Like many fans, I was surprised and heartbroken to hear that SyFy decided not to renew The Expanse for a fourth season. If you read the blog frequently, you know that I’m a huge fan of the book series and was introduced to the universe by the TV show.
The initial reaction of fans was one of anger and disbelief. The show is highly rated by critics, and many fans saw the show as a return to high-concept television like the remake of Battlestar Galactica – the sort of show that makes the SyFy channel worth watching.
The cancellation has really made me think about the current state of media, and what follows are my random thoughts.
First, this has made me sad because it highlights how many challenges face good television – particularly in sci-if, where production budgets are often high. The Expanse wasn’t a cheap show to make, and although its critical score was sky-high, its viewership (at least first-run on SyFy), wasn’t that high. Economically, I suspect SyFy probably made the right choice, and it saddens me that’s true. I think competition is fantastic, and if it doesn’t make sense for networks to take chances on shows like The Expanse, we all lose.
Second, It reminded me that we truly live in a golden age of media. Count me among the many who have their fingers crossed that Netflix or Amazon picks the show up. Even a few years ago, a show’s cancellation was the final nail in the coffin. Today, that’s no longer the case. I love that we can even hope for a continuation of the show.
Finally, it comes as a reminder to me to be willing to financially support the media that we love. I know this sounds self-serving, coming from an author who wants people to buy my books, but I’m guilty of this as well. Up until a few years ago, I almost exclusively got all my books from the library and waited until everything was available on Netflix before watching. I’m getting better, but The Expanse reminded me that I’m definitely not perfect. For as much as I love the show, I’ve never paid a dime specifically to watch it. I don’t have cable, and I don’t subscribe to the SyFy app. I’ve waited for the series to come up on Prime Video and watch it then.
Hopefully, the show gets picked up by a streaming service. Until then, I will mourn the loss of a fantastic sci-fi show and enjoy the final season.