The seemingly mysterious disappearance of a young woman from the elite of 200 years in the future sets up Syfy’s new space opera The Expanse, but there’s nothing here you haven’t seen in the past. Debuting on December 14-15, the 10-episode series deals with topics of class, the bottom line, legacy, terror, war and power with all the benefits that setting your story in the future and science fiction can offer. Unfortunately, as my video review above says (and those of you who’ve seen the first episode online may have gleaned), this latest ambitious effort by the NBCUniversal-owned channel doesn’t do much of anything new with those issues.

Deadline Review Badge Dominic PattenBased on the books by James S.A. Corey, the premise of The Expanse is that it is around 2200 A.D., and humankind has colonized the solar system, with Earth and Mars as competing and not particularly conflict-adverse superpowers. Add to that combustible mix an exploited workforce living in the dank asteroid belt, the disruptive Outer Planets Alliance, and the lucrative mineral strip mining industry that fuels the whole thing, and you have the basic backdrop. And, as there so often is in these things, there’s more going on than first appears — interplanetary moves within moves and a grand conspiracy that could shake up everything.

You have the often-dependable Hung alum Thomas Jane as a lower-class asteroid-belt-born and somewhat disgraced detective sent on the fool’s errand of finding the missing heiress and discovers more. There’s also Magic City’s Steve Strait as a space freighter captain and the almost always terrific Jared Harris as a criminal overlord of the asteroid colony. But still, The Expanse feels like a rote exercise. Not bad, but bland, which, as I’ve said before, may be even worse in today’s plethora of riches TV landscape.

Take a look at my video review and tell us what you think of this look at tomorrow.