Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas throughout the country presented members of their “Victory Club” with the opportunity to see the premiere of SyFy’s hit series, The Expanse: Season 2 on the big screen at 8 p.m./CST on Monday, January 30, 2017, followed by a short Q&A with the cast and crew live streamed from New York. Attendance was free, but to reserve a spot I had to purchase a $5 food/drink voucher that was good for anything on my local Drafthouse’s menu during the showing. The first theater filled within a few hours of the first announcement, so a second one was opened in Austin, which allowed me to snag a spot for myself and a friend.
The Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline hosted the event in Austin, TX< and the two theaters for the event bustled with chatter and excitement as fans filed in and located their seats. The crowd skewed a little older than I had anticipated, but I hope it means that the series has successfully met the needs of SF fans missing the shows from the 1990s and 2000s. Each seat had a chocolate bar with promotional artwork for The Expanse on the wrapper, which was a nice and unexpected touch.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Episodes 1 and 2 ran as a continuous 90-minute viewing experience, and it was impossible to tell where the break was intended to fall. The story picks up with Miller and the crew of the Rocinante struggling with their physical and emotional scars from the events on Eros and questioning how they should reveal the truth. At the same time, Earth and Mars are spiraling towards a war for dominance, and the usual suspects wheel and deal behind the scenes to influence events in their favor. Martian marine Bobbie Draper is a notable addition to the cast as a strong, capable leader whose passion for the transformation of Mars battles with her desire to make Earth pay for previous wrongs. A large part of The Expanse’s strength is how the series reveals its plot over the course of several episodes, so I won’t give any further specifics on the events. Just keep in mind that everyone is the complicated soul they were in Season 1…even if Miller’s obsession with Julie Mao seems even creepier after Eros.
Steven Strait (Jim Holden), Cas Anvar (Alex Kamal), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Nagata), Wes Chatham (Amos Burton), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), newcomer Frankie Adams (Bobbie Draper), and two writers filled out the 30-minute Q&A session, and their love for the project and each other flowed through every interaction. Whether answering questions about the team’s adoration of coffee (Strait doesn’t function before his first cup of coffee while Tipper is sensitive to caffeine and generally avoids it; on set if you bribe the boom operators, you’ll get coffee far better than the stuff provided by craft services.) or which character trait they’d like to share with their fictional self (Chatham’s desire to worry less about being liked by others got teasingly twisted into not wanting to be likable.), everyone clearly enjoyed him or herself and talking about the show. The biggest surprise to me is that none of the actors allowed themselves to read ahead in the books, because they enjoy not knowing the coming plot as much as viewers!
The Expanse: Season 2‘s TV premiere will be Wednesday, February 1, 2017, at 10/9c on SyFy.