The SyFy channel canceled The Expanse yesterday, May 11th, by surprise in a way that mirrored the incredible stupidity of their parent company NBC's back alley murder of the original Star Trek series in 1969. This author is a fan, and some faceless hacks in a corporate headquarters are about to catch a railgun round of 190 proof nerd rage moving at 12gs. Strap in here comes the juice.
It would be easy to put the iconic crew of the Rocinante next to another iconic crew from another wonderful but sabotaged show, Firefly in their loveable little outer space RV, the Serenity. Joss Weddon, Summer Glau and the idiots at Fox are not involved, and the road to Dollhouse and TSCC laments is therefore closed. Like Firefly, this affront to fandom should provoke a browncoat style fan insurrection. Milowda gonya leva xox. If some smiling drone gets drop kicked out of SyFy's booth at the next Comic Con I hope somebody buys the kicker a drink.
SyFy is a little light on it's genre namesake shows, having now left itself with only two vehicle series. Krypton is a DC comics spinoff and Magicians is fantasy. They are left without an original hard scifi vehicle show and have not invested in one since Battlestar Galactica. Battlestar Galactica was a safe investment with a legacy fanbase to re-imagine the series for, and a closed overall story arc. The Expanse is a growing universe with productive writers producing novels and a base of material enough for six more seasons. Like Gene Roddenberry they are actively involved in the writing of the show. A fan base already speaks the language and t-shirts for the Pur-N-Klean water company along with other in universe jokes are for sale all over the internet. There is long term money to be made here.
The Star Trek parallels read off like a checklist. Multi-racial international cast? Check. Iconic Ships? Remember the Cant! Central message of peace and harmony between people's in space? Check. Constructed language spoken by fans? Ya lik pashang! Bad time slotting and poor support from the network? Check.
The show has both a Saturn and a Nebula award. So far this seasons the critics have given it a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Last Season it was 96%. The ratings have been slow, but solid and growing. There is no business case for the cancellation of the show, with one exception.
That exception is SyFy's 1970s business model which makes money only off of actual air time as opposed to streaming. It's not that SyFy is loosing money, it's that they are not making enough. The lack of profit is comes from an independent studio producing the show, holding the rights, and making money for the actual talent on both sides of the camera as opposed to the shareholders in New York.
NBC is owned by Comcast, who are desperately trying to drive more stakes through the heart of net neutrality ahead of the June 11th sundown. Simply put, this is part of a large battle to raise the price of entertainment, the price of streaming, and the profits for no talent dickwads who do nothing but own old lengths of coaxial wire left over from the Carter administration. Cable needs the government to force us all to buy their low budget garbage, like CosPlay Media. The Syfy channel now has more reality shows than space operas. Maybe they should just run WWE re-runs. Oh wait..They did that already.
The show's studios are shopping it around to other carriers. It is not clear if the words Netflix and Amazon Prime are full-fledged rumors or simply fan wishes. The interruption while deal making (read Hollywood sex-trafficking) takes place will no doubt delay the beginning of production for a 4th season thus throwing off the actors and forcing a partial audience rebuild. Once again the shareholders in New York have created a cult classic out of a what should have been a bankable franchise because they were only making money with one hand over one fist instead of two.