Don't Give Up On Syfy, Guys
As most of the fans of the show are probably aware, The Expanse has officially been picked up by Amazon for the show’s fourth season. I am, obviously, absolutely thrilled by this — The Expanse is the epitome of a great sci-fi show, the cast is delightful, and the story is amazing both in the fast-paced show and the books it’s based on.
I am thrilled Amazon has given in to the fans’ very constant and very loud desire to #KeepTheRociFlying and #SaveTheExpanse (the Twitter campaigns held during the new episodes, led partially by Cas Anvar [Alex] himself, which turned out to be very successful). The Roci will fly on, and we’ll get a chance to get through the whole story of Abaddon's Gate and at least the beginning of book four, Cibola Burn.
The Expanse has been saved, but I think there’s still an important point to make about some of the reactions I saw after its initial cancellation.
I’ve seen it happen before, namely when another Syfy favorite, Dark Matter, got the hit by the cancellation bear last year. People are upset, as expected, but there were a surprising number who immediately turned on the network, claiming they were going to stop watching anything Syfy created.
This is, I assume, an exaggeration for some, but I saw the same thing happen when news of The Expanse’s cancellation came out. There was the usual disappointment, sadness, and mourning I’ve come to expect. But there was also a stream of people swearing off Syfy entirely for the infraction, which brings me to the entire point of writing this up:
Don’t give up on Syfy, guys.
Obviously, I love The Expanse. I was disappointed by their decision to cut it, and stand by the idea that the viewer ratings system is very antiquated and needs to be brought into the 21st century. But I also understand the decision; the cancellation was a huge mix of issues, with the very limited “first airing only” monetary rights Syfy got for the show and the aforementioned terrible rating system. Syfy is still a company, and they still need to make money, and The Expanse wasn’t earning enough for them to warrant keeping it.
But Syfy is a good network, and it still deserves support.
The fact that we got The Expanse in the first place is a huge thing. The fact that it did so well is telling. The fact that Syfy kept so true to the authors’ vision of the series in incredible. They put together an immensely diverse cast, they had the incredible women that the fandom love so much, they had the fantastic representation that we rave about. They aired it. They praised it. Syfy loved this show, too, because it’s a good network.
Don’t get me wrong, Syfy is still plagued by its bad reputation. A lot of people still automatically associate it with cheesy B movies and bad acting (though I adore those cheesy B movies, I will happily watch the occasional Sharknado marathon), but they’ve stepped so far away from that with their recent rebranding.
They’ve come out with shows like Helix, 12 Monkeys, Z Nation, Wynonna Earp, Van Helsing, Killjoys, Dark Matter, and The Magicians along with The Expanse.
And true, some of those shows are a little better than others. Some still slip into the B movie vein on occasion (looking at you Z Nation, another one of my personal favorites). But all of them are indicative of Syfy’s shift, and they just continue to get better. Both Wynonna Earp and The Magicians are very popular with people who probably would never touch Syfy otherwise, because they are very quality shows.
Syfy has gone back to sci-fi, in a very impressive way, and they’re steadily improving. They have representation in nearly every show that would be met with a lot more attention if it were on other networks. Z Nation has a WOC lead who’s shown to be both immensely strong (it is the apocalypse, after all) and is allowed to properly mourn her losses. Wynonna Earp has a happy same-sex relationship, with one of the girls confirmed bisexual. Killjoys has what fans have lovingly called “the evil space queen lesbians,” who are also very happy even as they try to destroy everyone, as well as another WOC lead who has a beautiful, rich, loving, and completely platonic relationship with her long-term work partner. The Expanse gives us a Methodist preacher from Ganymede who regularly calls her wife and young daughter, and an older Indian woman who practically runs the entire government of Earth.
And that’s just some of the points I can think of from the shows I know well.
As odd as the statement may seem to those who haven’t been watching this network lately, Syfy is helping lead the charge into better TV. They’re making these shows with these fantastically diverse and well-written characters, and they’re showing other networks that these are the sorts of shows that are loved.
After all, we’re the fans who flew a banner plane over Amazon HQ and sent a model of the Roci into space. That’s some dedication.
So yeah, be upset with the cancellations. There will be others, because in the end, Syfy is a company, and they do need to make money to stay afloat. Be upset and be loud about it when it happens.
But don’t give up on Syfy.
We need networks like them. We need them to pick up more shows like The Expanse and like Dark Matter, and to keep proving that these shows bring very loud, very passionate fans.
The Roci may not be flying on Syfy anymore, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be, either.