Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Space Shows!

I've been fighting with a particular part of the current book for a while. I got enough done for a proposal and haven't felt too urgent about it since I'm waiting for feedback on it. The next scene I wrote sent things into a different direction and I had to rework my ideas around it. And then last night I came up with something new and fun that turns things into yet another direction. I'm actually excited to get to work today.

In other news, once the wave of holiday movies ended, I got caught up on non-holiday stuff on TV, which meant binge-watching the first five episodes of The Expanse so that I'm caught up for tonight's new one (I watched the first three OnDemand, but for some weird reason 4 isn't up there and was skipped when they posted 5, so I didn't get 4 until they did a marathon and I DVRd it). This is a new SyFy show that's sort of space opera meets film noir detective story. There are two parallel plot lines that seem to be converging and that turn out to be about more or less the same basic issue. In the space opera side of things, there's the crew of a ship that answers a distress call and finds something very unexpected that pretty much turns their lives upside down, so that they lurch from dangerous situation and crisis to dangerous situation and crisis. In the film noir side of things, we're on a base in the asteroid belt, where the workers who provide resources to the planets aren't too happy about not getting a share of the resources, and on these mean streets/station corridors, a jaded cop in a fedora makes a halfhearted effort to keep the peace -- until he gets an off-the-books assignment to track down a missing heiress.

I'll admit that I'm not overly keen on the very dystopian look at the future, with all the "rich people are evil and oppress poor people" (as written, produced, and performed by people who probably make more per episode than much of their audience makes in a year) and "we're all going to die of global warming" messages that seem mandatory in any vision of the future produced by current Hollywood. But it's a science fiction show taking place primarily in space, on space ships and space stations, on the SyFy channel, which is kind of exciting. They went through a phase of veering more toward paranormal, which I like, but with two summer shows (Killjoys and Dark Matter) and now this show taking place in space, they seem to have returned to their roots.

I also haven't yet really latched on to any particular character. In the first few episodes they've done a good job with the "no one is safe" concept, so it's not entirely clear who the regular cast of characters is going to end up being. That makes for a lot of shocks and surprises, but it also means I started pulling back emotionally and not wanting to get attached to anyone. They're going for gritty, which means there's no one who's entirely a truly "good guy." That means I'm mostly watching for plot because I'm curious about how all these things are coming together and what it all means. I don't think I'm going to end up really obsessed with this show, but it's interesting, and they're doing some good stuff with worldbuilding (being based on a series of novels probably helps there). The acting is pretty good. I'm just not finding any real heart to it, even as I'm eager for the next episode to find out what happens. We'll see how long that curiosity about what's going on will sustain me in the absence of any characters I actually care about.

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