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You know how Syfy has spent the last decade or so replacing most of the science fiction in its library with paranormal investigators, cryptozoological mash-ups and Being Human? That’s all changing in the coming year, and network president Dave Howe's most recent brilliant decision was giving a 10-episode order for The Expanse, an adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s acclaimed space opera. This makes it the second space opera in production at Syfy right now, which doesn’t specifically defy the rules of television, but it’s certainly the exception to the rule. And we love the kinds of exceptions that take place in zero gravity.
The Expanse series is three novels deep at this point, with the fourth book, Cibola Burn ready for release in June. (Fun fact: Corey is actually a pseudonym for co-authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.) The story takes place in a future where humans have settled all over the solar system, and centers on an ice miner named Jim Holden who finds the remains of the Scopuli, a lost ship that houses secrets that could start wars. Meanwhile, a detective is on the hunt for the daughter of an affluent couple desperate to find her. He is led to Holden and the newly found ship, and the two men must figure out how these pieces connect to one of the largest conspiracies the universe has ever seen.
Source material is only as good as those who do the adapting, right? So it’s pretty huge that the spec script Syfy based this deal on was written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby, according to Deadline. The Oscar-nominated duo co-wrote films such as Children of Men and Iron Man, which means we can probably expect a tight balance of smart concepts and intense action with The Expanse. Fergus and Otsby, who developed their pitch with Alcon Television Group and Sean Daniel Co., will stay on as writers during the first season, as well as executive producers.
The Expanse will hopefully work well to double feature with the six-part series Ascension, a space-set thriller revolving around colonization and murder, that will air in November. Both of these shows will share Syfy's primetime slots with other high-profile series such as 12 Monkeys, the episodic Legion sequel Dominion, and the zombie survival drama Z Nation. For the first time in ages, Syfy might actually have more genre fare than anyone else on TV.
Can The Expanse possibly live up to the expectations of a Battlestar Galactica-loving fanbase? Probably not, but it’ll be fun as hell to watch it try. Below is an interview with the co-authors to give you a little more insight into the story they’re telling.