TL;DR – This series continues to be the benchmark for modern Science Fiction, the benchmark for novel adaptation, and the benchmark for great TV.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Last year I wrote an article about how we are in a new Golden Age of Science Fiction and at the heart of that theses was the joy that was The Expanse. At the time Season Three had come out, and we still were not sure if that would be the end of the TV show. It would have been sad if the show’s story had ended there, but at least we still had the books, which was a little consolation. However, I was overjoyed to hear that it got a last-minute pick-up for Season Four on Amazon, ecstatic when I discovered that it was already greenlit for Season Five, and over the moon now that I have watched Season Four and have discovered the joy that it is.
So to set the scene, at the end of last season, disaster had been forestalled and new opportunities have arrived when thousands of gates to thousands of new solar systems opened up. Fearing the new disaster that could come for an out of control gold rush, or worse a new proto-molecule infection, the powers at be, the new alliance of Earth, Mars, and the OPA work together to set up a blockade at the Solar System side of the network. But before they could get it set up a bunch of Belter refugees took the gamble and broke through the blockade. Months later and somehow the Belter have survived, which is causing Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) all levels of grief because the Royal Charter Energy (RCE) Company has legal claim to the planet and has sent their ship the Edward Israel to what they call New Terra, but what the Belters call Ilus. So who better to go and meditate, well that would be the crew of the Rocinante James Holden (Steven Strait), Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham). Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – This is and continues
to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of
the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I mentioned back in my look at the New
Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here
in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was
constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A.
Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was
able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well,
I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one
session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the
evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.
So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that
put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power
to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn
Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is
not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie
Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still
under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into
war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile,
on the Rocinante the crew are dealing
with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and
they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With
everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going
to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others
make the tough calls?
– After a long pause
during the 2000s we are seeing a new golden age for Sci-Fi as shows go back
into space and more.
The other day I was working on a review and then something dawned on me, for
the first time in a long time I was excited by the many different Science
Fiction shows coming out of television. We were going into the stars, exploring
the future, and in some cases just getting plain weird. It was a joyous moment
because I remember a time when it was like this before and the long valley in-between
the two peaks. So today, I wanted to take a moment to talk about where we have
come from, what is so exciting about now, and why we are seeing this new Golden
TL;DR – We started with a group of people on a ship in space, and over the season, as adversity after adversity piled up, we ended with a crew. I mean I just wrote 1000 words just on the cast, the show is that good.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
This year has been a strong year for Sci-Fi on TV we have Lost in Space, Altered Carbon, The Rain, as well as more Westworld, 3%, and The Expanse. In the middle of all this was a release, which for me was probably anticipated more than anything else, a new Star Trek series. Now the fact that I really like the Star Trek franchise should come as no surprise, indeed a wrote an article all about my love for Star Trek Deep Space Nine. However, there was also a lot of trepidation going in, since DS9 we had Voyager that had some great individual episodes but nothing really came together as a series, and Enterprise that took three seasons to find out what type of show it wanted to be and when it got there decided to end on just about the most insulting note that it could (yes I know it was not meant to be a series finale but still). However, I went into this thinking that I can at least give it a season, and boy what a season it was. So in the first season of Star Trek Discovery the broke it up into different chapters, we took a look at Chapter One here, and today we are going to take a look at Chapter Two which was the back half of the season but also some of the themes that transcend all of the season, you can also see all of our reviews for the individual episodes here. With this in mind, just a warning that we will be looking at the season as a whole, and as such there will be some major [SPOILERS] discussed in this review. So caution is advised if you have yet to finished Season One of Star Trek Discovery, and we would recommend you giving the first season a watch.
TL;DR – As a game it is a really interesting puzzle to get right, mimicking real life in some ways, but it would be good to take it a step further.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
When it comes to settings for films, TV, books, or games nothing is an easier sell for me than setting something on Mars. Whether it is your Red Mars trilogy, your Total Recall, your The Martian, whatever it may be, I am just engrossed with our red neighbour floating out in the void. So with this in mind, we are looking at a game today that simulates what it would be like potentially to create a colony on the red planet and well be prepared going in that you probably going to kill your colony a couple of times.
TL;DR – Annihilation is a slow burn that then hits you like a freight train and then messes with your mind till it becomes putty, would recommend watching this, but maybe not at night.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
What is good sci-fi? As someone who loves this gene in all of its permutations, good sci-fi could be the grand space operas of Star Wars, Stargate or The Expanse, the more character driven works like Moon and The Martian. They can be thought-provoking works like Star Trek or Arrival, or thumping action set-pieces of Mad Max. Now sometimes they can be the weird contemplative works that dip into science, horror, supernatural, blending that hard and soft sci-fi into new and wonderful ways, and today’s Annihilation is the later. Now before we jump in I do have to say because the film begins in medias res, that is it opens on the ending, it is hard to talk about the film without getting into [SPOILERS] straight from the start, even with our setting the scene part of the review. If you have not seen Annihilation you may need to be a bit more careful going forward, as there will be major plot points discussed throughout.