The science fiction action/drama series “The Expanse” is back and this time on a new platform, with the 10 episodes of the program’s fourth season being released on Dec. 13 through Amazon Prime.

The show follows a cast of diverse characters around a colonized solar system several hundred years in the future. The system is divided among several competing factions, a unified Earth under the United Nations, a militarized Martian state and the competing factions of the impoverished asteroid belt.

The central characters, under Captain James Holden (played by Steven Strait), are thrust into the middle of a crisis that could bring the system to full-out war, as well as a mystery that threatens all of humanity. Elsewhere in the system, a belt-born detective searches for a missing-person, and a U.N. official desperately tries to unravel a political conspiracy.

The TV program was canceled by SyFy network in 2018 following its third season, causing an outpouring of support from fans. The “Save the Expanse” fan campaign created a petition that received nearly 140,000 signatures on and raised money to have an airplane fly a “#SAVE THE EXPANSE” banner over Amazon Studios.

Not long after, Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO and a private space entrepreneur, personally announced that Amazon Studios would pick up the show for a fourth season. Amazon also eventually announced a fifth season renewal in July, ahead of the release of this month’s new episodes.

“The Expanse” offers an incredible blend of action, intrigue, and drama that has earned significant praise. The show is based upon a book series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank under the pen name James S. A. Corey, and has been compared to “A Song of Ice and Fire” from NPR Books. George R. R. Martin has called the first book “Interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written.” The series contains eight books, with a ninth expected to be released in 2020.

I would recommend the TV series to a follower of hard science fiction who hasn’t already given it a look. The story is compelling and follows a great cast of characters through a gritty and incredibly detailed future.

For fans of sci-fi in book form, the book series is also extremely entertaining and well-written. I would not recommend either, however, for children, as they are best suited for enjoyment by mature audiences only.

Justin Klingele is a senior at Riverside Christian School.