The Expanse, Season 2

The Expanse, in the first season, was the most science fiction show I’ve seen in a long time. It had everything I wanted out of a sci-fi show. Space, a new way people live, different factions, new and interesting technologies, and something mysterious. But I felt season 1 meandered a bit. I know why, now. It’s the weird reason (perhaps budget) that they do not adapt one book per season. Season one was only part of book one, meaning it did had no overall resolution to anything.

Season 2 finishes up book one, but it still has a similar problem. It starts but does not finish book 2. That leaves the end of the season feeling like how the first one ended. In a sort of why is anything happening sort of phase.

But as a whole, I liked season 2 much more. I think it’s because I get the world, er, solar system now. I get who’s who and how they relate to everyone else. In season 1, I was sort of trying to keep up the entire time, but now I know the characters and get their motivations.

The first few episodes of season 2 were also fantastic. That’s because they are the final parts of book 1, and thus the more exciting parts. Then it ramps down a bit as book 2 starts, but I’m really enjoying it, too.

Bobbie Draper, a new character, is pretty fun to see. She starts out pretty tough and belligerent, but I’m liking her later characterization more. It’s fun but people still know not to mess with her. She is a Martian Marine, after all.

The crew of the Rocinante has an actual purpose now rather than just drifting around trying to survive. A goal gives them some they really needed, a point to being shown. I’ll get into them more in the spoiler section. I will say that Amos was great in the first season, and he’s great here. There’s just something about the way he’s played that makes him the most intimidating guy in the room at all times. And Alex has turned into the fun guy of the group. It makes his scenes great to watch.

As for The Expanse, it has some of the most gorgeous scenes in any TV show I’ve seen. Every time I see the full opening, I get the feels. And there are several wonderfully sci-fi scenes in this season. I’ll also get into that more in the spoiler section, too.

But once again, The Expanse is a wonderful sci-fi show that can’t be matched if you want a fully-realized and complicated world. Earth, Mars, and The Belt each have things they want from each other, and some people will do anything to get it. And with the revelation from the end of the first season, things are about to get much more complicated.

Alrighty, time for spoiler thoughts.

The crew of the Rocinante, Jim, Alex, Amos, and Naomi, now has the goal of getting rid of the protomolecule from the solar system. It does get a bit single-minded to a frustrating degree, especially with Jim. The others are just going along because he’s the captain, and he’s really going to far. The new (probably temporary) addition of Prax is a good one to mix up the crew a bit.

And finally in season 2, I understand what Chrisjen is doing. I really had little ideas during season 1.

This season really brings up some wonderfully amazing shots from Eros, to the final episode of the season. The final episode, in particular, has 2. I’ll admit I did not expect that to happen to the research ship, and it looked amazing. There are lots more during the course of the season, to. They aren’t as grand, but they’re low-key amazing.

The Expanse is a science fiction show that’s well worth a watch. Go get to it.

Jupiter Ascending

A sci-fi film about a girl that is a genetic recurrence of someone important in the past. It’s kinda like reincarnation, except not really. Probability just gave the girl the same genes as someone that died before. Her name is Jupiter, an ordinary girl working as a maid. She becomes embroiled in a property dispute among three rich siblings because as a recurrence, she has rights to some of the property the original person had.

Oh, and Jupiter gets a wolf-eared hunky soldier to protect there named Caine. Oh, and Jupiter is a recurrence of the three siblings’ mother. That’s why all of them want something from her.

This all reads like some kind of teenage fantasy, and the movie plays out a lot like one, too. Caine has antigravity skates, man. Anti. Gravity. Skates. Along with an arm shield that makes him a total badass. He’s a lone wold with a troubled past that never gets fully explained. I’m alright with it not getting explained, actually.

The movie does create an interesting backstory. You find out enough about what’s going on in the universe, though I can’t say any of the plot points suprised me. Either they were really telegraphed, or I just watched too many similar kind of stories. I’m not going to spoil them, but you’ll probably figure out what’s going on long before the movie tells you.

So pretty much watch this for the spectacle. I enjoyed the universe they put forth. The three siblings, being the rich bastards that they are, have all of the best views and finest homes. Yet somehow their guards still all lose to Caine.

I feel like this movie would work much better as a cheesy homage to sci-fi movies rather than trying to be a serious film. They even have certain scenes that seem like it’s tributing something from other movies.

I do like how the Aegis, the space police, is still shown to have some authority of the rich siblings. The siblings have to try to work within the law to get what they want. I also like how no one really cares about Earth other than as Jupiter’s property.

Eddie Redmayne as the main antagonist sibling is the most memorable performance of the show. He’s trying to be really chillax, but then he just starts shouting. It’s pretty fun to watch. Everyone else is prety standard.

I consider the movie alright. I do like sci-fi and this movie is really sci-fi veering into fantasy in a space setting. The universe is well-realized, and they even touch upon the belief system that the universe has. That part’s good. The plot itself is standard, though, and it treats everything seriously, even things has been done a lot of times before.

Just… anti-gravity skates.

Star Trek: Beyond

I’ve probably mentioned this in my previous reviews of Star Trek, but I only watched about 2 or 3 episodes of the show Star Trek, and those were split between Kirk and Picard. I’m really enjoying these new movies as a new viewer, though. It’s just cool going out into the final frontier to explore and find new things for the sake of doing so. I understand that happens more in the shows since the movies need their epic set pieces and main villains, but it’s still just a fun thin to think about.

Now, on to actually talking about Beyond. Kirk really does go Beyond, beyond the known parts of what the Federation has mapped out. He goes on a rescue mission into the nebula, and of course things fall apart immediately. And by things, I mean a big thing.

Kirk is getting more heroic and less abrasive by the movie. I like it. He’s a proper captain now and everyone on board will absolutely follow him anywhere. The other characters are great to see. Spock and Bones together is great. Scotty has a new character to play off of. Uhura and Sulu work together. And Kirk gets to hang around with Chekov. These smaller groups really allow for some fun back-and-forths between the crew.

Still, the movie is a bit predictable. From the moment I saw Yorktown, the space station, I knew what was happening to it at the climax of the movie. Yeah, it’s kind of a spoiler, but you’ll probably have the same thought too the moment you see it, especially if you’ve seen the previous movies. Still, Yorktown is a wonder to behold and a pretty awesome final set piece.

I really enjoyed the new character of Jaylah. She doesn’t overshadow the story while still having some nice moments and development. And she’s pretty darn skilled at a lot of stuff, too. She fits into the crew really well. I hope she doesn’t just disappear like the science officer from Into Darkness.

The main badguy of Beyond is a strange alien with some vicious technology. His name is Krall, and he pretty much hates the Federation’s way of doing things. He talks philosophically a lot, but there never is a real debate about it. It’s mostly just a few short lines between him and the crew.

He’s pretty menacing, but you only find out more about him toward the end of the movie. It surprised me, but it also reminded me a bit of the previous movies. That’s all I’ll say about him.

I’m really enjoying the Star Trek movies. This one is great for actually going to new places and trying to explore. The crew interactions are also great. The background crew still doesn’t do much, but they do feel cohesive and like people that deeply care for each other.

Star Trek Beyond is pretty great.

The Martian

The first ten minutes of this movie is intense. They just drop straight into the action, no setup needed. And, being a squeamish person, oh man. I found *that* scene worse than some more violent stuff in other movies, because in those other movies, the characters are action stars that react differently to injury. This time, it’s a normal guy clearly trying hard just not to faint again.

The Martian, the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut that is stranded on Mars. He needs to survive until rescue come. I must say that I am loving these space movies recently. Gravity, Interstellar, and now The Martian. There’s just something fantastic and hopeful about all of them. The Martian might be my favorite just for how it could help boost space exploration. The Martian is based on a lot of real science. Educated guesses are only used when the real science isn’t quite there, yet.

And the Martian is wonderful in how everyone works together. The Director of Nasa is the closest thing to an antagonist, and that’s only because he has to think about more than just one astronaut stuck on Mars. Even then, he does his best to help out.

I will say that this movie has some hilarious lines. I don’t know if it’s the sudden shift in tone or just really smart writing and acting, but I laughed out loud a lot when the funny parts came on. Overall, it’s a hopeful, but serious film, but it knows how to have fun. It’s almost like actually being in that situation, if you can’t laugh, you’d just be curled up into a ball, crying all the time.

This movie is just good all around. You get a feel for the problem, but very few times does Mark Watney just stop. He keeps on going, figuring out ways to survive. Matt Damon does a great job with him.

The other characters just pop into the movie with a nameplate introducing them. You don’t find out much about them at all, but you do find out the important thing that they’re all trying to help Mark Watney. I almost forget at times that the movie takes place over 2 or 3 years. Characters you just saw last scene have been debating and worked things out already. It does get a bit jarring, but never too much.

All of the side characters get enough personality and screentime to be enjoyable. The scenes on Earth are fun to watch, even in a movie where being trapped on Mars is the main plot.

Just from start to finish, The Martian is great. I really want for it to be true someday, sending people to Mars. That Elon Musk fellow is planning a trip by 2024, which would be amazing if it happens. Just imagine, real people on Mars. This movie is as much about possibility as it is about telling a good story about a man’s will to survive.

The Expanse, Season Finale

Syfy has been doing really great with their shows recently. I didn’t watch them until this past year, and they put out a lot of fun and great stuff. I would consider the Expanse a mangum opus of the new show launches. It is sci fi to the max, a space story that is yet grounded in trouble and characters just trying to make it.

First, though, and I will admit to it that The Expanse is too serious of a show for me to fully get into. It’s usually a lower priority on my watching list even though I still think it is absolutely fantastic. The show is grim and characters hardly crack a genuine smile. No one is really friends, just forced to stay together due to circumstances.

However, the visuals of the show are fantastic. The space ships, the space colonies, all a sort of grungy, slummy look. Of course there are nice areas, too, though I question the apartments with apparent glass walls, unless their some sort of reflective glass on the outside. There are a few Earth scenes, though you don’t really get a feel for how its different from currently. The only places you see are fancy meeting places, really.

The opening to the Expanse is gorgeous. One of the best I’ve seen on recent television.

Anyway, while the tone of the show isn’t what I usually go for, everything the Expanse sets out to do, it does it wonderfully. This really is a show you should binge watch. Single episodes advance the plot slowly. You get a real feel for how each character thinks and feels. The plot is split between three lines that all intersect around a mysterious science experiment.

The characters of the Canterbury really shine. Amos, especially, can be really chilling with his general calmness all throughout, and it’s not like he’s in control. He has a sort of he’ll be fine because he’s going to kill everyone that gets in his way, calmness. The Canterbury crew mostly deals with the struggle of surviving in space, being small fish with tons of sharks around. I was most invested in their plotline because it felt like they had a tangible goal of not getting screwed over at every turn.

Miller, from the investigation plotline, shows a lot of space station life. I like the small details of how people look different from growing up on low or no gravity places. The third plotline is on Earth, dealing with how Earth is reacting to all that’s going on in space. Both of these deal with relationships between people on Earth, people on Mars and people living in space.

The season finale for the show is fantastic. I definitely enjoyed it the most out of any episode. It probably helps that the action is turned up considerably and the different plot lines really start to collide.

If you want an excellent science fiction show, The Expanse is the one to watch.