After yesterday’s confused jumble of a review, I figured I might as well continue in the same vein today.
Before we watched Penny Dreadful, Mrs. Hatboy and I watched Wynonna Earp, which was actually a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next season if and when it ever gets made, but I won’t review it for now. I get the feeling it will improve with more episodes. It suffered a bit from cold-start syndrome, not to mention similarities and inevitable comparisons to Buffy. Nothing comes out of a comparison to Buffy looking good.
 I’m not altogether sure what cold-start syndrome is, since I guess almost all TV shows that aren’t spin-offs have to appear out of nowhere. But in this era of non-network television where it’s possible to just not click on a trailer for a show or scroll past stuff (and we don’t even have normal TV so we don’t get any commercials), it’s easier for a show to just … be.
Well … yes and no. And meh. And sorry.
See, here’s the problem I have with The Expanse. I can’t tell how much of my response to the show was a sympathetic reaction to the knowledge that this is a book series, an awareness that was skewing my perspective the whole time – I liked it because of that closeness to my life’s work – and yet I was prone to be critical because obviously I have a sci-fi book series and it’s totally not fair, I should be getting a TV adaptation – but I liked the show – and yet I was underwhelmed by its adaptation to TV – and yet I haven’t even read the books.
How’s that for conflicting? Let’s see if I can unpack it a bit more.
I could have watched the minutiae of the TV show for hours and hours and hours on end. I could have sat in on a classroom history lesson. I could have watched a bunch of new arrivals at Ceres taking part in a three-day orientation and training program, or just sat and followed the progress of an asteroid-mining crew all the way from their ice-site to delivery on a run-of-the-mill tour. There’s so much detail and world-building obvious here, the TV show can’t help but feel superficial.
 Possibly because I know it is based on a book series … but I’m not sure about that.
Why does it feel superficial? Well, it doesn’t feel like “oh, there’s been a heap of writing effort behind the scenes and you can tell that from the way the show was put together.” No, not in my opinion. That was the case in a few tantalising parts of the show, where you got a glimpse of it in the background and so – if you were feeling charitable – you could imagine it applied all over. But no – for the most part, I felt the show concentrated too much on … shit, I don’t even know what it was concentrating on.
There wasn’t a lack of action. There were some amazing hand-to-hand fighting, ship-combat, space-action and especially zero-gravity scenes. They were really good. And there were some slow parts that built tension beautifully. But then there were some slow parts that were just slow. There were some action bits that were just action, and seemed surplus to requirements.
I cared about the grizzled cop and his idealistic new sidekick. I cared about the Mutants trying to free Mars, I mean the Belters trying to escape the pincers of Mars and Earth. I cared about the ragtag team of accidentally-in-the-middle-of-everything miners-or-whatever-they-were with an assortment of haunted pasts. I cared about the miner and his nephew who – what – basically got killed by space-fascists? I cared about the politics on Earth, and the war, and the super-weapon, and the general mistreatment the Belters received at the hands of the corrupt authorities …
I just couldn’t care about it all at once, so I wound up sort of … not caring.
I want to read the books. I bet they’re way better than the TV series. I’m just disappointed that:
a) I found out it was a book series too late (I wasn’t paying attention to the opening credits), so didn’t get a chance to read the books first (plus I really wanted to watch the show)
b) the book series is apparently unfinished (I’m going to have to check with Mr. dreameling as to whether it’s worth reading unfinished, or if I should wait … I’m guessing he’s going to say it’s worth reading now)
Does that adequately explain how I felt about this show?
It was very cool. Most of my enjoyment lay in ignoring the show itself and just pretending I was channel-hopping through a news channel based on the show. Some of the characters were interesting but they didn’t get anything characteristic to do. And then it ended. And the book series isn’t ready yet.
 Despite my criticisms here. Maybe anyone still reading the extended Rogue One comments discussion can appreciate the complexities and see that this isn’t as simple as just “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it”, and see that this is possibly semi-new territory for me … I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I don’t know.
I’ll watch more when I get a chance, but for now I’m totally conflicted.