It's so very rare these days to come across an entertainment for which you have no ready expectation, a true-blue pleasant surprise. But I have had that experience in the SyFy Network's new series The Expanse.
I was unfamiliar with the novels this series is based on, so I have no frame of reference there. I missed out on most of the cross-promotion for the series and knew so little that I just took a gamble on the debut episode when I read a description which included the detail it had a detective story in its mix. I'm glad I punched into my DVR, because this rock solid bit of actual science fiction adventure has become the most anticipated show of my week since its debut.
After some startling tragedies, our stalwart crew finds itself having to work together aboard another ship they dub the Rocinante, despite inherit reasons among them to distrust one another, to survive and to examine the mysteries which have disrupted their lives. I'm loathe to say too much, so as to not spoil the really dandy surprises in this story, but suffice it to say it's got some outstanding twists and turns and abrupt stops even along the way.
A parallel story develops on the dwarf planet Ceres where Miller, a policeman (played delightfully by Thomas Jane) investigates the disappearance of a beautiful rich girl who seems to be tied into all the intrigue which has touched the crew of the Canterbury as well as the rest of the solar system. Miller is a classic, a tough-minded disaffected cop who has little expectation from people aside from disappointment, and who grudgingly discovers that his life has not been all he'd imagined. As the mystery unfolds his colleagues and himself have to decide where they fit into the violent new worlds which are coming. At the same time on Earth a United Nations representative, a practitioner of realpolitik tries to find out the secrets which threaten to cast the whole solar system into a brutal and deadly war.
Three narratives, plus other odd bits of backstory, allow this yarn to unfold with a richness which the setting demands. We have space (literally) here for a large saga but always, as great stories must, it is rooted in characters recognizable who gain our empathy and sympathy while offering some clever surprises nonetheless.
There's little in fiction which is more exciting than getting started on a story which is lively and which promises some great things to come. This is a series which has yet to disappoint and which I'm eager to watch each and every week. The first season has just wrapped and it answered many questions and created more mysteries. Perfect.