Series Review: The Expanse – Season 2 (2017)

As some of you might remember, I reviewed the first season of this show a couple of weeks back. You might then also remember that I kind of loved it. So, now that season 2 is watched, the question is: Is it any good? Let’s find out. Oh and by the way, there will be some spoilers for season 1 here. So if you haven’t seen that first season, maybe go catch up and come back. Or you just don’t care. Anyhow, let’s get on with the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Expanse” season 2!

After they discovered the Protomolecule and succesfully escaped from Eros, the crew of the Rocinante (Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham) and detective Miller (Thomas Jane) are once again out in space. So now they have to find out who/what’s behind this infection and also if there’s a way to fully stop it. We also once again follow Chrisjen (Shohreh Agdashloo) as she navigates the tough world of politics, trying to keep the tense relationship between Earth and Mars from brewing into a full blown war. I’m not gonna dilly-dally too much… fuck me, the plot here is fantastic! The conspiracy/mystery behind the Protomolecule that Holden and gang have to solve is extremely fascinating and helps give a bit more depth to the universe. And the political side of the plot is extremely interesting, adding a surprising amount of tension to everything that happens throughout the 13 episodes. That’s right, this season is 13 episode long instead of 10. Increasing the amount of episodes like that can sometimes go poorly, but here they handle it spectacularly. It is overall a bigger season in every sense of the word, and while “bigger doesn’t mean better” can apply to a lot of situations, this isn’t one of them… the expansion of “The Expanse” (HA!) is very well handled.  The plot here is dramatic, exciting, suspenseful, intense, and just overall fantastic!

The characters in season 1 were already quite interesting, and here in season 2 they get even more development, and not just singularly, but the relationships are developed a bit more too. Steven Strait once again played Jim Holden and while he at times can seem a little dumb in his decisions, he’s still an incredibly interesting character. And Strait is great in the role. Dominique Tipper returned as Naomi Nagata, a very clever woman who can let her emotions get the best of her at times. And Tipper is great in the role. Cas Anvar returned as Alex Kamal (my favorite character in season 1), the Martian-born pilot of the Rocinante. Like in season 1, he is quite a funny character, but he’s also given a lot of good dramatic moments that really helps make the character even more compelling, and Anvar is great in the role. Wes Chatham returned as Amos Burton, the Roci’s resident knucklehead. But he’s not just a big, dumb piece of bicep, he is also a character that clearly cares about his friends. And after he experiences something in the season (no spoilers), he gets some dramatic weight to him. And Chatham is great in the role. Shohreh  Aghdashloo returned as Chrisjen Avasarala, the extremely interesting UN politician. She knows how to cleverly mainpulate people to get her will across, without seeming like a villain. And Aghdashloo is fantastic in the role. Thomas Jane returned as detective Miller, the stubborn man out to do his job. I don’t wanna say more about him because there’s some spoiler-y stuff. So I’ll just leave that by saying that Jane is really good in the role. Now let’s talk about the newcomer of the season. This season introduced us to Roberta “Bobbie” Draper, a Martian soldier who goes through some shit. She’s played by Frankie Adams and she’s great in the role. We also get some killer supoorting performances throughout from people like Jared Harris, Chad L. Coleman, François Chau, Hugh Dillon, Shawn Doyle, and various other actors.

The score, like in season 1, was composed by Clinton Shorter and it’s just as great as season 1. Dramatic, tense, epic, cool, and it just overall fits the show perfectly. Really, there’s not much else I can say here.

Like I said in my review of season 1, this show was created by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. Season 1 was very well directed, making use of the claustrophobic ships, the futuristic/shit towns, and the big, open space to create a tense atmosphere. And they nailed it once again, making perfect use of their sets/environments. And the shots look great, with some interesting cinematography. And yes, there are some shootouts here and they are very well handled. I also have to mention, in season 1 the effects were great… but here they really upped their game. They seem to have given the CGI some extra polish/work because holy shit, it looks even better than in season 1 (somehow). They even have space battles which are handled in a very realistic but still exciting way. This show really is pure eye candy.

This show/season has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

“The Expanse” season 2 manages to be both bigger and better than the (excellent) first season. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, fantastic directing, and fantastic visual effects. Time for my final score. *Space*. My final score for “The Expanse” season 2 is a 9,97/10. This of course means that it gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Expanse” season 2 is now completed.

I’m still stunned that a show this good can come from the same channel as “Sharknado” and “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus”. 

Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

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With the amount of sci-fi movies being released every year, there aren’t always that many that stay more grounded and realistic. Sure, sci-fi/action movies are great, but sometimes you need something more realistic to balance everything out. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, this man is… “The Martian”.

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is an astronaut/botanist. And as we meet him, he wakes up on Mars after his team left him during a storm. So now he have to try to survive all alone, using only his wits and his smarts and a very limited supply of resources. All this while the people over at NASA try to find a way to get him back. And based on the plot there is only one conclusion that we all can draw; this is “Apollo 13” meets “Cast Away”. And I’m not the only one who have said this, a lot of people have come to the same conclusion. Now here is the important question: Is the plot of “The Martian” any good? Yeah… it is. First off, you care for this guy so much and you really want him to make it back home. Secondly, it is just intriguing to see what he will do next to try to survive on this big-ass desert. And the side-plot on planet earth with NASA trying to get him back is really good as well, surprisingly so. All of it was in fact really good.

The character of Mark Watney is one of the most likable bastards I have ever gotten to know in a movie. Most people in this type of situation would be sad, down and all like “I’m gonna die!”. So instead of Watney being like that, he is one of the most optimistic people ever. And Matt Damon gives a fantastic performance as this man stuck on Mars. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the man who’s pretty much in charge on earth with the hole “Get him back” plot, and he is pretty damn great in the role. And the people who were part of Watney’s team who we get to know are all great too. Also, Jeff Daniels, how great it is to see you in a great role! Then we have a bunch of other actors as well and they are all great in their respective roles.

The original score of “The Martian” was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams who I personally am a big fan of. And once again he delivered a great original score. A lot of it is typical sci-fi stuff, but it’s at the same time big, emotional and surprisingly thought-provoking. And all those tracks were used very well. There were also a good amount of licensed tracks in the movie and they all fit well into the spots where they were used. I was especially happy when they used “Starman” by David Bowie because not only do I think it’s a great song, but it also worked for the tone of this movie.

This movie was directed by Ridley Scott and that was one of the things I really had high hopes for going into this movie. Because even if the movies he makes aren’t that great, they are all very well directed. And “The Martian” is not exception, it is a terrifically directed movie with some beautiful and steady shots. And the visual effects are all fantastic, all of them looking very real. What I was surprised by however was that this movie was pretty hilarious with a lot of great jokes in there. Now don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t all shits and giggles, because there this is generally speaking a very serious movie. For example: early on in the movie we get to see Matt Damon pulling some shrapnel out of himself without any anesthesia and also fix the wound… that is pure suspense and drama and it’s one of the reasons why this movie is as good as it is.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #169 on the “Top 250” list.

“The Martian” is a sci-fi movie with a great plot, great hcaracters & acting, a fantastic soundtrack, great directing, great suspense and some surprisingly good comedy. Time for my final score. SPAAAAACE! My final score for “The Martian” is a 9,84/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Martian” is now completed.

I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this