Yes, there is life in outer space — there’s even the capacity to be prejudiced about the other life around you.
That was the lesson to be gleaned from the Television Critics Association press tour panel for Syfy’s upcoming drama “The Expanse,” an adaptation of the book series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who write under the collective pen name James S. A. Corey.
The series takes place in a future where Earthlings have colonized out to the asteroid belt, where they’ve evolved into distinct societies with their own specific strengths — and specific biases, the cast and crew said in Pasadena on Thursday.
“What used to be racism on old-time Earth has become planetism in our world,” offered Cas Anvar, who plays pilot Alex Kamal on the series.
“One of the themes that we have at the heart of the show is this sense that the same quality that enables human beings to conquer space, to do great, great things — just that word, conquer — those are the same qualities that cause us to fight and cause us to wage war,” added co-showrunner Mark Fergus.
Fergus added that the show will chronicle a period when the colonists are in a state of transition between the old ways of earth and stabilizing the new world that they’ve created for themselves in outer space. The colonists, he said, are in the process of “getting rid of old forms of racism and creating new forms of racism … the real struggle of space is the period before we sorted it out, that’s where we’re living in this show.”
Another type of future was also discussed during the panel: The future of television. “The Expanse” finds Thomas Jane returning to the small screen after his run on HBO’s “Hung.” Jane reflected on his return on television during the gathering.
“I go where I find material that turns me on, and it doesn’t really matter, especially now, where that material comes from,” Jane offered. “Hopefully we’re looking at a future, maybe even now, where there are no inherent differences between the style of a show [and feature films].”
But even while envisioning a world of stylistic equality between the big screen and the small screen, Jane acknowledged that there is at least one advantage to TV work.
“As an actor you have a much broader opportunity to really dig in and flesh out a character, providing there’s great writing, which this show does.” Jane said. “And that’s why I’m here, because great writing turns me on.”