopping at the end of Season 3 and waiting for the show to finish it's run so you can have a clear run through the last 3 seasons where 2 of them seem mostly to exist to set up the final one.

I mentioned Stargate before and that's really what the show feels most like with each Season existing to expand an overall set of lore and plot but unlike Stargate where a lot of episodes were self contained The Expanse opts for a each episode to be part of an ongoing story that often spans the season then somewhat wraps up with only some threads let to carry over into future seasons and just serving to contribute to the larger arc of the protomolecule and what it's about.

Part of the problem I have with the series is just how Cartoonishly villainous some of the characters are such that they feel like they exist more as stock archetypes rather than fully rounded character no matter how much the show may go out of it's way to show us the villains have families etc. With stock archetypes warmongering politicians or somewhat egotistical terrorists without much morality but a belief their actions are some great moral fight it gives the impression the villains really only exist like Saturday Morning cartoon villains just to be oppose the heroes who for the most part are all noble and normally morally right with few slip ups. I mean one of the villains is so cartoonish they're experimenting on children only for his boss to go "Maybe we're going a bit far look what we're doing" then immediately snap back to "We're making progress we should experiment on children more" essentially.

As the The Expanse goes on I really grew to dislike the main lead Alex Holden because he just felt so self righteous and has the Superman problem of being very much the good boy scout. The problem is Superman can get away with that because he can back it up but Holden so often seems to take the moral high road but be reliant on others to do a good portion of his dirty work while he comes out clean and gets most of the credit for the work. He never has to face the dirty side of doing what's right a there's always another person there to do what's needed and get the dirt on their hands. It's why as the series went on I found myself more and more enjoy Amos as character because he's not some beacon of noble ideals but a highly flawed character wants to do good but his moral compass is seriously broken due to his traumatic life before the show starts meaning he's often very much a realist too willing to do what is needed to survive. It's Amos who generally tends to suffer for trying to do the right thing regularly in the series often seemingly taking the proverbial bullet for Holden's plans and actions. Holden just feel too goody two shoes and even in moments when he seems to be going down a bad path he seems to snap back quickly with no real consequences for it.

The show's bigger stand out stuff and more impressive elements for me are the space battles that feel like major cues were taken from the recent-ish Reboot of Battle Star Galactica with bullets filling the skies and missiles flying about as ships roll and weave about. The effects and textures on things are impressively detailed with ships very much looking quite distinct in design and appearance on screen. Also the impressive effects work to show Zero gravity on the ships with liquids floating round in clumps or spots of blood drifting past when a person is injured.

The Expanse is fine enough but it doesn't manage to be as fun as the recent Sci-Fi show Killjoys and while the Expanse thinks it's tacking big ideas and themes somehow Killjoys still manages to pose bigger more profound questions. While The Expanse is interest in what human do, Killjoys asks what humans are and what makes us who we are. The Expanse presents the idea of clear bad guys and then deals with them, Killjoys ask if we even know if we're actually fighting the right thing or if we're too busy focussing on the obvious enemy to miss more going on.

My recommendation, Watch The Expanse if you want a passable Sci-Fi show that is good enough to somewhat turn off your brain to and let it wash over you. If you've not watched it already you'd be far better trying Killjoys if you want more fun or Babylon 5 if you want more complex politics being played out on a galactic scale.
 
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Terminal Blue

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I have some extremely mixed feelings about the Expanse, but I honestly felt the most recent season was kind of okay.

Just to respond to a few things I disagree with.
  • I don't think the protomolecule is the core of the story. It's the inciting incident of the story. You have this setting in which there are a bunch of conflicts, and the protomolecule is what brings those conflicts to the surface initially. The protomolecule itself is just a piece of magical alien technology that noone understands.
  • I think the logical comparison for the Expanse is Game of Thrones. It's an adaptation of a piece of genre that's clearly aiming for mainstream appeal by being dark and gritty and edgy as fuck. Part of that is that most characters and institutions in the show are just shitty, horrible people, not just the villains. Sometimes it's handled really well (Chrisjen and Bobbie's friendship helping them to overcome their prejudices) and sometimes its handled really badly (Amos' trite pseudo-nihilism and generally insulting portrayal of traumatized people).
  • Holden being this slightly naïve, overly moral person makes sense with his character. He grew up on what was basically a hippy commune. What I think is less forgivable is that his character, as written, is really, really dumb. He just constantly makes terrible decisions, and yet everyone around him keeps listening to him, and I don't really know why.
There are a lot of things I like about the Expanse.
  • It is consistent, in a way very few science fiction properties today are consistent. The rules for how everything works are, for the most part, very well maintained, and I think that's very important in a show that also has magic physics-defying alien technology.
  • Speaking of aliens, I like the very minimalistic way the show handles them (or has handled them so far). Their technology and relics and motivations are just genuinely strange, and feel like the product of a consciousness with a completely different view of reality to our own, and I like that. That's how aliens should be I think.
  • I love the art direction. There's a lot of cool environmental details all over the place, and it helps me buy this world. I like that you can tell just by looking at a spaceship what its purpose is and where it's from. It's just cool, it's nerdy in a fun way.
  • I like that it's actually surprising. Game of Thrones sold itself as this show where anything can happen and anyone can die. The Expanse actually feels like this show. The fact we're still killing major characters 5 seasons in is great.
  • For a show with no female writers, there are some really good female characters played by very talented actors. I love Avasarala, she's a perfect queen and her plots have generally been what brought me back to the show despite my frequent frustration with it. Naomi also gets some pretty stand out moments, although I feel like her character has become weaker as the show's gone on, and I'm not sure why other than to vindicate Holden's status as the main character.
  • I like shit going wrong in space. It's kind of the quintessential hard science fiction plot, and I think we've forgotten how tense it can be. I want an hour of characters trying to fix a radio before they run out of air or explode. It makes those characters feel smart, and that makes them likeable.
And there are a lot of things I hate about the Expanse.
  • The dialogue suuuuuuuucks. It's like a textbook for how not to write natural-sounding human dialogue. Some of the actors can plough through and just sell it with their performances, but a lot of the time there's no saving it.
  • It is incredibly obvious at some moments that the show has no female writers. Miller and Julie's death scene really sticks out, but the show overall has this obnoxious nerd-bro sensibility some times that doesn't even seem to fit very well with the story they're trying to tell.
  • I hate Amos. He is the edgiest sad-boy in the entire world, and he just annoys me a lot. This is not a dig at Wes Chatham, the actor, he is clearly doing the best he can with the material he is given. But his character is just the worst.
  • Holy shit the weird-ass coding sometimes. I'm not going to complain about seeing Keon Alexander wearing eyeliner, but why is he wearing eyeliner? Is it a reference to Kohl, because that's a bit yeeesh.
  • There's some kind of weird right-wing themes in the show in general that I don't fuck with.
But overall, these are things I can overlook. I liked season 5, I felt it was okay. Avasarala's plot was touching, and I liked seeing her fully morph into a good person. Dodgy coding aside, I actually liked Marco Inaros as a villain. I like that, for a character who is a literal terrorist, so much of his characterization as a villain is just the fact that he's such a titanic trainwreck of a person. Amos was still pretty annoying but I think pairing him with Clarissa/Peaches was a good move. There were a lot of twists, but (with a couple of exceptions) they were all pretty well foreshadowed and didn't feel cheap. I liked watching Naomi have a shitty time in a bomb-filled spaceship for a couple of hours, it scratched my "things going wrong in space" itch.

Yeah, it's not a great show. But it's fine, and I can't think of anything else that's really trying to do what it does right now.
 
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Dwarvenhobble

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I have some extremely mixed feelings about the Expanse, but I honestly felt the most recent season was kind of okay.

Just to respond to a few things I disagree with.
  • I don't think the protomolecule is the core of the story. It's the inciting incident of the story. You have this setting in which there are a bunch of conflicts, and the protomolecule is what brings those conflicts to the surface initially. The protomolecule itself is just a piece of magical alien technology that noone understands.
  • I think the logical comparison for the Expanse is Game of Thrones. It's an adaptation of a piece of genre that's clearly aiming for mainstream appeal by being dark and gritty and edgy as fuck. Part of that is that most characters and institutions in the show are just shitty, horrible people, not just the villains. Sometimes it's handled really well (Chrisjen and Bobbie's friendship helping them to overcome their prejudices) and sometimes its handled really badly (Amos' trite pseudo-nihilism and generally insulting portrayal of traumatized people).
  • Holden being this slightly naïve, overly moral person makes sense with his character. He grew up on what was basically a hippy commune. What I think is less forgivable is that his character, as written, is really, really dumb. He just constantly makes terrible decisions, and yet everyone around him keeps listening to him, and I don't really know why.
There are a lot of things I like about the Expanse.
  • It is consistent, in a way very few science fiction properties today are consistent. The rules for how everything works are, for the most part, very well maintained, and I think that's very important in a show that also has magic physics-defying alien technology.
  • Speaking of aliens, I like the very minimalistic way the show handles them (or has handled them so far). Their technology and relics and motivations are just genuinely strange, and feel like the product of a consciousness with a completely different view of reality to our own, and I like that. That's how aliens should be I think.
  • I love the art direction. There's a lot of cool environmental details all over the place, and it helps me buy this world. I like that you can tell just by looking at a spaceship what its purpose is and where it's from. It's just cool, it's nerdy in a fun way.
  • I like that it's actually surprising. Game of Thrones sold itself as this show where anything can happen and anyone can die. The Expanse actually feels like this show. The fact we're still killing major characters 5 seasons in is great.
  • For a show with no female writers, there are some really good female characters played by very talented actors. I love Avasarala, she's a perfect queen and her plots have generally been what brought me back to the show despite my frequent frustration with it. Naomi also gets some pretty stand out moments, although I feel like her character has become weaker as the show's gone on, and I'm not sure why other than to vindicate Holden's status as the main character.
  • I like shit going wrong in space. It's kind of the quintessential hard science fiction plot, and I think we've forgotten how tense it can be. I want an hour of characters trying to fix a radio before they run out of air or explode. It makes those characters feel smart, and that makes them likeable.
And there are a lot of things I hate about the Expanse.
  • The dialogue suuuuuuuucks. It's like a textbook for how not to write natural-sounding human dialogue. Some of the actors can plough through and just sell it with their performances, but a lot of the time there's no saving it.
  • It is incredibly obvious at some moments that the show has no female writers. Miller and Julie's death scene really sticks out, but the show overall has this obnoxious nerd-bro sensibility some times that doesn't even seem to fit very well with the story they're trying to tell.
  • I hate Amos. He is the edgiest sad-boy in the entire world, and he just annoys me a lot. This is not a dig at Wes Chatham, the actor, he is clearly doing the best he can with the material he is given. But his character is just the worst.
  • Holy shit the weird-ass coding sometimes. I'm not going to complain about seeing Keon Alexander wearing eyeliner, but why is he wearing eyeliner? Is it a reference to Kohl, because that's a bit yeeesh.
  • There's some kind of weird right-wing themes in the show in general that I don't fuck with.
But overall, these are things I can overlook. I liked season 5, I felt it was okay. Avasarala's plot was touching, and I liked seeing her fully morph into a good person. Dodgy coding aside, I actually liked Marco Inaros as a villain. I like that, for a character who is a literal terrorist, so much of his characterization as a villain is just the fact that he's such a titanic trainwreck of a person. Amos was still pretty annoying but I think pairing him with Clarissa/Peaches was a good move. There were a lot of twists, but they were all pretty well foreshadowed and didn't feel cheap. I liked watching Naomi have a shitty time in a bomb-filled spaceship for a couple of hours, it scratched my "things going wrong in space" itch.

Yeah, it's not a great show. But it's fine, and I can't think of anything else that's really trying to do what it does right now.
I'm actually going to come out and say I like Amos the most as a character and yeh I get the argument of his portrayal as a traumatised person being bad but I see him just as a borderline psychopath who is self aware enough that he is like that such that he wants to be better but has no idea how to be a lot of the time. I'd say Amos being Amos may not be all down to trauma.

In terms of the Protomolecule I see it like the Wormhole knowledge in Farscape. It's a core idea built on bit by bit throughout the show. Heck I'd argue in terms of gritty edgelord stuff Farscape has The Expanse beaten hands now it's only really nihilism that The Expanse wins on there.

I dunno if I'd say Naomi has become weaker as such so much as she's ended up as a proverbial punching bag for bad things to happen to. Like the fact in Season 4 with her gravity sickness and Season 5 with the whole survival thing on the ship. She not weak she's just being the character the writers subject to crap most it seems. Honestly I think it would have made more sense to give Alex the gravity sickness in Season 4 as a sort of hint towards Season 5's events.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Holden is a well meaning idiot. If there is a dumb option, he tends to like to take that one and only succeeds by the skill of his crew. I love the show, but he is an idiot.
 
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Gordon_4

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In terms of the Protomolecule I see it like the Wormhole knowledge in Farscape. It's a core idea built on bit by bit throughout the show. Heck I'd argue in terms of gritty edgelord stuff Farscape has The Expanse beaten hands now it's only really nihilism that The Expanse wins on there.
Farscape never struck me as edgy. Its weird and certainly marches to the beat of its own drum but there's enough heart and confidence to make its victories enjoyable and its also really funny.

Now if you'd said Lexx was edgy, I'd believe you.
 
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Terminal Blue

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I'm actually going to come out and say I like Amos the most as a character and yeh I get the argument of his portrayal as a traumatised person being bad but I see him just as a borderline psychopath who is self aware enough that he is like that such that he wants to be better but has no idea how to be a lot of the time. I'd say Amos being Amos may not be all down to trauma.
I mean, that's fair enough. We're all going to respond to different characters.

In real life, "psychopaths" generally are traumatized people. There's a certain genetic component, but it's usually triggered by extreme and horrible childhood trauma, such as what is implied to have happened to Timmy/Amos in the show. I also think, if that's what they were going for, I do think it's really nice that they show Amos has a sense of empathy and care for people (even if it's only for some people) as this is often true of people with antisocial personality disorders. People with ASPD often really struggle with stigma, because people think that they aren't capable of real empathy or love when they are, even if they feel these emotions differently.

However, I'm going to give them less credit here because I'm really tired of media that implies a character has a mental illness or neurodevelopmental disorder but doesn't actually say it. Writers do that because if you say it out loud, if you explicitly identify a character as having a mental illness, it creates a responsibility to represent that illness appropriately, which you don't have to do if you just vaguely imply it. To me, it just registers as lazy, like you didn't want to do the work of figuring out how to represent that mental illness properly and just wanted to use a bunch of cliche tropes.

And that's my problem with Amos I think. It's not that the idea of this character is fundamentally bad, I think with a little more effort he could have been a character I genuinely loved, but the show wraps him in all these cliches. He's big, tough hyperviolent dude who is just too uncucked to fall for all the bullshit about ethics and morality and sees the world as it really is, a violent survivalist wet dream where everyone is out to kill you so you'd better kill them first (unless they're a woman in which case you need to protect them). I dunno, it's such a basic masc straight bro's fantasy of how they see themselves, and thus I have trouble taking it seriously.

In terms of the Protomolecule I see it like the Wormhole knowledge in Farscape. It's a core idea built on bit by bit throughout the show.
I don't think the show is ever going to explain the protomolecule though, and I don't think it wants to. Explaining the protomolecule would kind of ruin it. What's cool about the protomolecule is that it's weird, it breaks all the established rules of the setting and thus acts as a vehicle to drive things forward. I don't think it even matters what the protomolecule is or what it was originally for, it's the product of an alien mind that we will never understand.

It's also a really good example of something I've loved in science fiction ever since I read the Culture series and first started thinking about it, which is the idea that super advanced technology would become increasingly general in function. The protomolecule is no longer a machine to do a specific thing, but a machine that does many, many things because it was created by a society that understood the fundamental principles by which the universe works and could manipulate them easily. In fact, to some extent it may be capable of deciding what things it should do without any input from its operators.

I dunno if I'd say Naomi has become weaker as such so much as she's ended up as a proverbial punching bag for bad things to happen to.
I mean, yes, that's definately part of it.

But I think if you look at Naomi in season 1, she's this really assertive character. For a while, it looks like she's going to end up being the leader because she makes good decisions. But as the show goes on, she kind of takes a back seat more and more.

As mentioned, I don't mind Naomi being a punching bag. I like her scenes in the bomb-filled ship in season 5 because even though she's constantly crying and in pain and miserable she ultimately comes across as smart and tough and determined and brave, and in the end she gets herself out of a horrible situation. When I say she becomes weaker, I mean more in the sense that her character becomes less assertive and less sure of herself.
 
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Hawki

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The Expanse is to my knowledge based on a series of books. You may find them to be the more intellectually meatier version of the story.
I've read the first six Expanse books and seen the first two Expanse seasons. So far, I prefer the show.

The books have better worldbuilding, but I don't really care about any of the characters in them, bar Chrisjen and Bobbie (for whatever reason). So while they have good worldbuilding, the books are locked in diminishing returns, since it's still the same world presented over those six books. If the characters inhabiting your setting aren't interesting however, I'm not going to be interested.

The TV show, on the other hand, makes the characters more engaging, so it succeeds on that note.

Holden being this slightly naïve, overly moral person makes sense with his character. He grew up on what was basically a hippy commune. What I think is less forgivable is that his character, as written, is really, really dumb. He just constantly makes terrible decisions, and yet everyone around him keeps listening to him, and I don't really know why.
That's leaving out his service in the UNN though. I don't think his childhood has much bearing on that, since he ended up running away. If anything, Holden's childhood is symbolic of how weirdly fucked up Earth is. Like, not total collapse fucked up, but the type of fucked up that comes from a population of 30 billion, with most of its people on UBI, and live generally being dreary and monotonous.

That said, Holden irritates me, but more book!Holden than Show!Holden, but that's arguably representative of the TV show having better character writing.

actually liked Marco Inaros as a villain. I like that, for a character who is a literal terrorist, so much of his characterization as a villain is just the fact that he's such a titanic trainwreck of a person.
I've griped on the books' characters, but at least for book!Marco, I'll give props, in that he's a villain who has no idea what he's doing (in a good way), and how slowly, the Free Navy realizes that they've woken the proverbial dragon, and are being led by someone who really doesn't have a workable plan.

In terms of the Protomolecule I see it like the Wormhole knowledge in Farscape. It's a core idea built on bit by bit throughout the show. Heck I'd argue in terms of gritty edgelord stuff Farscape has The Expanse beaten hands now it's only really nihilism that The Expanse wins on there.
I'm sorry, how was Farscape "gritty?" It's Muppets in Space for a good chunk of its run.

And I say that as someone who loves Farscape.
 

Dwarvenhobble

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I mean, that's fair enough. We're all going to respond to different characters.

In real life, "psychopaths" generally are traumatized people. There's a certain genetic component, but it's usually triggered by extreme and horrible childhood trauma, such as what is implied to have happened to Timmy/Amos in the show. I also think, if that's what they were going for, I do think it's really nice that they show Amos has a sense of empathy and care for people (even if it's only for some people) as this is often true of people with antisocial personality disorders. People with ASPD often really struggle with stigma, because people think that they aren't capable of real empathy or love when they are, even if they feel these emotions differently.

However, I'm going to give them less credit here because I'm really tired of media that implies a character has a mental illness or neurodevelopmental disorder but doesn't actually say it. Writers do that because if you say it out loud, if you explicitly identify a character as having a mental illness, it creates a responsibility to represent that illness appropriately, which you don't have to do if you just vaguely imply it. To me, it just registers as lazy, like you didn't want to do the work of figuring out how to represent that mental illness properly and just wanted to use a bunch of cliche tropes.

And that's my problem with Amos I think. It's not that the idea of this character is fundamentally bad, I think with a little more effort he could have been a character I genuinely loved, but the show wraps him in all these cliches. He's big, tough hyperviolent dude who is just too uncucked to fall for all the bullshit about ethics and morality and sees the world as it really is, a violent survivalist wet dream where everyone is out to kill you so you'd better kill them first (unless they're a woman in which case you need to protect them). I dunno, it's such a basic masc straight bro's fantasy of how they see themselves, and thus I have trouble taking it seriously.



I don't think the show is ever going to explain the protomolecule though, and I don't think it wants to. Explaining the protomolecule would kind of ruin it. What's cool about the protomolecule is that it's weird, it breaks all the established rules of the setting and thus acts as a vehicle to drive things forward. I don't think it even matters what the protomolecule is or what it was originally for, it's the product of an alien mind that we will never understand.

It's also a really good example of something I've loved in science fiction ever since I read the Culture series and first started thinking about it, which is the idea that super advanced technology would become increasingly general in function. The protomolecule is no longer a machine to do a specific thing, but a machine that does many, many things because it was created by a society that understood the fundamental principles by which the universe works and could manipulate them easily. In fact, to some extent it may be capable of deciding what things it should do without any input from its operators.



I mean, yes, that's definately part of it.

But I think if you look at Naomi in season 1, she's this really assertive character. For a while, it looks like she's going to end up being the leader because she makes good decisions. But as the show goes on, she kind of takes a back seat more and more.

As mentioned, I don't mind Naomi being a punching bag. I like her scenes in the bomb-filled ship in season 5 because even though she's constantly crying and in pain and miserable she ultimately comes across as smart and tough and determined and brave, and in the end she gets herself out of a horrible situation. When I say she becomes weaker, I mean more in the sense that her character becomes less assertive and less sure of herself.
The thing with Amos is I think the stuff you're picking up on is deliberate because he's meant to be a deconstruction of that archetype but not in a way that he come off as comical so to speak but acknowledge that he would be "useful" to have round. He's Riker or Kirk or Malcolm Reynolds without the Charisma to sort of go "The only reason we don't think these characters are psycho is they have the charisma / people skills to be able to play off their actions as more righteous.
 

Dwarvenhobble

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I'm sorry, how was Farscape "gritty?" It's Muppets in Space for a good chunk of its run.

And I say that as someone who loves Farscape.
It was that 90's sort of era of edgy which by todays standards seems somewhat cute for how kinda tame it was.

Some stuff hidden by spoiler text to avoid spoiling what happens in Farscape not in any particular order:
Rygel gets cut open multiple times
Crichton is tortured
Crichton dies of radiation poisoning
The sex scenes which were kinda pre HBO stuff showing far more than other shows were at the time
The fact of so many characters basically wearing BDSM leather outfits
Grayza rapes Crichton with lust pheromone stuff
Wormhole weapons are basically about the idea of the nuke the "I have become death destroyer of worlds" kind of thing.
Basically almost everything to do with the Nebari from the brainwashing to the genetically engineered killer STD
Sikozu and the many times her limbs get cut off
The Leviathan that literally murdered it's pilot and is on a grief stricken rampage.
The whole episode basically surrounding a teenage suicide cult
Scorpius being tortured (both past and present)
The whole Scorpius having to insert rods into his brain still.
 

meiam

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I read the first book and really liked the world building but found the characters and, to a lesser extent, the plot to not be all that interesting. I was thinking about maybe continuing if the story would jump around to different characters but it sounds like it's the Holden show and... yeah... no thanks.
 

Dwarvenhobble

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I read the first book and really liked the world building but found the characters and, to a lesser extent, the plot to not be all that interesting. I was thinking about maybe continuing if the story would jump around to different characters but it sounds like it's the Holden show and... yeah... no thanks.
I mean it does jump around a lot but a lot of the plots do have Holden somehow the centre of them with everyone / everything leading to him at some point in some way such that his stuff is often the main narrative as such.
 

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Well, was gonna make a thread on season 6 so far, but necro'ing this one since some good points seems a better idea.

...while the Expanse thinks it's tacking big ideas and themes somehow Killjoys still manages to pose bigger more profound questions. While The Expanse is interest in what human do, Killjoys asks what humans are and what makes us who we are. The Expanse presents the idea of clear bad guys and then deals with them, Killjoys ask if we even know if we're actually fighting the right thing or if we're too busy focussing on the obvious enemy to miss more going on...
It does that, it's just operating from a utilitarian perspective rather than a philosophical one, and quite subtly at that. The most recent one was the one that lays all its cards on the table, with a single line of dialogue most probably aren't going to think about...and it's the one with the lingering threads on the periphery of the audience's vision the entire time.

Jules-Pierre Mao was right.

One of the big questions in science reality, which goes -- at best -- noted only in the hardest science fiction, is whether humans as they are can even survive living off Earth. I don't mean in the short term or in near-Earth environments such as Mars or Venus. I mean, in terms of whether a given human population would be generationally viable with long-term genetic damage and physical stresses on the body from living in environments...well, not Earth. And, even if those populations survived...how would they adapt? how well would they handle environments new to them? how quickly would they speciate?

How would you identify them? How would they identify themselves? And how would contrasts in that identity manifest as conflict?

That was really driven home in the first three books/seasons, and four was the capstone. Humans need more than air, food, and water -- they need gravity, sunlight or simulated sunlight, enough shielding from ionizing radiation to be comparatively Earth-normal, and ecospheres active enough to keep their immune systems healthy. It was ill-explored in the show, but Ganymede's collapse was about much more than food production, that was just the most-immediate need -- Ganymede was necessary because it had sufficient gravity and shielding from ionizing radiation, for Belter women to bring pregnancies to term healthily. Likewise with the Ilus arc -- what happens when people (poorly) adapted to low-gravity, constant perceptible coriolis effect, and environments that control for pollution and contagion, introduce themselves to an entirely foreign ecosphere outside their bodies' tolerance, with little more than their bootstraps?

Into that comes the protomolecule. What folks forget, is it isn't just an alien organism that can somehow manipulate the laws of physics. It's a mutagen that could advance medical science (as known in-universe) to the point humanity could survive environments beyond Earth, stably and sustainably. Weaponizing the tech was proof of concept, and a means to generate capital and fund the big score, and the methods Mao and his employees unethical to the extreme...but they were right. Absent scientific and technological advances which would make humanity able to thrive in environments outside Earth and its neighboring worlds, humanity was ultimately doomed to self-destruction simply fighting over the means to exist.