In addition to angels declaring war on mankind in Dominion and college-age wizards in The Magicians, Syfy’s slate of new shows also includes The Expanse, based on the space opera series written by James S.A. Corey. Billed as “Game of Thrones in space,” the series (which has been picked up in a 10-episode deal) promises to be one of Syfy’s more ambitious endeavors.
Aside from the plot of the books that was all we knew, until today’s update from Daniel Abraham (one half of the James S. A. Corey writing duo with Ty Franck) on the challenges of making a mainstream genre show and who The Punisher star Thomas Jane will play on The Expanse.
Like Game of Thrones, The Expanse is based on a book series that has a good long lifespan ahead of it. Here’s what the show will focus on:
A thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.
Abraham posted an update to his and Franck’s blog today, sharing various cast and crew updates for The Expanse. The most exciting is the casting of Thomas Jane as Detective Miller—“who, if you don’t know him, was designed in a government lab for the role,” Abraham writes. “Seriously.” It’s Jane’s experience headlining both films like The Mist and Golden Globe-nominated TV series like Hung that made him the best choice to lead this show.
That same straddling of genres is represented in the series’ director Terry McDonough, who directed the Breaking Bad episode “Better Call Saul” and the Doctor Who biopic An Adventure in Space and Time.
The production designer? Seth Reed, whose work on Cosmos just garnered him an Emmy nomination. Sounds like a pretty solid team.
We especially appreciate Abraham’s insights into how tricky it is to get a show like this made:
The adjective people keep using to describe this project is “ambitious.” We’re trying to write something that’s genre but doesn’t rely on a knowledge of genre. We’re trying to film something that’s dark and dramatic and also funny and humane. Something that actually moves the line forward on science fiction television.
You do something like that, you really really hope it’ll go well.
It’s going well.