Leviathan Hit The Snooze
In an of itself, it did its job: I want to watch the next episode. If you like reasonably hard sci-fi and you're not familiar with the books, you should definitely check it out. Ignore the idiots saying it's "Game of Thrones... IN SPACE!". It's not. For one, it doesn't have nearly enough rape to qualify. For another, it features actual human characters and doesn't feel like an author working out his extensive issues (and his frankly disturbing obsession with rape).
For fans of the book, it should still be enjoyable, unless you're extremely hardline with your expectations on adaptations, in which case you've probably never seen an adaptation you've liked.
So, there's been some changes. Some minor, some a little bigger, and some that I probably would catch if it hadn't been roughly 3 years since I read Leviathan Wakes. The two things that stand out:
1) Belter physiology. Some characters have the tall, lanky body, but they don't seem to have the big heads, and Naomi doesn't have the Belter body. I chalk this up to expense and not wanting the female lead to be a freaky looking Belter.
2) Thomas Jane is great, but I always picture Miller as looking more like... well... Columbo. He's too handsome for the role. Again, though, I understand the change.
Otherwise, I don't really have many complaints. I like the casting for Holden. I really liked the high-G burn scene with them strapping into their chairs, the neck supports, and the mouth guards. That whole scene worked really well for me, especially the juxtaposition of the ponderous, almost graceful exterior shots of the Canterbury turning and burning with the people in the ship all but being crushed by the g-forces.
I'm especially glad that they focused so much time and FX budget on that scene, because it's something that's regularly highlighted in the books. The authors frequently mention the effects of g-forces on the crews. They also don't ignore things like ship weapon ammunition, food, air, and water. Hell, in the second book, Holden and his crew are essentially living hand-to-mouth to keep their ship sufficiently stocked with food, air, and water. Furthermore, there's a couple times where they hope arming and aiming their weapons will be enough to get people to back down because railgun ammo and missiles are expensive.
There's also a scene in the show where the UN is torturing a Belter (who has the aforementioned Belter body) for information. They do this by... forcing him to stand up. On Earth. He's essentially slouched against a wall with a support under each armpit. But since he's lived his whole life in microgravity, the crushing effect of even 1G is slow torture. While the books didn't linger on things like torture, it did pay close attention to biology as well as physics. It's a nice touch.
And speaking of Belters, they got the slang. There's no subtitles, but they got the Belter slang down nicely, and naturally with people easing in and out of it. It feels very organic, and I hope they stick with it. I also hope they include Belter hand gestures (they nod with their hands since it's hard to see a head nod in a space helmet). Of course, they seem to have forgotten about Alex's accent. Perhaps they decided an East Indian-looking guy from Mars who talked with a Texas accent might be a bit much for viewers. Hopefully it comes out as he gets more lines.
So, while "Dulcinea" may have just been the first episode, and thus doing triple duty as an episode, a sorta pilot, and a series hook, I hope this means that they're keeping the crunchy aspects of the books. With only 40 minutes of show to go on, and with the bulk of it being used to just introduce the characters and the rules of the setting, I have to say that SyFy did a very good job. There will always be things to complain about, but if Naomi not being seven feet tall is my biggest gripe, then I think I'm going to really enjoy this show.
And I can't wait until they get to the second book so we can see Bobbie kicking ass and taking names.