It looks like the inevitable no-brainer decision was finally made and Aclon studios is selling The Expanse to Amazon. I’m very happy not only to see my favorite show get saved but also because this hopefully is a shift in the trend of great sci-fi shows being marginalized by the network TV model. No word on the details of this deal since it does not yet appear to be signed but it would seem that Jeff Bezos’ personal intervention was likely a factor.
The Expanse was a bad deal for SyFy who only got first run TV rights to the series and missed out on the profitable streaming video and international rights. With any luck, the TV audience will jump ship to Amazon and the days of broadcast TV will end that much sooner.
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.
Hey all, Back for another week of season 3. But first I regret to say that these Expanse posts will likely be going to bi weekly if they survive at all. My enthusiasim to state the obvious waines and if site statistics are any measure you all are not crazy about them either. Anyway lets not start the review on a sad note.
I’m glad we are starting to see some real action finally! Most of the beginning of this episode was more dialog but it’s pretty clear that it is going away for a couple episodes. Alex gets to hear from his son. I had thought the Alex family thing was a small aside to the rest of the show but now it feels like this is building to something bigger.
Avasarala apparently actually does want to get her hands on the protomolicule, I hate to say it but this feels out of place. I mean has she forgotten she is on the run for her life? Has she forgotten Eros or all the BS with Errinwright? It seems pretty clear to anyone with half a brain that this purple goo is bad news for everyone involved. I guess the argument is that it’s clear this thing is just not going to go away now so understanding it is nessicary. But that was the same logic used to justify injecting it into children.
Then the other big storyline was all about what happened when the Erriwright tape gets leaked within the members of the UN Navy. I’m glad we are getting to see the actual iner workings of the UN Navy finally. Until now we only knew of Earth through it’s high level politics. Unfortunatley nearly everyone aboard the Agatha King is now dead after the mutiny then non mutiny then mutiny again. This nearly got to the point of a Benny Hill show mixed with tragedy and gunfire. Souther didn’t seem to last long. But I have a feeling he is somehow going to survive that shot for one more episode.
And that was basically it. No Anna this week. I was expecting her to do something with her copy of the Errinwright tape but that will have to wait. The only other occurance was that of another infuruating cliff hanger. They really do that too well. It of course works, I always go and watch the next thing. But it makes me furious. I loved Infinity War right up until the last 10 minutes and not I can’t bear how mad it makes me lol.
Edit; the Expanse was just canceled! This is bad news today but could very easily turn into good news if a streaming service like Netflix picks it up. From what I have heard the SyFy contract was too dependant on its cable TV audience. A format which has been dying for a long time. There’s good reason Comcast is the most hated company in America.
This week was a fun even if it was a down week for the show. We got to see some supposedly badass Martians failing to be badasses. Some supposedly incompetent belters failing to be incompetent. A businessman who supposedly found his humanity utterly failing to act like a human being. And a world leader who supposedly found inner peace propagating a very external war. I guess you can tell by now I have some problems with this episode. But to clarify I love this series, and by ‘problems’ I mean more to say that I’m a superfan and I want to throw a temper tantrum about things barely worth mentioning. But even so, wow there were a lot of contradictions in this episode. The same belters that needed constant hand-holding and supervision by Miller during the raid on the Protogen base in season 2 now seem to be crack commando’s in Drummer’s mission to recapture the Nauvoo. (can we just call it the Behemoth already?) Which apparently was turned right around and is heading back to Tycho. Seems like a lost potential to resolve that storyline so quickly but I do understand how much content needs to be covered in this season and it’s not a small quantity.
How about those Martians? The Roci crew decide (most of them) that solving their ammo derth was an issue that could be best solved by looting a derelict Martian fast attack ship. They dock, they loot, and then they find some apparently dim-witted survivors. They proceed to rescue said survivors, get them off the derelict ship, bring them back onto the Roci, and complete entire medical exams on them before one of them notices “Hey, you guys aren’t Martians!”. Apparently, Mars doesn’t that IQ into account in the naval enlistment process.
The Martians whine and pout about how they have a duty to get back onto the front lines and die for their country/planet that much quicker. This was about the point where I convinced myself that the storyline for the next couple episodes would revolve around the Martians plotting to overthrow the ship when I looked up back at my screen and said aloud “Oh, I guess we’re doing this now”. Yup, they try to take the ship in the most half-assed mutiny I have ever seen. Seriously most of them give up the second they even see another gun. Another one couldn’t even tell if his rifle was loaded. A standard issue rifle, from the same military he belonged to. I mean come on lol. Bobby did talk them down, and she is hardcore. But it will be a while before I believe any more talk about Mars being the badass military in the Expanse universe.
The Errinwright storyline seems to be slowly wrapping up and hopefully, it will be Anna that buries him. Avasarala is slowly coming to terms with being powerless on someone else’s ship, I find the subtleties there very comical. And the big reveal at the end. Mao’s menagerie are starting to play Arborghast with real people. I knew Mao’s turnaround wouldn’t last but wow that was short. Anyway, that’s pretty much it. See you next week.
PS. I did actually enjoy this episode :-p