I like the Expanse a lot, that’s pretty easy to say. It’s because I love sci-fi, and TV sci-fi while it’s not any better than novel and audiobook sci-fi, it beats movie sci-fi hands down. In the movies, the time for character development is simply not there, and even less so now that CG graphics are so prevalent. If the Expanse were made into a movie I would have groaned and then watched it when it came out as a rental. But it didn’t.
The Expanse was premered on the SyFy in November 2015. It was a refreshing new take on the typical spaceship show. Totally contained within our solar system. The people of the Expanse live and work on the places that are within our reach today. Their technology is theoretically all within our grasp, and still, the society they have built, while not exactly a utopia, at least is a future beyond humanity slowly fading into history. It took me watching about 3 episodes before I ran out and bought every James S.A. Corey novel there was on Amazon at the time.
It was also a refreshing new start for the SyFy channel. Anyone who has seen the 2004 version of Battlestar Galactica knows that SyFy is capable of great content. I still believe that show was the greatest masterpiece to science fiction television ever made. But the issue is that SyFy is a provider, not a producer. Battlestar was produced by David Eick Productions, and The Expanse by Alcon Entertainment. SyFy buys the show and airs it. In 2004 that was the only realistic way of watching the show besides pirating it online. Today it is on Amazon, Hulu, Netflix in some countries, YouTubeTV, etc. These platforms simply offer a better product than the SyFy Channel. With streaming, you can buy only the products you want and watch them at your leisure. With cable you get to pay $100+ a month, you get the pleasure of %20 or more of airtime being advertisements, and to even see the show you need to be plopped down on your couch at 9 pm sharp ready to watch with your full attention because no pausing on live TV.
Cable is a tired old model with many hidden costs and caveats to the consumer and the market is voting with its feet. SyFy judged the show through the same rating system that was used 30 years ago, completely ignoring online sales. That makes sense for SyFy if that is the only way that they can judge their own profits. That is how the show can be doing great and still be dumped by SyFy. What I don’t understand is why Alcon doesn’t just tell SyFy that they can cancel the show all they want, It’s still profitable. Alcon should put up some of its own money if it has to and keep the status quo, continue to make the money it’s making off of platforms like Amazon and the others. The SyFy audience isn’t just going to sit around if they love the show and it is available elsewhere. If anything the Expanse going digital only serves to hammer the nails into the cable TV coffin that much sooner.
I know that most of the fanbase has come to this conclusion on their own and have pushed the #savetheexpanse movement in the past week to convince a platform like Amazon or Netflix to sponsor the show. This would be great. I don’t care where The Expanse goes to just as long as it has a home and that it’s NOT on TV. But I guess my confusion is why Alcon can’t just stand up and take ownership of its own property. I mean come on The Expanse already IS on Amazon.