'The Expanse' Season 4 - TV Review

The first three seasons of "The Expanse" were made by SyFy, which then cancelled the show. Happily, Amazon Prime Video picked it up for this, the fourth season. This season consists of ten episodes of about 50 minutes each.

Previous reviews: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3.

"The Rings" opened in the last season offer instantaneous travel to planets all over the galaxy. Belters rush through to start mining a planet they name Ilus. Avasarala (Shoreh Aghdashloo), the Secretary(?) of the UN, sets up a blockade to try to prevent further settlement until more investigation is done, and sends Holden (Steven Strait, whose acting skills haven't improved much) to mediate between the Belters and Earthers on Ilus.

As I've mentioned previously, what the series has been doing superbly is interplanetary politics. Where this season falls down is in the five or so middle episodes on Ilus, where Holden tries to settle the bickering while the whole planet is violently shaken by reawakening ancient technology. That whole sequence felt like frying pan -> fire -> new frying pan -> new fire ... rinse and repeat. It was a struggle to get through. It's not the only thing going on (politics on Earth, terrorists in the Belt, intrigue on Mars), and they got out of it in the last couple episodes, but that large middle block of annoying-adventure-story made this the worst of the seasons so far.

If there are more seasons, I'll continue to watch - but my brother felt the third season was a good stopping point and he may have been correct.

Update: I had a revelation a couple days after writing this review: this is the Western. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the authors of the original books that "The Expanse" is based on, are well known for writing the books in the series in various styles. The first, with Thomas Jane sleuthing after a doomed young woman, was done in the style of Noir Detective fiction. I haven't concerned myself with this propensity much while I was loving the series, but in trying to figure out what was wrong with this one ... frontier planet + frontier justice = Western.