New genre tv series so far

It’s winter, the slow season at work, so I have more time on my breaks to catch up on some television. Here’s what I think so far.

The Expanse

I’m up through episode five. It’s … fine? I suppose?

+ racially diverse cast
+ plenty of lead roles for a variety of sorts of women
+ nice, chewy worldbuilding
+ tons of show, don’t tell. Excellent use of the visual nature of television to convey story.

– I don’t care

I don’t know WHY I don’t care. I recognize that the characters are interesting, I just don’t care about any of them. I was trying to figure out who I would feel bad about, were they to be shoved out an airlock, and I came up with nothing. I also do not care who is attacking whom and why.

Let me note at this point, that I also tried reading the book and stopped after ten pages. Could not find any caring in me for this story.

HOWEVER. For other people, people who are not me, I would recommend you try the series if you like chewy, dense worldbuilding with a couple mysteries embedded in it.

Oh, though, about 134234% of the screen time is devoted to people suffocating for various reasons, because space, so, that’s a thing.

The Magicians

Now, I ranted about these books a while back. And I urge fans of the books and people who did not like the first book to give the show a try.

See, my main problem with the first book was that the narrator, Quentin, was a vastly self-absorbed wallow of depression and apathy. Which made him a REALLY TEDIOUS narrator. I mean, people I know who are depressed all seem to AGREE that listening to the insides of their heads is exhausting and boring. Why do we want to spend an entire novel listening to Quentin? Especially when there are REALLY interesting things happening all around him that he won’t explore?

Reading Quentin as a narrator is like playing an adventure game set in a rainbow magical world, but the camera is locked on some mold growing under your bed. For fuck’s sake, Narrator, TURN YOUR HEAD.

However. However!

In the later books we find out that all sorts of interesting things were happening during the time of the first book. We learn as Quentin is told about these things by the people who did them. The GENIUS choice the tv series makes is to SHOW US ALL THOSE THINGS as they are unfolding. We get multiple points of view. We get multiple plot threads. It’s wonderful.

If the idea of “a Hogwarts story for grownups” or “a more realistic look at what happens after Narnia” appeals to you, but you just could not stand reading the trilogy, try the tv series. It’s much more balanced.

The 100 Season 3


Season one was a bit uneven. I highly recommend picking this show up with season two, and going from there. The 100 is a genuinely thoughtful character-driven drama (possibly a melodrama, it is a CW show, after all) about the variety of extremely difficult decisions people can choose to make when survival is paramount.

What I love about this show — after the diversity of actors, the range of roles for women, the effortless queer representation — is that everyone is a little bit right and a little bit wrong. No choice is clean. No character is free from guilt and anger and responsibility. They are all doing the best they can with the limited information and resources available to them at the time.

This show, it doesn’t even have any real villains. Just people drawing the lines in different places, for reasons we can’t swear we wouldn’t choose in their position.

I love this show.


One Response

  1. I’m having exactly the same response to The Expanse. Ooh, yay, solar system Belter/Mars/Earth faction stories, with lots of cool world building and little details in the effects – accents and gravity issues and floating sparrows and politics and points of view shaped by where people have grown up, it’s so cool that TV is doing this. Just a pity I don’t care about any of the characters. As proof, I don’t know any of their names. It hasn’t occurred to me to go look for them on tumblr. This is not a show I’m getting fannish about. Though I’ll probably keep watching for the world building, it’s just missing the something that would have me dancing about it.

    Yes, yay The 100, which does repercussions. I’m so on board for this despite it’s many science fails. Bring on the high stakes melodrama!

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