So … I guess SyFy hates money, and critical acclaim. To the surprise of, oh, I don’t know, everyone in the world, SyFy has chosen not to continue with The Expanse, the smash hit sci-fi epic, for a fourth season.
This is, honestly … baffling. Shows are cancelled all the time, but it’s usually very easy to make sense of why; a show isn’t very good, or isn’t well-promoted, and fails to draw the audiences required to justify a renewal.
None of that is true of The Expanse. The show is explosively popular, critically adored and, though this is more opinion than fact, might be the best Science Fiction show ever made. It’s not currently clear what has driven NBCUniversal, the owners of SyFy, to their decision, particularly when this is the statement they gave;
The Expanse transported us across the solar system for three brilliant seasons of television.Everyone at Syfy is a massive fan of the series, and this was an incredibly difficult decision. We want to sincerely thank The Expanse’s amazing cast, crew and all the dedicated creatives who helped bring James S.A. Corey’s story to life. And to the series’ loyal fans, we thank you most of all.” [Chris McCumber, President of Entertainment Networks for parent company NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment]
See? A lot of vagaries, and nothing that explains anything. One has to assume money is the issue, which really just twists the knife for me. I mean, it makes sense that the show is costly to produce, with the sprawling cast and the amazing special effects, which are not limited to the breathtaking Space Porn, but also include anti-gravity effects, ferocious space battles and motion capture to create the fearsome hybrids.
But … you have to spend money to make money and if the show was to go on, it would almost certainly recoup any investments. It can’t help that the series is one of the (now, very few) out there which doesn’t air outside the United States, a decision which in this day and age seems woefully shortsighted.
I am usually very sad when a show is cancelled, but this one has left me really angry, and I’ll remain so until we get clearer answers. Or someone else steps in to do the right thing. See, there is a glimmer of hope. Alcon, the production company behind The Expanse is not going down without a fight and intends to approach other networks in the hope of securing a fourth season, and if we’re really lucky, more beyond. An obvious pick and likely the first port of call will be Netflix, who have developed a reputation in recent years for saving prematurely cancelled shows. The Killing and comedy smash hit, Arrested Development were welcomed into the Netflix family after their networks dropped them, and the streaming service turned production powerhouse is known for taking ‘risks’ which pay off massively, such as Stranger Things, which other networks turned down. There are also Amazon and Disney to consider. Or perhaps, FX, current home to metaphysical, science fiction smash hit Legion would want to add the show to its considerable roster. There are options,
So we cling to hope, but that’s not all we do. From this point on, kids, we are at war. Shows are not saved without effort and as fans, this is our call to arms. Retweet, email, hash your tags and cry from the mountaintops. Whatever network is smart enough to pick up the show will come with a guaranteed audience of adoring, diehard fans, hooked on a show that is often called the new Game of Thrones, but we have to make sure they know that.
I will not be sleeping on this one. Apocalypse based drama Jericho was saved from cancellation by hoards of devoted fans mailing peanuts to the network. Might I suggest bombarding a few networks with coffee?
I am not saying goodbye, not yet. I believe in The Expanse and I believe in the fans. We can save this show. So let’s do it.
*Updated May 21, 2018
Nicely done, fans and critics, alike! Ten days after SyFy announced the series’ cancellation, Alcon Entertainment is reportedly in discussions with Amazon to produce a fourth season of The Expanse! THR says a deal is near, in part due to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos’ enthusiasm for the source book.
IndieWire received the following statement from Alcon Entertainment CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson:
The outpouring of support and enthusiasm from the fans of THE EXPANSE has been remarkable and encouraging. The show’s impassioned fan base, including hundreds of thousands of viewers and the likes of of George R.R. Martin and Patton Oswalt, appear to be as hopeful as we are that this stunning space drama can find a new home on another platform.”
We’ll update as details become available.