Home » Active Playlists » Music to Escape Reality » The Escapist’s Handbook, Vol. I – The Expanse 📽
Let's cut straight to the point right from the get-go: The Expanse is bloody brilliant.
It's hard to ring a chord that resonates in the heavily saturated sci fi game, even more so when you're trying to tell a story that, in such an otherworldly setting, has so much humanity at its heart. There's a lot of moving parts to get working. The premise may be essentially 'what would happen if Star Wars had been a Cold War', but there's ample space within those confines to go wild exploring the possibilities. That's what kept me hooked, the true expansiveness (haha, because it's called The Expanse) of the plot, the willingness to explore a range of ideas and locations. And always, always raising those stakes.
The real strength of this show is the way the writing has been handled (except around the end season II/start of season III, not sure what happened there but some of the writing got a bit janky for my liking). Despite intertwining and often ostensibly directionless plot lines, the story is threaded together so expertly that you soon come to trust the show when new characters and elements are introduced seemingly at random; in fact, some of these wild cards often deliver the biggest payoffs. Characters that begin life as fairly generic archetypes (the unquestionable hero, the misunderstood brawler, the wise-cracker, the who-run-the-world-girls-do heroine) quickly evolve into distinctly memorable personas... which makes the show's decision not to fuck around in establishing that no plot armour is thick enough to protect you from a high-impact hull breach, that much more intense as the story twists and unfolds. The character of Amos is a brilliant example of someone who initially seems pretty boring and one-dimensional, but soon develops to reveal a huge amount of depth and ogre-level layering. You'll hate him at the start, but believe me when I say you'll grow to root for the loveable brute.
Even when the early episodes were taking hits in the writing department, the show has been praised for its visuals from the beginning. And rightly so. The stations and ships are incredibly well rendered, painting a believable picture of how humanity might look in a couple of hundred years, which makes it even more special when the show kicks into its fantasy elements to give us some of the most visually breathtaking scenes in small screen history. I won't tell you any more because this is a spoiler-free review, but take it from somebody who spends a huge amount of time picking apart and reverse-engineering VFX techniques that the visuals in this show are really, wait for it... out of this world. I'm so sorry.
The digital sky above the main street on Ceres Station makes for a beautiful if not longing image of home-away-from-home, and will be the secret tie-in for volume II of the Escapist's Handbook. Oh yes, there will be more of this rambling to come, don't you worry adventurer.
If you love a good adventure, and you're big into your high-concept sci fi rigamarole, then definitely kick The Expanse into high-G and experience if for yourself. The first three seasons are available now with season IV making it's appearance at the end of the year, but I can safely say that once you're in, you'll be finished long before then — in what must be a world record for me, I've managed to plough through all 36 episodes in just over a week (mostly attributable to a brutal 5 day render on my latest music video leaving me with very little else to do because, as we all know, outside bad, inside good), which is saying something given that I watched as many Game of Thrones episodes in about 3 months.
I leave you with Detective Miller and his no-mark partner staring out over the lush green landings of Ceres Station's tropical slice of Eden, and of course, a sufficiently sci fi-infused track to accompany your read — Yotto's otherworldly outing 'Nova'.
I am so damn good to you people.
PS. both photo links are legitimate salvage.
Receive notifications when Matt publishes something new
If you find my work valuable, or you just really like my taste in music, then you can pay what you feel to support me on this journey. That's really all there is to it! Your support means I can focus more energy in this space, and continue the psychodynamic odyssey. All support is appreciated equally & emphatically
Hi my name is Matt, but my friends call me Matt. I’m on the wrong side of 29 (damn I hate it every time I have to update that number), definitely feeling my age, but never felt happier and more content than I do at this point in my life. I’ve been through some rocky patches (who hasn’t) and lived to tell the tale, and boy do I gots some stories.
When I’m not giving opinions absolutely nobody asked for, I’m doing a worldbuilding with my passion project, vivaellipsis. If you like offbeat nonsense delivered through immersive escapism, then go and get involved. Or don’t, I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not yer boss.
I’m a simple man with simple interests. I like Yorkshire tea, the sound of rain on the window, and a bloody good story.
9 August 2021
What today’s insight has granted me is the knowledge that if you don’t check in on yourself, you’ll lose touch with yourself. You’ll become unfamiliar with each other, and it feels very strange. I honestly think this is what it means to feel out of sorts.
27 May 2021
The cinematic score to your psychological journey with Matt Jenko. Featuring artists like: Bonobo • Yotto • Emancipator • CamelPhat • ODESZA • Carpenter Brut • Tinlicker • Four Tet • Jacques Greene • Tchami • RÜFÜS DU SOL
28 April 2021