Four episodes into its freshman run, Syfy’s space drama series The Expanse has been renewed for a second season. The network has increased the order — from 10 episodes in Season 1 to 13 in Season 2, which will air in early 2017.

The Expanse marked the first TV series from Alcon Television Group, which finances and produces it. Because of the long lead time and extensive special effects required, Alcon had commissioned scripts and had started prep work on Season 2 even before the series’ November debut.

The Expanse is firing on all cylinders creatively, building a passionate fan base among viewers and critics alike, and delivering on Syfy’s promise of smart, provocative science fiction entertainment,” said Dave Howe, President, Syfy and Chiller.

Image (3) syfy1__130821213410.jpg for post 721977The Expanse got off to a strong multi-platform start. The premiere episode, made available on VOD, TV Everywhere and digital platforms on November 23, three weeks ahead of its linear debut on the network, has been sampled by 4.5 million viewers. The series’ linear viewership has been OK, not great —  1.6 million Live+3 viewers on average for the first three episodes. For comparison, Syfy drama Defiance averaged almost 2 million viewers (L3) for its most recent third season before being canceled.

Set 200 years in the future, The Expanse, based on the bestselling book series, follows the case of a missing young woman that brings a hardened detective (Thomas Jane) and a rogue ship’s captain (Steven Strait) together in a race across the solar system that will expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

The series, from Alcon and the Sean Daniel Co., returns with new episodes January 5. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children Of Men, Iron Man) serve as writers, executive producers and showrunners. Executive producer Naren Shankar (Farscape) is showrunner. Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson serve as executive producers along with former president of Alcon Television Sharon Hall. Alcon Television executive Ben Roberts serves as co-producer. Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Company are executive producers. Ben Cook serves as a producer.