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May 12, 2018

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Just saw online that SyFy has cancelled THE EXPANSE.   Season three is now running, and after that, they are pulling the plug.

It’s a damn shame, especially for fans of space science fiction… of which I count myself one.

THE EXPANSE was a terrific show in all regards.   It looked magnificent, but that’s true of a lot of big budget space shows these days.   It was also really well written and well directed, with an amazing and talented cast.   That’s not always true for some of the other SF shows out there.

There’s still a lot of great science fiction on TV right now… WESTWORLD comes to mind… but for hardcore SF geeks like me, there’s nothing quite like a space show.   Weird worlds, alien protomolecules, gritty asteroid miners, cool spaceships, that’s the stuff I was weaned on.  (Rocky Jones, anyone?)

THE EXPANSE was the best space show on television, far and away.   Nothing else even comes close.

I hope its producers can find another home for it.

If not, then this is a sad day for science fiction.


Current Mood: melancholy melancholy


  • Yiannis Tsapras says:

    I really liked the Expanse and was saddened to hear it will be cancelled. That said, I have yet to see a SciFi series that will surpass Babylon 5 in terms of overarching narrative, depth and complexity. Even though it was a low budget production and the acting not always top notch, the scenario trumps anything I’ve seen since. If you haven’t already seen it, I envy you.

    • Nah says:

      I can’t believe they cancelled it but I’m not surprised. This is why I don’t watch SyFy anymore. They would rather spend their budget on wrestling, ghost shows, and cheap B movies than actual let a good show thrive.

      • Joe says:

        First, Evil Dead gets cancelled. And now this! Reminds me of when they cancelled Farscape at the cliffhanging Season 4 finale. Intelligent SF on tv is probably dead now. *sigh*

        • Giovanni says:

          I unfortunately agree with you, Scifi has always had a smaller fanbase and the fact that they havent been picked up by media giants like netflix and Amazon video ensures the lack of exposure. We can only struggle and hope that Amazon picks up the show and revives hopes in the Genre.

          • Matt Russell says:

            Outside the US, The Expanse *is* on Netflix already. I hope they pick it up for future series, but I wouldn’t hold my breath- the UK stuff they’ve bought up- The Last Kingdom, Black Mirror etc.- has been successful prior to Netflix’s involvement.

    • jackethero says:

      Nice to see a B5 fan,to be honest i think is underappreciated like b5 when wit as aired,B5 was ahead of its time i rewatched a couple or months ago and i was impressed by the amount of themes u only see in today shows,the same thing i would say about the expanse,its criticism of war and government its impressive,but i think only in a far away future ppl will appreciate it as it should be

      • Giovanni says:

        The focus on war and government really helps to develop the show from being a mediocre space simulator to become the accomplishment it has become. Like other famous shows (westworld, black mirror etc) it makes us think and question our view of the world but still being surrounded by a wonderful plot and presentation. I truly hope Amazon can pick it up and preserve our dreams

    • Giovanni says:

      Hope is not lost yet, there is a meeting with Amazon tomorrow. Anybody who loves SciFi should be trying to reach out to Amazon and show their support, it might be the new home for our beloved genre now that Syfy has become the wrestling channel.

  • Dredd says:

    Damn, that show has been excellent. ☹️

  • Werthead says:

    This is an excellent show, well-written with some intelligent ideas on how things will go in the future. It was also great to see a more realistic take on space travel and combat. Definitely the best space opera TV show since Battlestar Galactica v2.0 and Babylon 5 before that.

  • Dexter says:

    Damned shame. The best thing about The Expanse was the characters. They were not cookie cutter “space men”. They had motivations at odds with each other and that brought costs.

  • Barry Carolan says:

    A real pity. By no means perfect, but a really good and fantastic looking adaptation. Even the toned down version of Avasarala is a joy to behold and hear on screen.

  • Reinhard says:

    Very sad indeed just finished season 2. Best syfy show since serenity and battlestar galactica

  • John says:

    Thank you for the recommendation. Just reserved season one from my local library. I don’t really watch tv anymore (way too much garbage to waste my time), so your post ohs appreciated.

  • Fizz says:

    The parent company that produced the show is not Syfy!

    Syfy only had the rights to the first airing witch they voided after smaller growth of viewers in season 3, compared to season 2.

    The company that produces the show is not even looking at this like a setback!

    They are actively seeking a new platform to air the show and did not cancel any plans that were made for season 4 shootings.

    If you read this George, please pull some of your strings to get that show a much deserved home.

    I’m sure you can think of a few call you can make as you read this.

    Thx buddy!

    • DomA says:

      It’s true that the production house (Alcon) is actively looking for another home for the show, but your information that they “are not cancelling any plans” for the shooting of season 4 is wrong. They were all waiting for the renewal to launch the machine, and without it the machine has now stopped completely. That’s been confirmed by a few key people on the production team (including the show runner). The writers are not writing, season 4 isn’t going into preproduction. All that’s happening is that Alcon is shopping the show around. Unless they succeed, the show ends with season 3.

    • Jon says:

      >They are actively seeking a new platform to air the show and did not cancel any plans that were made for season 4 shootings.

      While I hope you are right, the prop master for the show said that this news prompted them to start selling off the Expanse sets starting Monday.

      Now sets can be re-built and re-bought, they probably would have to some extent for the next season anyway, but not great news…

      • DomA says:

        Anything can be rebuilt, but this would be a huge set back and a major obstacle in finding another buyer. Having to destroy sets and props killed sequels and series before. Each set and prop that gets sold or scrapped is added to budget of season 4 to be rebuilt. In the case of the huge sets like the Roci, we’re likely talking millions. Bobbie’s power armor alone was worth 100,000 USD.

        This is a very bad news. It also came with the news that Alcon has already exhausted most possibilities, including Netflix and there was no interest so far. The cost of keeping the studio space now they won’t for sure go back is astronomical. Last week the budget for season 3 was still paying for that year-long rent. This week it’s all money from their own pockets and the bill goes up fast. They have to move extremely fast.

        This is terribly sad, but really not good news.

  • Chris M says:

    This is so depressing! I really hope they can find a new home for it. Any chance you can pull some strings with HBO? 😉

  • Marq says:

    Totally concur with Fizz

  • Paul P says:

    I am so saddened by this news. I had such a great time with that show. At least we still got the books but the show was its own thing 🙁

  • Mike says:

    The Expanse is truly a great science fiction show in a time when great SF is so lacking in every media. Feels good to know that George appreciates it too. Wish it finds a new home soon. And plenty more seasons too, it’s a fantastic new world to explore!

  • Freddy Veloz says:

    Damn, I don’t even watch that many TV shows. This hurts 🙁

  • RLK says:

    I started watching after you recommended the show on one of your Notablog posts a year or 2 ago. There’s been a lot of bad/mediocre scifi done over the years, but this has been the first time I absolutely loved a scifi show since the Battlestar Galactica remake. After the first 5 episodes of season 3 I feel like it’s only getting better too. Such disappointing news :/

    George, you know HBO better than the rest of us, do you think this is a show they could be interested in? Other than HBO, the only chance for the show to continue that I can see is if Netflix, which already has the international rights for the show I believe, is willing to invest in it. I guess it’s not a cheap show to make though…

  • Miles says:

    It was a very good series.

  • Kane Gregory says:

    I really hope they find a new home for this show. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two seasons, and recently checked out a copy of Leviathan Wakes from the local library which I have been obsessively reading on the train to and from work each day whilst I wait for season three (it’s not available in the UK yet).

    It’s a great show, but if it is cancelled I encourage people to go read the books. In fact, go read the books any way!

  • Jake Lenihan says:

    My favorite part of Expanse was how it realistically dealt with inconveniences regarding space travel such as gravity, acceleration and atmosphere. Most sci fi franchises sweep that stuff under the rug. Fingers crossed Netflix picks it up.

  • Al Jackson says:

    I got to give SyFy this , The Expanse is the science fiction drama I have been looking for , for about 60 years. I read the kind of narrative and world building on The Expanse in the 1950s (it was being done in the 1940s) especially on the pages of Astounding Science Fiction , a good example is Heinlein and Asimov (but many many others) doing great stories with beautiful verisimilitude. The movie Forbidden Planet got a lot of that space opera right, Star Trek was a delight , tho it was really only about 65% the way there. At least Star Wars did not drop back to Flash Gordon but it was a bit of a disappointment , it gave me the world building of the prose form but alas a story that’s quite a bit more juvenile compared to , say, Heinlein”s young adult science fiction , 45%. Been some good attempts since Battle Star (for example) about 55% the way there. The Expanse was a surprise going about 90% the way there, never seen that before. So SyFy took a chance on solid 20th Century prose-style source material. I hope its not the sophistication of The Expanse that is hurting it, because lord! I want to see more of it. (If you are asking about 2001 or Blade Runner , those are in a class of science fiction by themselves that kind of science fiction is outside of space opera.)

  • Colin Adams says:

    As the Assistant Set Decorator on the Expanse, I want to say thank you for your kind words. That means a great deal to our team. We are honored.
    Colin Adams
    Assistant Set Decorator
    The Expanse

    • I am as broken hearted about this as much as when they canceled Firefly.
      Everybody involved in the Making of The Expanse did a great job.

    • Gian says:

      I absolutely love your show, and i’m not the only one. You are doing a great job and it is madness to cancel this piece of fantastic work. I really, really hope you will find a new home, and continue with this great story. Greetings from Italy 🙂

  • Michael Hayse says:

    I sure hope they find a new home, definitely my favorite space themed TV show of the modern era. Seems like it would slot into the new series streaming format of HBO/Netflix et al. I’d love to see hour + long episodes, with no need for clunky commercial breaks.

  • Jobn says:

    Sorry to hear that at this point the show didn’t work for the SyFy channel but that’s their failing not the show’s. It’s my understanding that SF doesn’t own the Expanse – a separate entity does and they are shopping the show to other venues.
    Personally I didn’t watch a single episode on SyFy. I bought all 3 seasons through Amazon Prime Video. As far as I’m concerned SyFy is a broken relic.

  • Flora says:

    I love this series, like so many others who appreciate great syfy on the tv screen. I haven’t enjoyed one like this since Battlestar Galactica (the reboot). Fingers crossed. It seems crazy Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime wouldn’t leap at the opportunity to pick this up.

  • Saul diaz says:

    Is sad tha good shows die and crap like the Kardashians stays in tv

  • Dana Pearson says:

    Amazing show.. Sad day.. Smart to retain rights.. NETFIX! HBO! Google! Hulu! Amazon

  • I am quite sad about the news, but hopeful that Alcon will find a new home for the show. So glad you posted about it, because it really does help visibility. Reaching out to any contacts that you have at Amazon to express your support would be extremely useful, as the people behind the show have said that Netflix is out, but Amazon is interested. I think that your name has a lot of clout (as evidenced by the perpetual quote from you on the book jackets, hah). They are going to start selling the sets on Tuesday, so the next couple of days are crucial, as the chances go way down once the sets are gone too.

    As for anyone else in the comments: go to the subreddit for The Expanse and follow the instructions re: submitting a suggestion to Amazon, petitions, and other things you can do to show your support! It’s not a lost cause yet!

  • Kibi says:

    Very sorry to hear about this. I’ve really become attached to the characters and the space stuff is realistic enough to NOT make me shake my head (which I end up doing at a lot of space sci fi) – it’s not all “artificial gravity” this and “ray gun versus forcefield” that.
    I really hope they find a new home – meanwhile, will start reading the books (so there’s that)

  • nosknut says:

    This is typical of syfy. SGU, Dark Matter and now The Expanse. It’s a shame no one else an start producing good sci-fi content such as this.

    • MrDemiurge says:

      Back in 2009, the SyFy channel changed its name from the Sci-Fi Channel and, in doing so, an executive said this:

      “The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular. When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it. It made us feel much cooler, much more cutting-edge, much more hip, which was kind of bang-on what we wanted to achieve communication-wise.”

      So yeah, can’t say I’ve had many warm fuzzy feelings for a Science Fiction network that apparently despises Science Fiction fans as a bunch of friendless, misogynistic basement dwellers.

  • Ethan Lalla says:

    I am literally heart broken that this show is going away. It is my all time favorite show on television.

  • James B. DiGriz says:

    George, please help save the show through your connections!!!

  • James says:

    George, please use your connections to help save the show. You have more pull than you think. I’ve read all the Expanse books and adore the show. I am so devastated it’s cancelled. Please help us!

  • Christine Thoms says:

    Should not CANCEL the expanse. Best show on SyFy!!!

  • BoomKrasHHH says:

    Gahhh this sucks! And after I had put about a dozen people onto the show who all love it!
    I only hope their fate is not sealed. Praying for a miracle..

  • Grigor Velkovsky says:

    I’m a huge fan of both Game of Thrones and The Expanse. The way I’ve suggested the Expanse to my friends and acquaintances has always been “It’s like Game of Thrones in space, politics, intrigue and twists.” I implore you George R.R. Martin, if you can help us save The Expanse please give us a hand! To me personally, it’s the best sci-fi series in the last decade, one Firefly is enough, please help us save The Expanse from the same fate.

    Thank you and much respect for you and your work.

    Kind regards,
    Grigor from Bulgaria

  • Patrick says:

    I’d hoped otherwise but apparently they’re committed to being the Pseudo-Sy Fy channel. Guess they’ve deciddd to stick to garbage, old movies, psedo-sci crap and cheap vapid content.

  • Maribeth says:

    The TV production followed so closely to the books and the sets and special effects were great – it was real sci-fi, with characters that were flawed, but striving, a future civilization that was possible. It was so good and I am so disappointed!

  • Shawnn L Balzer says:

    Very disturbing and sad that another REALLY great scifi series is cancelled.

  • Joe Layden says:

    I don’t follow sports anymore and get my news from the internet, so now there are only six reasons to turn on my TV (other than the occasional new movie release) — The Expanse, Westworld, Game of Thrones, Brittania, Stranger Things, and Nightflyers. Problem is, they’re now all going to be on different pay platforms, some of which come with lots of extra content I’m paying for but not using.
    It may be better to just buy those shows by seasons from Amazon than to continue overpaying these fickle companies.
    And this makes me really worried about Nightflyers, since I know I’m probably going to get attached to it.

  • William Bulman says:

    Mr. Martin,
    Shows based on well written books are rare, obviously Game of Thrones is one of them; as you’ve indicated, so is The Expanse. It obviously still has many stories to tell. I would usually never be so forward to ask such a thing of a stranger, but I’m grabbing at straws to save one of my favorite television shows. Would you be able to say a word on its behalf to any relevant contacts you may have? All of its fans would appreciate anything you could do. I know I would. Thank you.

  • Rob says:

    From what I’ve seen it seems pretty likely that someone else will pick it up… So I’m sure this won’t be the last season. However, I have to admit that I feel like I haven’t liked a lot of the direction that writing has taken, at least in season 2 (haven’t started on season 3). The Sci fi element is great.. But it’s frustrating when most of the drama comes from character’s poor communication skills and irrational/moody behavior. Whereas you have the new lost in space.. Where all of the characters are incredibly competent and the drama comes from either the circumstances of their environment or clever manipulation from the antagonist. So as much as I prefer the expanse’s overarching plot, I’d argue that this first season of lost in space has been a superior Sci fi show. But you are the professional storyteller here.. What do you think? Have you seen the new adaptation of lost in space?

    • Giovanni says:

      I would suggest watching season 3, it focuses much more on plot development through warfare and its ramifications. There are a lot of developments on all fronts and although it isn’t perfect there are definitely some awesome moments. Definitely worth watching asap and to help get the show renewed.

  • David says:

    I love The Expanse. It feels like one of the most realistic in terms of the actual science, and reminds me of stuff my Asimov and Heinlein that I used to read as a kid in the 1960s. It’s the best show currently on SyFy, of course I’m not surprised they canceled it. It’s not for naught that I refer to the network as StupyFy. I’m glad to hear that GRRM loves the show too. I don’t subscribe to Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, and I wasn’t willing to subscribe even more Marvel animated showed connected to the MCU, but if one of them picks up The Expanse, I’m willing to subscribe finally.

  • Giovanni says:

    We need as much support as possible!! Amazon might be willing to pick this show up, and with the platform will come lots of new viewers unlike with Syfy which has a tiny audience.

    It is rumored that there is a meeting with Amazon tomorrow, so it is essential that everything possible is done to make them aware of how much we need this show. This could keep the Science fiction Genre going!!

  • Christopher Zaina says:

    Mr. Martin if you are reading this, I know you have written this about your displeasure about its cancellation but with the reported meeting between Bezos’ Amazon and Alcon if you could tweet directly to amazon in support of it being picked up we would be in your debt (more than we already are for you bringing us GOT).

    Thank you for bringing attention to this amazing and underappreciated tv gem.

  • Bruce Chrumka says:

    A superb series. I don’t doubt that the finest, oldest SF minds would have underwritten a dozen more years if they’d the lucre. That Corey knucklehead is the ne plus ultra.

    What is Paul Allen up to these days? Well, he doesn’t tell me what to do with my loot. He could always ship me a Vance Integral Edition.

    Lucifer was also cancelled and frankly, it could have been a genius ten-episode mini-series like The Terror. The suits ambushed it.

  • Victor Chambers says:

    Please contact Bezos to save The Expanse:

    Tweet and email Jeff Bezos:, @JeffBezos


  • Case Keenum says:

    I gave up on it at the start of the second season, for some reason it just didn’t captivate me as much as the first. I’m still waiting for something that hits the same highs as Battlestar Galactica at its best.

  • Bruce E Ferguson Jr says:

    So crazy, it’s a great show. Really liked dark matter too. While I admit the expanse I feel is even better. I hope some one else picks it up. The some parts are a little weaker, my main issue is the interaction with Naomi and the crew just seems wierd/off. I know they are frustrated with her for giving the belt the protomolecule but somehow her character just seems weaker or off from last year. I love amos’s character, and Roberta’s character is also amazing. Hope they manage to find a another outlet.

  • Jaemi-ZH says:

    Ugh yeah. It might be a little over the top but it’s totally derailed my whole week, uber depression. I’ve even started having dreams about nautilus spirals and the golden ratio.. I maybe need to re-evaluate my life choices

  • zandru says:

    Hey, “The Orville” has been renewed. So there’s that.

  • hataibu says:

    There’s actually a petition going on in order to at least show a potential investor our support of the series:
    So please add your voices to the chorus. Maybe it helps.

  • David M says:

    Fortunately there are still the books.

    It seems to be a pattern with really good TV Science fiction series – Firefly and Jericho are top of my mind.

  • Joshua M Hammer says:

    A great show to be sure. I am just glad it got three seasons, it must have cost a helluva lot more then Sharktopussy or most other slush they are peddling. I would argue that “Altered Carbon” on Netflix is every bit as entertaining for a serious sci-fi show however.

  • Addison de Lisle says:

    When I picked up “Leviathan Wakes”, I was looking for something to read in the airport in a few days. I was sure it would be long enough for me to start reading at home and finish on my trip, since it was such a hefty book. I ended up finishing it in a day, so I bought the next one, again “for the airport”. I finished that one the next day, as well. I ended up reading the fourth one in the airport, haha! This was the first science fiction series I’ve read, having been more of a fantasy/historical fiction person previously, and I absolutely love it. THe issues and technology aren’t so far removed from our own time as to be unrelatable, and I love that the political/faction maneuvering is just as important as the alien technology and ships.

    The TV series has been a fantastic adaptation (Though I feel like it took a little while for the actor for Amos to grow on me), and has become my favorite show. They did a fantastic job with the world-building, and I love that they make something as “simple” as ship changing course into a dramatic feat. I’m sad to hear that SyFy is not renewing the contract, and sincerely hope that it’s picked up by another company.

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