It’s official: Amazon has saved The Expanse

Image: Rafy/Syfy

It’s official: The Expanse has been saved. After the Syfy Channel canceled The Expanse earlier this month, Alcon Entertainment has confirmed that Amazon will pick up the show for a fourth season, after after outcry from the show’s fans.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made the announcement at the International Space Development Conference: where he appeared next to members of the show’s cast: “The Expanse is saved.”

Alcon Entertainment Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson issued a statement, confirming that Amazon would be picking up the show: “We couldn’t be more excited that The Expanse is going to continue on Amazon Prime! We are deeply grateful that Jeff Bezos, Jen Salke, and their team at Amazon have shown such faith in our show.”

Set two centuries in the future, The Expanse is based on the novel series by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), and is set in a colonized solar system. The destruction of an ice-hauling spaceship uncovers a vast conspiracy to exploit the chilly political tensions between Earth, Mars and the inhabitants of the asteroid belt and outer planets, with the crew of a spaceship called the Rocinante in the center of it all. The show is currently airing its its third season, which has finally brought the system to war after a steady increase in tensions between the various factions in the system. The announcement is good news for the show, especially as this week’s episode began a new story arc that opens up the future of the show for a huge range of new possibilities.

The show is one of the best, most relevant shows on the air, but that critical acclaim didn’t translate into high ratings. It struggled to find a consistent audience on Syfy, in part due to the network’s rights, which put an emphasis on live-viewings in a time when audience behaviors are drastically changing. Despite the cancellation, The Expanse is fully produced by Alcon Entertainment, which indicated that it would shop the show around to new potential homes. Fans of series have rallied around a hashtag #savetheexpanse, and launched a petition to Netflix or Amazon to save the show, which garnered more than 132,000 signatures, and raised money via GoFundMe to fly a banner with the hashtag around Amazon Studios’ headquarters in Santa Monica.

Those efforts seem to have worked. Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter said that Amazon was in talks to pick up the show. For its part, Amazon has been working to expand its streaming television options, with CEO Jeff Bezos instructing the studio to find more Game of Thrones-style shows with a global appeal. The Expanse easily fits that description, with a multiracial cast and an emphasis on the destructive nature of societal divisions. It’ll join a number of other adaptations in the works for the studio, including Ringworld, William Gibson’s The Peripheral, Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas, and a little-known fantasy world from J.R.R. Tolkien. Amazon is under pressure to grow its subscriber base, especially as other streaming services begin to offer their own, high-concept science fiction shows, like Apple’s adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy or Disney’s live-action Star Wars show. Here, Amazon is able to take advantage of not only a longer series of novels to draw from, but also a passionate and vocal fanbase.


TV is filled with so much dross yet one of the few good shows needs to be rescued, seems bizarre.

Remember The cant Firefly.
Somewhere upstairs in these studios there is a disconnect between good tv, popular tv and the tv they want to produce. I’m not sure it’s even about money anymore. The executives keep green lighting good products and then ditch them the moment they show promise.
You’d think they’d do an internal review and figure out who made those bad decisions, but it doesn’t seem to happen.

Well, what TV are you looking at? Broadcast? It’s lost so much of its audience that to hang onto whoever is left, they are going for the most boring, vanilla fodder possible.

How about basic cable? Also losing audience in droves. A nichey show like The Expanse was always a tough thing to support via cable, especially since it’s expensive to produce. Factor in failing ratings and it’s toast.

You gotta go where the audience is: they’re all on streaming now, where a pricey show can get paid for because streaming can efficiently reach a global audience and the niche audience for the show everywhere can find it. The economics just don’t work for niche shows outside streaming and premium cable.

Apparently, the issue was more with rights than anything else. Because the show was produced and owned by Alcon Entertainment, Syfy only, really, had first-line broadcast rights- they only made money off of people watching it live…which no one really does anymore. I know I didn’t- I bought a season pass on iTunes…no commercials for me- only Alcon, I believe, and Apple, got any money from my viewing.

Literally what I said as soon as I saw the headline. Amen!

Great, now start paying your employees Amazon.

Why would they? We allow them legally to pay them low wages, so unless we have a mass boycott, I don’t see it happening. I think the answer is to raise the minimum wage.

This is pretty much the best news in the two weeks since it was cancelled.

I was so hoping this wouldn’t go down the Firefly route! Well done to everyone who help promote the series. #Can’tStopTheSignal #SaveTheExpanse

Make Earth great again!

lol…you’re the hero of the weekend buddha!

Amazon now just save Lucifer and you will be the most loved company in the world.

Thanks Amazon! I don’t always love your business but you did a great thing here. I really appreciate it and will follow on with my wallet for next season.

very cool, i was really bummed when i heard it got cancelled, one of the best sci fi series of the last few years.

I hope they keep the sfx etc @ the current excellent level

I really enjoyed watching it on Netflix. Sigh.
I’m just glad it’s still around, though.

Which suggests your not in the US, there’s no reason to believe this would change their international delivery.

OK, I’ll bite, what’s the "emphasis on live-viewings" that SyFy imposed on the public? Weekly airings?!? The horror of it all!

SyFy lives and dies from ad views so they need live views. If people wait, they skip the ads. Why doesn’t SyFy have a reasonable strategy for monetizing streaming then? Because they are owned by Comcast, an infamous cable company, that hates streaming and wishes it would all just go away.

Instead, maybe Comcast will go away. Ha ha we can wish. But seriously, if SyFy can’t support a decent sci fi series like The Expanse, exactly why DO they exist anymore? Netflix and Amazon can do so much better of a job of it. And Apple is doing a series based on Asimov’s Foundation! I think we’re covered for sci fi.

Season 4 is coming to Amazon Prime

…and so am I.

I’ll have to give Netflix the axe to do it, though.

Woohoo! Now I will gladly pay the $20 prime increase.

Thank you, Amazon. You have saved quality.

Is The Expanse really is that good? That people clamour that way to save it? I mean if it is why does it get low ratings, and it never really received mainstream attention? Whys that. Please convince me to watch this shoe, my watch list is empty

The Expanse is the poster child for niche TV. If you like it, you love it. But most people will be indifferent.

It’s got a great premise, and some compelling actors but it’s not like the BSG reboot where the cast was all so damn charismatic. It’s very talky and political. It starts off pretty slow. The first season is basically setup for the story, so you have to be patient. It’s harder sci fi than usual for TV. People don’t have magic warp drives to go visit alien worlds that are all populated by humanoid aliens painted easter egg colors. It’s not crowd-pleasing in that way. But stick with it, it does pay off. However, if it’s not for you, don’t worry about it.

The reason it got low ratings is partly due to it being on SyFy. How many sci fi fans are even bothering with cable and its extortionate rates anymore? I’ve switched entirely to streaming now. If it’s not on streaming, screw it.

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