In a move that, thus far, hasn’t been generating the same level of online mourning as Fox’s cancellation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine—but is equally disappointing for fans—Deadline reports that Syfy has decided not to renew its critically beloved sci-fi drama The Expanse for a fourth season. “Everyone at Syfy is a massive fan of the series, and this was an incredibly difficult decision,” NBC cable entertainment president Chris McCumbe says.
Launched in 2015 as part of a stated attempt to return the network to its roots as the “Sci-Fi Channel,” The Expanse currently boasts a 100 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes—including raves from The A.V. Club’s own Zack Handlen, who’s given the last two episodes of the show an “A” grade. That certainly should count for something, especially on a network otherwise known for trashy “so-bad-it’s-good” fare like the Sharknado movies. The Independent adds that The Expanse has been getting “solid but not exemplary” ratings in its third season. So what’s the problem?
At issue is reportedly the deal originally struck between Syfy and Alcon Television Group, which produces and fully finances the series. Apparently, the deal only gives Syfy first-run linear rights in the U.S., which is a problem given that, like many genre TV series, much of The Expanse’s audience watches the show via digital and streaming. On that note, Alcon is planning to take the show to other buyers, presumably streaming services: In a statement, company CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson say, “given the commercial and critical success of the show, we fully plan to pursue other opportunities for this terrific and original IP.”
The third season of The Expanse will continue to run on Syfy through early July.