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The Epic Sci-Fi Series Fans Of Altered Carbon Need To Binge

Altered Carbon became yet another sci-fi series canceled before its time when Netflix dropped the axe on the show after just two seasons. The premature end to Takeshi Kovacs' (Joel Kinnaman and Anthony Mackie) story will haunt fans for years to come, but if there's any upside to Altered Carbon's demise, it's that it could lead more viewers to binge Amazon's epic sci-fi show, The Expanse. Like Netflix's canceled series, The Expanse imagines a dystopian society where the corruption of the rich subjugates the poor, and they both feature central mysteries that wouldn't be out of place in a hard-boiled detective novel, minus all of the body swapping and space drama. The biggest difference between them is that while Altered Carbon fans had their favorite series abruptly ended without a proper ending, The Expanse is heading into its fifth season, 

In a world where sci-fi shows are often the victim of early cancellations, The Expanse owes its longevity to a passionate fan base, and the good people over at Amazon who saw fit to swoop in and rescue the show when Syfy gave it the pink slip at the end of season three. Thanks to its new home on the streamer, The Expanse has a more welcoming place to live up to its title. And much like Altered Carbon, the Amazon series has a dense mythology, with layers of conspiracies and futuristic politics to navigate.

Basically, it's a proverbial feast for anyone still wondering how Kovacs was going to return for a third time after his self-sacrificial Altered Carbon ending.

The Expanse blends mystery and sci-fi elements together to create a complex story that rewards patience

Much like Altered Carbon's effective use of a mystery as a hook to get viewers invested in the high concept idea of uploading a person's consciousness into a new body, The Expanse kicks off season one with a missing persons case that has far-reaching consequences. The show's hardened detective Joe Miller (former Punisher star Thomas Jane) begins the series by scouring every backwater planet he finds for Julie Mao (Florence Faivre), the missing daughter of a business tycoon. Elsewhere, the explosion of a space freighter is also connected to Julie's disappearance, creating an overarching mystery that connects the show's large cast of characters together.

While Altered Carbon is primarily focused on Kovacs, The Expanse is a true ensemble piece. The large cast is scattered across the galaxy, with some stories taking place on a spaceship, while others play out on Earth. This gives the show an epic feel that encourages viewers to lose themselves in the complexity of the story.

As the series progresses, the primary hub for most of the characters becomes the Martian gunship the Rocinante. The Rocinante and its crew intersect with Miller and his case in an exciting way that also launches even more intricate planet-hopping tales in future seasons. And while the mystery of what happened to Julie is solved by the end of season one, The Expanse just keeps on delivering new twists and turns that raise the stakes every season.

The Expanse fans know the pain of an early cancellation

The Expanse began its life as a show on Syfy, and for three seasons it garnered a small, but loyal fan base there. Unfortunately, in 2018, Syfy canceled the show, sparking a fan campaign to find The Expanse a new home that found supporters in the likes of George R.R. Martin, Wil Wheaton, and Patton Oswalt, as reported by The Independent. Amazon heard their call — and saw their planes — which led to Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke giving the series an order for season four, and subsequently, season five.

Yes, planes. As Salke said to Deadline in 2018. "There were airplanes circling us, I was having cakes delivered, there was a whole thing happening. And then really smart people, whose opinions I really value creatively, started reaching out to me, saying, 'have you seen this show, The Expanse, it's actually great.' I hadn't so I spent some time, I watched the show and I was like, this show is actually really well done, why is nobody watching it?"

Thanks to the passion and support of famous and regular fans alike, The Expanse is still going strong. And while nothing will ever fully replace the bold creativity of Altered Carbon, there's plenty of room on the Rocinante for everyone.