I am so in love with these two shows. Both The 100 and The Expanse started rough but only got better after each new season and now they are absolutely enjoyable to watch for me. The stories they seem to build on are just resonating so strongly with me and I’m just enjoying myself so much.
The Expanse had an amazing first season but it was slow and dense and it was hard to let all of that world building sink in. It was showing me so much good science fiction that I was getting lost in it and had to play catch up with the plot. The characters were interesting and I was strangely drawn to Steven Strait’s portrayal of Jim Holden. He was a good guy in an era of Game of Thrones and his appeal is so much like that of Kit Harrington, but for some reason, I wasn’t turned off by it.
There was something pure and believable about how Jim Holden was written, this good person trapped in the middle of this political conspiracy, and Steven Strait was able to bring that performance home. It struck a chord in me. And of course, everybody else around him were so terrific. Shoreh Agdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, and the absolutely wonderful Wes Chatham.
By the second season, all the set-up and establishing of this world was set and they could go straight into the narrative and I was no longer playing catch up every episode. I was fully invested and fully into it that I was on cloud 9 every time a new episode was made available.
When Frankie Adams joined the cast, that was it. I didn’t think it could get better. But season 3 has proven that it can get so much better. I love political narratives, especially when its written well, and intrigue and conspiracy. The characters are so dynamic and complex and the narrative is full and well-defined.
It’s thrilling, touching, action-packed, and full of these little moments of great science. I read somewhere that The Expanse is the most scientifically accurate show about space and I honestly can’t think of any show (or even movie) that amazes me more when it comes to space battles.
Sure, Star Wars is great fun and it’s thrilling. But The Expanse is just so grounded in its science that it feels so fresh. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it makes sense.
I cannot get enough of The Expanse and I hope that SyFy continues to produce the show until it’s time for them to bow out (but hopefully on a high) and that Netflix and iFlix continues to make it available for streaming.
This is a show I know I’ll be coming back to again and again over the years.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, The 100 started off on really shaky ground. The first seven episodes felt phony and gimmicky. It fell under the formula of The CW of beautiful young men and women in highly dramatic situations for the sake of drama. I was really watching only because it was 2014 and I was watching everything at the time.
But somewhere around episode seven or eight of the first season, they sort of abandoned the hokey CW formula and went dark and philosophical. It started to get painful and the world was becoming more bleak.
The characters had to make tough choices with real consequences and somewhere along the way, The 100 found its heart.
I will admit, the joy has somehow left the show. It’s relentless in its desolation. There are never any easy routes. There are no victories that ever last. Every choice these characters make will always have a price that is just too high to pay. This is not a show that will make you breathe. No one has an easy time here, and for a CW show, that’s quite refreshing.
This is a show about survival and its rigid demands. There is no black and white here. Everything is gray. None of civilization’s rules about niceness and order would make any sense in this world. And it’s the very nature of that situation that our characters have to struggle with every episode of every season.
Characters like Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) cued into it early and really endeared herself to me. And Avgeropoulos is savage in her portrayal. The drama she brings in to Octavia is a joy to watch.
Bob Morley’s Bellamy has had so many character shifts, pushed and pulled by the many heavy choices he has had to make and it’s Morley’s ability to navigate through that emotional quagmire and still make Bellamy believable and endearing that has made him one of my favorite characters to root for.
Eliza Taylor is great as Clarke, but they’ve put her character through so much and I feel like it’s time to let her sink into the sidelines and let the other characters shine. I think Christopher Larkin and Lindsey Morgan need more to do. They need the same quality of stories that they gave Richard Harmon because I know they can give us something wonderful to see.
The 100 is a little more loose in their world building than The Expanse but it’s an outrageous concept and they are trying to tell a different story here. The setting is merely an arena for them to test their emotional fortitude and to break their old world moral compass. The science in The Expanse is detailed and accurate because it’s necessary for the geopolitics involved. The 100 needs to play it loose because it’s there for the drama.
And I love it. I love both shows and I can’t wait to have more episodes unfold over the next few months.
I really couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to say something. They are just too good.