Despite the fact that the network has become known in recent times as a repository of schlock-filled B-grade creature features like Sharknado and Sharktopus, Syfy has been making a serious push back into the original content game. Their latest endeavor is a sweeping space-opera called The Expanse.
Based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the collective pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who will both serve as executive producers), The Expanse is set more than two centuries in the future. The action “follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.” Syfy gave the series a straight to series order, and will team with Alcon Television Group to produce a first series of ten hour-long episodes.
Academy Award-nominated Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man) wrote the pilot episode, and the duo will continue on the with the series both as writers and as executive producers. Syfy president Dave Howe says, “The Expanse is epic in scale and scope and promises to be Syfy’s most ambitious series to date.” He goes on to note how this series will fit into the network’s overall aim of getting back on track in regards to creating new and interesting shows.
ATG president Sharon Hall adds, “The Expanse is an addictive, sophisticated, character-driven franchise and Mark and Hawk are the perfect people to steer it. Their script is a totally immersive and accessible sci-fi journey.”
At the moment there are three pieces in the Expanse family. Book one, 2011’s Leviathan Wakes, was nominated for a Hugo Award for best novel in 2012. That title was then followed by Caliban’s War and Abaddon’s Gate in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin called the series a “kickass space opera.”
Though I haven’t read an of the novels, this sounds like one of the most promising ventures that the network has put together. If nothing else, it makes all of us here happy to know that we’ll have more sci-fi that is set in actual space. That single fact right there is enough to get interested.
The Expanse joins what has the potential to become a powerhouse of new science fiction television programs. Between airing episodes of Continuum in the U.S., and renewing Defiance and Helix for second seasons, the network is moving in the right direction. Upcoming Syfy shows include an adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, the zombie adventure Z Nation, the Legion spinoff Dominion, and the space adventure Ascension.