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Corvinus85

The Expanse #4: Amazon Rising (spoilers for book only up to last episode)

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7 hours ago, Werthead said:

According to Amazon, the show did very well for them and by some reports its profile and viewership are much higher than they were on SyFy, but certainly not at GoT or now The Witcher levels.

Ugh, this truly wounds me though it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’ve had time to make my peace with GoT being the cultural phenomenon it was but the Witcher is still too new to easily swallow how popular it is.

This could just be me, but i feel i see very little publicity for the show, which must impact viewership. So many shows on amazon, if you are scrolling and have never even seen The Expanse advertised whats going to make you try it?

Interested to know from other Brits if i am just walking around with my eyes shut, and from posters from other countries to hear what the advertising is like elsewhere

Edited by HelenaExMachina

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

My Dad old scifi geek that he is discovered “The Expanse” without consulting me during its first season.

Great for him, but i was asking about advertising of the series so, any input on that?

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4 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Interested to know from other Brits if i am just walking around with my eyes shut, and from posters from other countries to hear what the advertising is like elsewhere

Haven't seen any kind of advertisement for The Expanse. Few shows really get advertised, but both GoT and The Witcher got some huge billboards all over Paris.
Come to think of it, Altered Carbon did get a few billboards too, though IIRC theyd didn't stay up for long.

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I saw quite of a bit of advertising for The Expanse, but I use Amazon a lot so maybe it was mostly there.

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So I’m 7 episodes into season 4 now. 
 

what was the general opinion on this season? Have to say it’s pretty slow, and I’m having a hard time getting through it. The momentum at the end of season 3 has stopped dead. The story threads don’t seem to be tying together all that well and even Ilus doesn’t seem all that interesting. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

what was the general opinion on this season? Have to say it’s pretty slow, and I’m having a hard time getting through it. The momentum at the end of season 3 has stopped dead. The story threads don’t seem to be tying together all that well and even Ilus doesn’t seem all that interesting.

Most people agree that it was too slow at first. Most people would also agree that there are at least two separate stories that are only loosely connected.

Personally I still loved it. The slow pace was a pain at first, but the payoff was totally worth it. Having rewatched the entire season I enjoyed the attention to detail and the coherence of the narrative(s).

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I didn't think it was slow at all, and I appreciated that they kept Bobbie and Avasarala in the mix.  Overall the season was much better than its counterpart book.

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5 hours ago, Heartofice said:

So I’m 7 episodes into season 4 now. 
 

what was the general opinion on this season? Have to say it’s pretty slow, and I’m having a hard time getting through it. The momentum at the end of season 3 has stopped dead. The story threads don’t seem to be tying together all that well and even Ilus doesn’t seem all that interesting. 
 

 

I believe the general opinion is that the season is very good. I loved it, though I wouldn't say it was better than season 3. From a visual perspective it was excellent. The actors have great chemistry with each other. Season 3 had the benefit of finishing up the story in Caliban's War and then condensed Abbadon's Gate to pretty much the essentials. I'd say that this season really did Cibola Burn a positive service of providing a strong visual medium for the story, plus it still kept the other characters in, giving them something to do, even if not all was strong at all times.

If you're 7 eps in, not sure how you can still call it slow. The first few episodes, yeah, but like season 1, it picks up fairly quickly afterwards. Now if you're not interested in the protomolecule mystery, and are more interested in the "geo"political stuff, I can see how this season may be weaker for you. 

Think of some of the story threads as setting up things to come.

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I thought Aveserola and Bobby's plots were weak but otherwise the season is terrific. Cibola Burn was always going to be the slowest part of the story. 

I also am not sure how at ep7 you can call it slow. 7 is after 4, which features the best character until REDACTED

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13 hours ago, Corvinus said:

If you're 7 eps in, not sure how you can still call it slow. The first few episodes, yeah, but like season 1, it picks up fairly quickly afterwards. Now if you're not interested in the protomolecule mystery, and are more interested in the "geo"political stuff, I can see how this season may be weaker for you. 

Think of some of the story threads as setting up things to come.

The two elements I like the most on the show are the protomolecule mystery and the geo political stuff. I think that is why I felt this season a bit frustrating so far.

The political stuff feel very much in the background and seems more centred around Aveserola ( who I have a real hard time watching due to her difficulty emoting sentences properly.. plus new actor for the husband?). The belter stuff is going somewhere good though.

The proto molecule story has been hampered for me because after the huge revelation of S3 the scale of events feels very small and unremarkable. The colonist plot feels kinda tired and the little side plots and characters don’t add much. I just feel like with better pacing we could have raced to the same point 2 episodes earlier without losing much.

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Yeah I thought the pacing was slow until everything went bananas at once.  Not sure if that was a choice or happenstance but the whole

Spoiler

Simultaneous enormous nuclear explosion shock wave, death slugs, laser moon, faction violence, blindness plague, and protomolecule builder exterminator relics do make for a bit of a climax.  Plus Draper's story made for a nice diversion and Avarasla and Arjun time to build future feels.

Tbh I m pretty sure I missed something there.  Besides the robot locusts.

Edited by mcbigski

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2 hours ago, karaddin said:

@mcbigski was

  Hide contents

Turning off fusion the one you forgot?

 

Yeah semi related to the shockwave but all the orbital issues too.

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So finished season 4. Some thoughts:
 

  • I agree that the last couple of episodes ramped up the pace compared to the rest of the season. I was still left with the same sense that this seasons was a difficult one for the writers as it was necessary to set up a lot of pieces again and start a new story cycle after season 3. Overall however I found the season much more of a struggle to get through than previous ones, though it reminded me of season 1 which I also felt was a tricky task for the writers and it didn't get going till the end. 
     
  • By the end of the season I got more of a sense of where all the story strands were going and why they were relevant. I often find shows like this with numerous threads running alongside each other pretty frustrating when one story is clearly more interesting than the others. It made it pretty hard to feel invested in the Mars plotline or the Belters troubles when they would get away from actually interesting developments on the colonies. I let out an audible groan each time Bobby appeared on screen. However by episode 10 I saw the value of that plot line, but the question should be asked if that was the best way to illustrate Mars' problems and the storylines that will lead out of them. I think it could have been done more efficiently, but I guess they wanted to keep Bobby around cos shes a cool character.
     
  • While the Ilus plot was the one I had the most interest in, much of it still felt pretty tired. The small colony, the 'corporates' trying to scrw over the colonists, the most obvious baddie actor being cast as Murtry. Even the panic with the eye infection and slugs didn't really up the ante especially. Expectations vs Reality are maybe an issue here as I was super hyped after S3's ending, but for a large stretch I wasn't blown away by anything on Ilus... maybe the ending few moments, but even then it didn't create a sense of awe like I felt before.
     
  • This season has made me think hard about why I wasn't so keen on it. I think that The Expanse in general has strengths and weaknesses, its a far from perfect show. For me it works best when it's dealing with big subjects: Interplanetary Politics, Life, Death, Aliens, The Universe. What it has never managed to do very well is tell smaller, human stories. Partly I think because it just doesn't do in-depth characters, the crew of the Roci feel like a pack of archetypes rather than people sometimes, and partly because it doesn't always have the best actors on the show. Either way, I very rarely have felt anything more than a shallow affection for most of the crew and much of their human storytelling has fallen into cliche and not been especially interesting. This season there was a lot of smaller, human stories, from the mother and daughter plot line, to Amos and Bobbys' lovelife. None of it really clicked. 
     
  • On a positive note, I am much more positive about the next season, the show has seemingly set up some more interesting foundations in terms of where it might go. Mars and the Belters could be very interesting, expanding out to far more colonies could lead somewhere I'd be really up for, and just finding out more about Protomolecule would be good for me.

    Also I did like Holden's final line to Miller... even if he didn't

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

So finished season 4. Some thoughts:

  • I agree that the last couple of episodes ramped up the pace compared to the rest of the season. I was still left with the same sense that this seasons was a difficult one for the writers as it was necessary to set up a lot of pieces again and start a new story cycle after season 3. Overall however I found the season much more of a struggle to get through than previous ones, though it reminded me of season 1 which I also felt was a tricky task for the writers and it didn't get going till the end.

It's funny because I agree with this assessment and yet not with your conclusion(s).

It's true that the writers obviously faced something of a challenge this season. They tried to do several things at once, trying to tell a grand story at very different levels: personal, local (Ilus & Mars), inter-planetary... The themes were extremely ambitious imho: telling the story of how humanity might react faced with completely new opportunities and threats. It included social, political, and spiritual themes, with a touch of horror for good measure.

However I come to the conclusion that it was an amazing success. Not just because the season ended up being entertaining and even gripping at times, but because it manages to tell many stories that are not actually seen on screen. Bobbie's story is not just Bobbie's, but is meant to show how Martian idealism is dying. Avasarala's story is not just the story of her political campaign, but also that of the choices that humanity is facing, as well as showing the entrapment of power. The Belters are not just faced with a radical terrorist, but with the contradictions of their budding "nationalism"... etc.
Even the Ilus plot, which I also found to rely on tired tropes initially, turned out to be significantly richer than I expected. Because, and I think this should be underlined, Murtry was essentially correct. In fact, the show had to work hard to make him a true villain rather than a wounded man suffering from PTSD after seeing his shuttle explode and his comrades killed. They avoided going into genuine moral ambiguity but to my eyes it was there nonetheless. Also, there's an untold story of why the Royal Charter Energy was granted a charter in the first place.

If you take a step back, I think the show did a commendable job of showing that few people are genuine villains because every single one of the antagonists proved to have their own good reasons for doing terrible things while the "heroes" were far from flawless. The stories we saw on screen were that of the characters we were supposed to root for, but you can see that different stories could easily have been told from other perspectives. Even the goody two-shoes of the Rocinante find their limits and are exposed as somewhat naive in their idealism ; but this season finally told me why exactly they are the heroes, why they of all people can actually have a positive impact on things. I'm finally starting to like Holden... :P
I think you may be correct that some things could have been done differently, but this is precisely why I loved the season: it allowed the viewer to think of the stories that could have been told, to see that the writers had to make tough choices. Some people preferred the Ilus plot while others preferred watching Avasarala lose her temper ; some preferred the personal plotlines and others interplanetary politics ; some people would have liked to see other character's perspectives. There was a bit of something for everyone and yet not quite enough to be fully content, leaving you truly eager to see the next season. That in itself is a tour-de-force that not many shows achieve.

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Posted (edited)

@Rippounet

OK I do agree on one level with what you are saying. I think the writers did have ambition in their themes and ideas. For me where it fell down was in the execution and the actual stories they told. 

This is one of the reasons I am still excited for the next season and not just dropping out of the show. 

However it's all very well to say that the show aimed to tell stories at different levels and try and tell a grand story alongside smaller more human stories, but from my perspective they didn't really succeed. 

Bobbie and Mars' story is the best example for me. On paper it has everything. I tells the ongoing story of Mars, how it is changing politically with the arrival of the rings, how it affects people living on Mars every day. It shows peoples patriotism for the planet, their relationship to Earth and the Belters, how they are struggling. It also ties in existing characters that we already know giving us some grounding. 
All this is great. Except it was deadly dull for almost its entire run, poorly written and seemed to hog time. I liked Bobbie in previous seasons, but she felt like a useful placeholder for the writers here. Every other character in the plot is paper thin and often not very believable. The plot with the kid who got in too deep with a gang is just tired, and the gang itself was the least intimidating gang on tv (most of them looked to be straight out of Dawsons Creek)

It's ok to be using these smaller stories to illustrate the bigger picture, but to do that well, the smaller stories have to be good. 
 

Edited by Heartofice

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

I liked Bobbie in previous seasons, but she felt like a useful placeholder for the writers here. Every other character in the plot is paper thin and often not very believable. The plot with the kid who got in too deep with a gang is just tired, and the gang itself was the least intimidating gang on tv (most of them looked to be straight out of Dawsons Creek).
It's ok to be using these smaller stories to illustrate the bigger picture, but to do that well, the smaller stories have to be good.

We don't need to agree. But I'll just point out that the gang was meant not to be intimidating. That's precisely why they recruited Bobbie in the first place.

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