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#4501019 - 12/20/19 07:52 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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a. That's great News
b. Wow, because now it gets a lot worse
c. That would mean they start the next "supercycle" with the new story arc that would last until book nine. Will we get to see nine seasons?

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#4501030 - 12/20/19 11:35 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Ssnake]  
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Originally Posted by Ssnake
Will we get to see nine seasons?




That will all depend on how happy Amazon is with the streaming numbers.


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
#4501045 - 12/20/19 01:28 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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I don't know how the Return On Investment is stacking up for Amazon, but I suspect we will see another season or more. The series is very well done, and certainly deserves to continue, IMO.

#4501049 - 12/20/19 02:01 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Ssnake]  
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Originally Posted by Ssnake
a. That's great News
b. Wow, because now it gets a lot worse
c. That would mean they start the next "supercycle" with the new story arc that would last until book nine. Will we get to see nine seasons?


Have to agree. I don’t care for the turn the last two books have taken, although I’d like to see the ships on screen. I liked Nemesis Games a lot, but I’ve just gone through these last books to know the lore and to be ready for whatever is done with the universe after the last book. I assume there will be another series that all of this has been a set up for.


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#4501650 - 12/26/19 04:15 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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I'm five episodes in to Season 4 and I'm now really worried. So far, the writing is not living up to expectations and I feel that if episode 6 doesn't turn things around, the show is in trouble.

Issues so far:

The war ended in Season 3 with the discovery of the gate and all those worlds. Truce ensued.

Meng is no longer on the crew. He added such an awesome dynamic and his character really changed and evolved. That he's missing this season so far shows.

Episode 5 seemingly has become a soap-opera drama with the standoff between the two factions on the alien world--neither of which I care about. I could give a #%&*$# if the belters or the others die--I want to know about the world! But at the very end of the episode, when Holden tries to stop the two groups from killing each other, who I don't care about, he comes up with the lamest regurgitated trope excuse that is so tired in sci-fi: That the planet is trying to phone home and find its creators.

Really?

We've gone from something that almost wiped out humanity to something trying to phone home. Okay. Great. So it is trying to phone home. Leave the planet and be done with it. Nothing to see here. Humanity is saved.

The stakes are soooooooooooo low.

So what does the show do? Spends 1/4 of the episode trying to save the belter doctor. Another character I don't care about. She was shown at the beginning pressing the button that blew up the ship. That makes her complicit in murder. I don't care if she dies. And then Alex, with zero training and hardly any instruction, manages to cauterize the right organ/artery/vein/whatever that was causing her to bleed out in seconds, saving her? That violated plausibility. We wasted a bunch of time saving someone I could care less about on a world that is coming alive that to this point, have no reason to care about because the danger is so easy to fix. So they try and raise stakes by saving someone we don't care about.

I'm perturbed up until this point, but the end of the episode frustrated me the most.

When Holden came up with the phone home excuse, we leave the episode with an explosion on the planet's surface--and his explanation that everyone must leave--and at that moment the actor who's name eludes me whom is the "bad guy," reasons that maybe Holden can try and communicate with it since he has a connection to change its course.

OPPORTUNITY MISSED

If you're going to feed #%&*$# sandwiches to characters and raise stakes by putting them at risk, the only way the audience will give a #%&*$# is if characters they care about ARE AT RISK.

I think only one line of dialogue needed to be changed at the end to avert this crisis and change the course of things--although this won't fix a so far lackluster corner the show has written themselves into. The "bad guy" should have reasoned... "Oh, so you have a connection and it is trying to phone home, and you are somehow responsible for setting all this into motion due to your connection. So... if we kill you and your crew, this thing will shut up and go away and we'll be able to do what we do." Say that were said, Holden would lose his "ambassador card," because up until this point we knew he could never die, nor could his crew because of their connection to Avrasaralla. If they're implicated as the cause and his link is hazardous to humanity, well now, we have a story again.

Stakes raised. Crap sandwich fed. Characters we care about in danger. And best of all, now we want to know why. Why the connection? What the heck is going on? Because that might save Holden.

But that didn't happen. Now a bunch of people we don't care about may die on a world we don't care about. So far I'm meh this season.

Unless...

They're going for the whole Fermi Paradox explanation in that the reason we don't see alien life is because all alien life is dead because of the protomolecule and yet somehow humanity managed to not die yet there was a gate in Sol system.

I think the season has wasted too much time on two groups of characters we could care less about instead of opening a bigger door towards a future story arc we should care about.

Avrasaralla? I could care less if she loses her job. She deserves to, what after all the self-serving wickedness she's demonstrated. I'm watching her downfall in amusement. Draper, one character I do care about has set herself up for bad times and fell into the trap like a bumbling fool, but I want to see where she ends up. But no Meng. Reduced character dynamics on the Rocinante.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I feel this season is missing some important ingredients so far and instead has resorted to cheap end of episode tricks to bait us into watching the next one. Tricks that are easily resolved at the beginning of the next. What we don't have is the rising dramatic tension of previous seasons and that's because in order to have tension, as I've said several times already, the tension has to revolve around placing folks we care about at risk.


Ugh. I hope episode 6 fixes this. The season is plodding. No spoilers please.

#4501657 - 12/26/19 05:24 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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All I’m going to say is the book was kinda boring as well, IMO.

Mei was rescued so she and Prax are on Ganymede, where he’s helping to rebuild.


Phil

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#4501658 - 12/26/19 05:34 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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Yeah, NH, true. I mean, if they /are/ going for the whole Fermi Paradox reveal that all life in the galaxy is dead due to the protomolecule and only humans and Earth are left alive--as implausible as this is that Earth were insulated, then they should and should do this soon, and and divert the focus from the planet and the silly conflict on it, and instead focus on human greed and the potential we could wipe ourselves out leaving all life in the entire Galaxy gone.

Those are stakes.

Right now the show has no stakes. Seems the novel might be the same way, too.

Writing a series of novels as long as the Expanse--what, working on a 9th one now, is a hugely difficult undertaking, because they run the risk of falling into the three act structure themselves, three for act one, three for two, and three for three, whereas the middle of a novel, or act two, traditionally can be the "lull" and three novels of lull, or even one for that matter, is never a good thing. This is why you often see lengthy series taking place in several different time periods--to avoid this trap.

I've not read any of the Expanse books, but seems my impression isn't far from what you indicate, that they fell into the "lull" trap and that's a nasty gambit to take.

#4501661 - 12/26/19 05:44 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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Keep watching, they're just slow to get around to the meat. Agreed, TOO slow.
I finished it last night. It's been a good (not great) season. I think it was much better on screen than it was in the book. Honestly, I found the book dull. It was very "small" after the grand scale we've been dealing with. The greatness of those first 2-3 books/seasons doesn't come back that I've seen, but can still make for a good show.

I agree about Prax being missing stands out. Here and in the book he's returned to work since he has his daughter and his skills are needed. I think Amos makes a reference to him later, even if not by name, but I can't remember the context since it didn't click at the time. Similarly, Fred Johnson and Anderson Dawes. Dawes has been pretty much missing since that first season. Same in the books, he gets left behind by events, but still, they could've improved in that areas. Both are around in name only, pretty much. These characters aren't done yet, but would've been a good area for the series to smooth things out where the books didn't. It reeks of budgeting or maybe timing, issues with those actors. We see one, briefly.

There are some differences from the book, as usual, but also improvements that flesh out everything nicely and provide better transition. Politically, there may be long lasting effects from this as far as settling etc, but like Blastman said...WHO CARES? Let someone else deal with that. This is a fault with the source material...it gets dull with the exception of the next book, which is one of the best IMO.

Bobbie's storyline is not from Ciboloa Burn, since she wasn't really in it. It comes from the novella following her at this time Gods of Risk. I haven't read it, so I was really excited to see this. I hope they include the others in the next seasons. Without her story, this would've really sucked.
They also give much more proper attention to one character the books just threw away like nothing, which bugged me. Major improvement.
There's a much better introduction to a fairly major character.
The events on Earth are well done. I don't think much was said in the book about Earth at the time other than the frame story with Avasarala sending the Roci, hoping Holden would "Holden-it-up" or something like that.
Ultimately, all that matters is what's in the last 2 episodes. Again, much better transition to the next book, which the books themselves always fail to do.

I'm ready for the books to come to an end. It's been stretched out too much and I don't like the direction they've taken the characters. I expect (or at least hope) this series is just a prelude to a larger story coming of a conflict with the ancient species that's got to still be out there. Surely jump a few hundred years is in order for that storyline to get started. I had hoped that we'd be seeing much more of that in this series once the gate was open than we have.




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#4501662 - 12/26/19 06:01 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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#%&*$# it. So my intuition was right. They have fallen into the trap.

Last night when I finished Episode 5 I couldn't help but feel that this was a second draft and the writers needed to throw this into the trash and start over again. Ugh.

One of the hardest things I've had to do as a writer myself was with my last novel. I spent two and a half months writing the end of the novel, only to reach the last chapter and have dawn upon me, "Hmm. This doesn't feel right. The ending I foresaw happening can't work because it doesn't fit snugly with the pieces I'm working with."

What did I do?

I threw two and a half months of writing into the trash, proverbially. I then took a two week break to contemplate, and during that period an idea dawned upon me--an epiphany, based off a simple question I had asked myself, "I wonder what happened here?" So I wrote it out and one thing lead to another, and I ended up taking bits and pieces of what I originally wrote, wove some of those scenes in between the answer to the question I asked which involved entirely different characters and scenes, and voila, three months later I arrived at the last chapter and everything clicked like magic.

But that required me to swallow my pride and realize the words I had first written were crap and not worthy of the story they were written for.

This season feels like that. And Raw Kryptonite, you just confirmed my fears in the latter half of your post. #%&*$# it all.

Last edited by Mr_Blastman; 12/26/19 06:25 PM.
#4501680 - 12/26/19 10:27 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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Much of the reason I read the books, at this point, is just to see how it ends up when the last one comes out. It's not like you can skip. At this point, I get far more enjoyment from the show than the books. I still think the show is incredible overall, but not it seems hamstrung by the source material it has to draw upon.


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#4501708 - 12/27/19 09:22 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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While I wasn't too hot for the fourth book myself, at least book five kicks off with a H0ly Sh!t moment and is, indeed, one of the best. But I liked the following books; they were a plausible expansion of what would happen with the protomolecule (and Dr. Cortazar) around, and the ending of book eight is promising. Book four was slightly problematic in that it tried to use Illus as the model case of the mad land rush of expanding to other worlds; 1300 empty planets, after all, and what that means for Mars. That part of the book worked; the human aspect and reader's care for the characters - not to the extent that they had managed to pull off in previous novels. Having an actual psychopath with the law on his side as an adversary may have sounded like a great concept, but was enormously frustrating.

For me at least the good news was that book four was the low point, and it got better again afterwards, rather than a drawn-out decline where every following book gets progressively worse.

#4501909 - 12/30/19 09:19 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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After binge-watching season four over the weekend together with household six I must say that while it wasn't the greatest of all Expanse seasons, still they did an adequate job of cutting/simplifying the lengthy parts from the book, and preparing the coming season (maybe a bit too much). Overall I think season four improved over the book, which is, I think, all you can hope for while still trying to stay faithful to the original. Personally I wish they would have given more depth to the science side of things, but given that some in this thread found this installment "plodding" already I suppose the show's writers' instinct was right.

#4502328 - 01/02/20 02:20 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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Finished the season last night.

Ssnake: I wouldn't have minded more depth on the science side. My issue was the plot focused on groups of meaningless people using tired plot devices with little to no payoff in the end. Greater depth into the science side of things might have helped immensely.

The season was okay, but felt more like a mid-tier run of the mill drama than the Expanse we have all grown to love.

#4502329 - 01/02/20 03:31 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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I don’t remember there BEING much in the way of science in the book. It was mainly the hostility of Ilus to human life, Holden trying to play politician for 2 groups of people who didn’t want to be politicked to, and dealing with whatever surprises the protomolecule had waiting for them.


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#4502334 - 01/02/20 10:00 AM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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I was referring to the fact that they had three distinct biologies parallel on that planet - the protomolecule leftovers, 1.5 billion years of natural evolution on Illus, and then of course everything that the humans brought with them. That eye parasite was but the first incident of interaction between Illus and Terran biology, and it was worth at least a few pages in the book; in the TV series maybe two or three dialog lines.

Well, I suppose we have to file the season as OK-ish to bring the first half of the protomolecule story to an end. The next season
will bring the apocalypse,
should definitely ratchet up the tension again.

#4502411 - 01/02/20 05:25 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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Well, I resumed watching Dexter season 6 last night, and after the episode was finished my thoughts on season 4 of the Expanse were both confirmed and cemented.

Season 4 was ho-hum blah.

Bad guy on New Terra - cookie-cutter one-dimensional rent-a-baddie.
Belter doctor/nurse/whatever terrorist lady - cookie-cutter one-dimensional MacGuffin cog
Belter doctor daughter + belters on planet - cookie-cutter one-dimensional plot pawns

RCE ship falling from orbit without power - tired plot device
daughter mad at mother who might die - tired plot device
rent-a-baddie versus Amos - COULD have been cool had rent-a-baddie been developed and actually showed us he was a true badass baddie, but he didn't
razorblade swarm - durrrr happened but then was not explained and didn't matter because humans happened and things happened and oh the planet was left with the Belters mining after all with hardly a revelation other than Miller may be gone(which aside from the death of CMDR Ashford were the most significant, impactful and story relevant events that happened)
Everyone stuck in a alien structure and going blind - tired plot device revolving around plot pawns we don't care about that missed immense opportunity on scientifically analyzing the life forms.

I'd say the majority of characters introduced in this season were one-dimensional plot devices that served little to no purpose beyond moving a movie of the month plot forward.

All of this over a planet that doesn't matter because nothing that happened mattered much--and if it did, the story did an awful job of explaining why. There are what, a thousand gates to a thousand worlds? Sure, the Universe was opened, as Holden revealed they were in a different Galaxy--that was cool, but further negates whatever importance that one planet had. I see where the story might go or what things they might be reaching for, but this season felt like they fumbled the ball by giving us little more than filler without meaningful reinforcement to the end-game overarching plot. Avrasaralla losing was fitting, but Bobbie's story also had way more potential for deepening her character yet it did not. They tried to break her "good guy" mold but frankly didn't give her the additional depth she deserves. She's won us over--now give us more dimension, writers.

For those of y'all who've never seen "Breaking Bad" or "Dexter" or "Game of Thrones," I suggest you watch those. In the Dexter episode I watched last night, I got...

Multifaceted character development of not only the protagonist, but various supporting roles, chances at redemption, inner demons, metaphor, and complicated life-altering decisions and choices. The difference in quality of writing between this one episode, which wasn't even a bookend--no, was a mid-season spacer, was huge.

John Lithgow's antagonist relationship with Dexter in season 4 is a fantastic example of writing done well with tremendous stakes and consequences of actions illustrated. The mistakes made truly have an impact on the characters _and_ the viewers.

I've seen so many shows, watched so many movies, and read so many novels that perhaps I'm too jaded, but I feel we deserved better from season four of the Expanse. Shame it sounds like the novel was just as drab. I have hope though, and thank you for sharing that things will get better in book and season five.

I could share my thoughts on this all day, but whatever. I'm not mad I saw Season 4, I just wish it could have been way more. I mean, they had a whole Universe open to them, and this is what they came up with?

Last edited by Mr_Blastman; 01/02/20 06:30 PM.
#4502430 - 01/02/20 06:49 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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It’s like the whole book is useful for filling in some info for the history of the alien races a little bit, but that’s it. It should’ve been a novella instead of being forced into a full length book.

I still think the show exceeded the book, but I'm mostly looking forward to moving on with the next 2 books/seasons. After that...I don’t know. I hope they don't follow the books in certain ways with these last two books, and presumably the last one coming out. I don’t think it will go over well resulting in the show ending prematurely.


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#4502469 - 01/02/20 10:39 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Mr_Blastman]  
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Originally Posted by Mr_Blastman
All of this over a planet that doesn't matter because nothing that happened mattered much--and if it did, the story did an awful job of explaining why. There are what, a thousand gates to a thousand worlds? Sure, the Universe was opened, as Holden revealed they were in a different Galaxy--that was cool, but further negates whatever importance that one planet had. I see where the story might go or what things they might be reaching for, but this season felt like they fumbled the ball by giving us little more than filler without meaningful reinforcement to the end-game overarching plot.

Well, one crucial element that was revealed was that the ancient protomolecule civilization was eliminated by some other equally advanced foe by a device that is, literally, a blind spot to their technology, and that whatever killed those protomolecule engineers might now be after mankind, now that all the remaining gates have been reactivated.

It's hard to categorically refute your points, although I think that you are a bit harsh on them. Sure, the fourth novel was the low point of the books and now also of the TV series but I have seen much worse science fction series, so as far as (semi)hard science fiction/space opera is concerned, I couldn't name a series that I would like better. That there are other TV shows which offer better characters and more complex storylines such as Dexter's second best season is something that I won't dispute. But you're comparing The Expanse against some of the best writing that has ever been made for TV. Given the choice betwee re-watching season VII of Game of Thrones or this Expanse season, I would probably still pick The Expanse. Maybe GoT VII wasn't quite so bad as I remember it, but it was a far cry from seasons I ... V.

#4504632 - 01/22/20 05:19 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: Raw Kryptonite]  
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Watched the first two episodes of this latest season but have now given up on this show. Although it was the show that originally turned me on to reading the books I just find it deviating too far from the book series. And I think overall the book series is much better than the show.


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#4504633 - 01/22/20 05:25 PM Re: The Expanse [Re: NH2112]  
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Originally Posted by NH2112
I don’t remember there BEING much in the way of science in the book.


Well, the authors have stated that they were not interested in writing a hard science fiction series of books. They're aiming more for the space opera genre.


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