Why Fan Petitions to Save “The Expanse” Will Fail

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: SyFy)

As is now inevitable, fans are rallying around the cancelled sci-fi show “The Expanse” in the hopes of saving it from the scrap heap.

I wish them well, really I do. I’m just not very hopeful.

“The Expanse” is a really interesting show, with a dark, very claustrophobic atmosphere, well-written characters, and a lot of nuance and depth.

It’s a great show that really makes the audience think. So, naturally, it’s not exactly winning over a widespread audience.

TV networks are, at the moment, strangely squeamish about science fiction stories, and space operas in particular.

I feel like executives always look at these shows as “Star Trek” copycats, even when there’s so much more to this kind of storytelling.

The Expanse Cast
Source: SyFy

Often, the TV industry involves chasing trends rather than attempting to broaden horizons. What’s weird is that no matter how well established a genre might be in movies, TV executives can still expect it to bomb on the small screen.

So, despite the fact that a planet-hopping action adventure movie like “Infinity War” looks like it’s set to earn $2 billion at the box office, TV networks think the sci-fi genre is a waste of time.

I feel like this often creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. TV executives don’t think people like sci-fi, so they refuse to publicize sci-fi shows. Then, when these invisible shows don’t find a big audience, the executives blame this on their genre.

Don’t Get Too Excited

All of this leads us to the current situation, in which fans are trying desperately to resurrect “The Expanse”, but it’s probably not going to happen.

The logical studio to pick up a show like this would be SyFy, but considering that they’ve literally just dumped “The Expanse”, I can’t imagine them picking it back up again.

The Expanse Cancelled
Source: SyFy

There’s a danger in this of thinking that Netflix could swoop in and provide a streaming deus ex machina. If you’re one of the people who are hoping for this eventuality, don’t hold your breath.

That said, there is something that you can do to help.

Watch “Lost in Space”.

I know it doesn’t seem like it entirely connects, but here’s the thing: Netflix bases its content on what its audience wants to watch. If the streaming service’s sci-fi offerings are well received, then more, similar shows will be commissioned.

This might not be enough to save “The Expanse”, but it could help encourage Netflix to make a few more sci-fi shows in the future.

Right now, that could be the best we can hope for.