One could easily play the spot-the-influence game while watching The Expanse, that’s true, and I’m afraid in season 1 that might’ve not worked entirely to its benefit, either
The belters’ strife stops being depicted first-hand after the first season, essentially, and by season two the showrunners transition towards focusing on the main characters, while the universe progressively shifts to the background, where it assumes an abstract quality.
For instance, up to where I watched, Earth is never truly seen: it’s just the UN, some not very convincing-looking locations during Bobbie Draper’s escape, Avasarala visiting the free trade zone, and a few photoshopped long shots. Mars is seen even less.
I don’t remember watching anything else with Strait in it, in the Expanse I’d argue he must wear like 3 different faces tops, the sad/pained face I’ve seen aptly defined “as if his dog had just died all the time” (can’t unsee).
My assumption was that Strait had been picked for his thin, muscular build (looks pretty good naked, useful in many sequences among which the very first episode), and his being handsome enough for the camera, without overdoing it, which is good, and fitting, for that role.
I would’ve never suspected that he had hidden acting skills.
Amos Burton is basically the only character I like: I hope they don’t ruin him with too many explanations later, as a sizable part of his likeability rides on his mysterious past (“I haven’t felt fear since I was 5 years old!”, “Back when I lived in Baltimore…”); and I can see the die-hard fans demand to be told everything (that’s what they do), and suspect the minute they lift the wraps, the spell will break.
Casting IMO is kind of a mixed bag. There are capable actors, and some choices are good, but on the whole it really never hits it out of the park. It’s likely the quality of the dialog and overall character building isn’t making any of these people any favor though.
Take Drummer; she’s probably my second favorite character, however, and despite the actress’ sharp features, highlighted by the goth make-up and that hair styling, lending her an edge - Cara Gee is good, but looks actually a bit petite and precious; I would have thought someone with a more rugged presence be better, for what is essentially supposed to be a tough, hardened woman, whose intelligence and persistence have put in a position of power, where she is constantly under pressure from men.
Bobbie Draper, however, might take the prize for most miscast role? From a highly trained, always combat-ready, one-woman army, you’d expect someone who actually had the right physique for the role, not Frankie Adams. I wouldn’t mind her skinny-fat (in the technical sense, not meant as an insult), thicc build in a different character, however it does break disbelief every single time for Bobbie Draper.
Adams’ accent is also completely inconspicuous and out of character for the whole of season 2, though if I’m not mistaken they reined that in by the third.