NPR

Sci-Fi Show 'The Expanse' Preps Us For The Future

What is most remarkable about The Expanse, even into Season 2, is its realism; more than any other TV space-themed show, it gets the science right, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.
A scene from The Expanse, which takes place 200 years in the future when humanity has settled Mars, the asteroid belt and the moons of the giant planets. Source: NBCUniversal

The great jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis once told an interviewer: "There's only freedom in structure, my man. There's no freedom in freedom."

He meant that when an artist chooses to work within the structure of something like a sonata or a three-act play, their creativity can actually be heightened. Constraints, ironically, can lead to freedom. And what's true of music and theater is equally true of fiction, as we are seeing in the second season of SyFy's epic series The Expanse.

Last year, I wrote two pieces on Season 1 of the Expanse. The first came before the show aired and was my plea to show runners not to screw-up my favorite science-fiction book series. The second came after the season was well underway, and I happily reported the show was nothing short of the best science-fiction show in a decade.

I am, once again, happy to say the new season is just as good — and getting better.

While there are moments of uneven pacing, overall The Expanse continues to build a story as wide as the

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