The Expanse Season 2

The first time I read Leviathan Wakes I turned to my wife and told her “yo, they should make a movie out of this shit…”

Well, they did and it’s very good… with caveats.
I can’t lie, as someone who had read the books, I had a very clear idea of how I wanted things to pan out. More the fool me. There were always going to be compromise; the scope of a book can easily exceed the budget of a movie – let alone a SyFy backed show.

For the most part, the show remains faithful to the spirit, and the main plot points, of ‘Leviathan Wakes’ and ‘Caliban’s War’. In fact, there are some things that show does better than the book series.

The look of the show is almost perfect, the belter accent is awesome (even if it is a shame that the belters aren’t as physically different as they are in the books) and for the most part, the casting is bang on.
My issues stem from the relationship of the crew of the Rocinante and the handling of the incident at Ganymede.

So what went wrong?
Not much and for those who haven’t read the books, probably nothing. But I can’t shake the niggling feeling that the structure of the book, particularly Caliban’s War, worked better on ink.

Praxidike Meng

The neurotic botanist whose daughter goes missing is a huge part of Caliban’s war. A lot of the main plot ultimately revolves around him. His desperate struggle on Ganymede sets the stage for Holden and his crew (now errand boys for Johnson) to come in and join the party. From this comes awesome corridor crawling gunfights, a desperate escape from Ganymede and a head to head confrontation between Holden and Johnson.

Yes, it does take too fucking long to get going in the book, but the structure makes sense. The way its changed in the show weakens the strength of the plot. Prax seems cold and detached rather than rabidly obsessed with finding the daughter he loves more than anything.

You what, Naomi?

Naomi, the rock of the Rocinante, flip flops all over the place; one part moral centre, two parts belter diehard. While it does give the character more depth, its glued on to a skeleton that these traits weren’t originally intended for, making her character a bit of a mess.

Sort it out, Amos…
Rather than being a bad-ass with a fairly simple worldview, Amos attempts to be introspective and complex but once again it doesn’t work and makes him seem a little schizophrenic.

Stroppy Bobby

The Bobby Draper storyline is more or less in line with the book and actually makes a few useful and warranted changes. Her escape from the Martian embassy on earth gives us an interesting taste of what life is like when there is no more work, a prescient issue and the kind you expect a science fiction series to tackle. Her ‘babies day out’ is pretty is fun.

The loss of the Soren betrayal storyline from the book isn’t a big issue, although the bonding between Chrisjen and Bobby suffers as a result of this omission. What I do like is the introduction of Coytar, Chrisjen’s muscle/fixer, he is a great addition and a fucking bad ass.

The UN, Mars, OPF and Mao dynamic has shifted slightly in the show but not to the detriment of the story.

It’s a good show. It’s a very very good show and I really like it. The style, the music, the space trucker aspect of everything works so well. My annoyances, which personally make me want to pull my hair out, when viewed objectively probably don’t change the show that much for you, especially if you haven’t read the books (much to the annoyance of my poor wife who has to sit and listen to me list out the differences between the two, sorry!)

Season 2 knocks it out of the ballpark, especially the ‘Leviathan Wakes’ portion of season two (up to episode 5). It’s ‘Caliban’s War’ where things wobble slightly, but my hopes for season 3 are that – like the second season, we see a more rounded out ending.

If you are into Sci-Fi particularly of the space trucking, alien-y kind of variety, then this is the one for you. Throw in some political intrigue and you have something for everyone. Changes from the book make the plot weaker in some spots and stronger in others, but this will only bother those who have read the series. Definitely check this out!

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