Chris­jen Avasar­ala

The Ex­panse’s hard- as- nails UN badass

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Viewscreen - Jayne Nelson

UK Broad­cast TBC

US Broad­cast Syfy, fin­ished

The Ex­panse is one of the best shows to come out of the US for a long, long time, and, while it doesn’t have a UK air­date as we write this, we’re al­ready wav­ing the pom- poms and cheer­lead­ing its ar­rival. There are many rea­sons for our ex­cite­ment: from its Bat­tlestar Galac­tica-meet­sBlade Run­ner vibe ( aka space­ships and weary gumshoes) to its ten­sion­filled ac­tion and fab­u­lous cin­e­matog­ra­phy, The Ex­panse is su­perb.

While there are plenty of bril­liant char­ac­ters to high­light here, we’ve gone for Shohreh Agh­dashloo’s enig­matic UN deputy un­der­sec­re­tary, Chris­jen Avasar­ala. She’s with­out a doubt the most colour­ful char­ac­ter in an oth­er­wise rather bleak- look­ing show, laden with bright silks, neck­laces and earrings so heavy poor Agh­dashloo’s lobes are prac­ti­cally touch­ing her shoul­ders. But don’t let her glam­our fool you into think­ing she’s style over sub­stance: right from the off, you’re never quite sure what Avasar­ala’s up to. One mo­ment she’s play­ing with a grand­child and the next she’s dou­ble- cross­ing a life­long pal; she’ll lie on her roof star­ing up at the stars ad­mir­ing their beauty, and then she’ll tor­ture a ter­ror­ist with­out a thought for moral­ity. “Com­plex” sums her up rather nicely, and a com­plex char­ac­ter is a be­liev­able one.

But there’s an­other rea­son Avasar­ala’s so watch­able, and that’s be­cause the woman play­ing her is so bril­liant. Agh­dashloo could re­cite a phone book in her grav­elly voice and make your hair stand on end; she’s that good. She brings an earthly ( pun fully in­tended) gravitas to one of the most pow­er­ful women in The Ex­panse’s so­lar sys­tem. Don’t miss her, and don’t miss this show.

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