“The Expanse”: Why It’s Not “Game of Thrones”

Jonathan Logan



The joy of finding a hidden gem sci-fi show is exhilarating. “The Expanse” was a quiet show for its first two seasons when it aired on SyFy beginning in 2015, but it developed a really loud and loyal fanbase by the time it was halfway through the second season in 2017. This past winter saw the fifth season released on Amazon Prime Video where it, oddly enough, alienated some fans who believed the writers dwelled on petty belter squabbles or gave too much attention to a main character’s backstory when we thought we already had one.

At the same time season five was released, Amazon announced that season six was entering into production, but it would be the last season of the beloved show. Now, fans are frantically wondering whether or not this is a “Game of Thrones” (GoT) repeat, since the sixth season is reported to only be six episodes long. However, this seems unlikely since the authors of the books, which the show is based on, are also the writers and directors of the television series. “The Expanse” will not be “GoT” and the fans need to preview the final season with more optimism.

To set the scene, “The Expanse” is a mind-bendingly beautiful and sprawling story about humanity colonizing the solar system. Earth and Mars are constantly vying for control over precious resources located in the asteroid belt and outer solar system. However, the belters occupy this deep space beyond the inner planets and they are pissed, but rightfully so. Earth and Mars dehumanize the belters, viewing them as a disposable labor force that helps them to maintain the inner planets’ prosperity. By the end of season five, a maverick belter named Marco Inaros unites a small band of belter factions and launches a series of asteroids at Earth – some of which make landfall and kill millions.

The television series is based on the book series by the same name written by James S.A. Corey, which is a pen name for the real authors – Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Abraham and Franck also write and direct the show. This is not the case with “GoT,” where the directors and writers had nothing to do with the book series titled “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Additionally, “GoT” ran out of book material, but “The Expanse” still has three books worth to work with.With the writers of those books at the helm of the show, fans have nothing to worry about.

The key remaining hope for season six is that Abraham and Franck will not try to cram the remaining three books into this final season. A best course of action would be to focus solely on the sixth book, since that is where season five left off and each season thus far has either broken a book into two parts or taken things one book at a time.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dominique Tipper, who plays Naomi Nagata in the show, hinted at the possibility of more seasons beyond Amazon’s final sixth season. The sixth book also gives a natural point of closure for the story thus far, since there is a 30-year time jump between the sixth and the seventh book. This might provide some problems for the current cast, but it could also be a fresh start away from Amazon.

Regardless of how you look at it, season six of “The Expanse” will not tank like “Game of Thrones” did, because there are multiple fundamental differences between the books they are based on and the directors and writers of each. The show is in good hands, and fans run the risk of creating too much hype or too many expectations if they continue to preview the final season with a “GoT” lens.