Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The power and legacy of ‘Succession’s’ series ending announcement

With a show as popular as HBO’s ‘Succession,’ why has the show suddenly announced its series finale?
Photo courtesy of Succession’s offical Facebook page

Many television fans have experienced the delicate period after a show’s season finale, waiting on social media to see if their program gets renewed or meets an unfortunate end. For many fans, especially in recent years, it tends to be the latter, seeing potential get thrown to the side without hesitation. However, it is much less uncommon to see a combination of renewal and cancellation intertwining.

Almost a month away from the fourth season’s premiere, the HBO exclusive show “Succession” announced it would be ending. For the record, the show’s ending was completely unexpected and was shown nowhere on the previous marketing prior to the announcement on Feb. 23, 2023. A show’s cancellation could be due to low viewership, lack of budgeting, main cast passing away or a plethora of other reasons. None of these, however, were the case for “Succession” and in fact, were quite the opposite.

From the show’s beginning, it had brought major success and viewership to HBO’s streaming service. As stated by The Hollywood Reporter, “The premiere had the best opening night performance of any HBO series since HBO Max launched in May 2020,” which was a major feat to achieve. From the start onward, the show has steadily had over a million views, only growing as the story expanded. In addition to the abrupt cancellation, many fans of the show flocked to social media to experience their grievances and distraught state. Many accounts posted clips from the show to emulate their frustration, one in particular being the character Kendall Roy screaming into a suit. But despite the outrage, the show had no intention of changing its mind, considering the showrunner was the one to choose this.

Jesse Armstrong, the show’s creator and showrunner, came out in an interview with The New Yorker stating his reason behind the decision. When asked his reasoning for ending the show with such high momentum, Armstrong explained his thought process in full length and detail. To briefly summarize, he brainstormed with his writers and considered where the story was progressing towards. With many ideas bouncing around the writer’s room, it seemed like the Roy family’s story reached a natural conclusion for Season 4. After fans had read his explanation, they understood the direction and decision, although many were still disappointed by the announcement.

Show creators have pulled the plug on their own creations in the past, but this phenomenon is very few and far between. The other two most prominent shows were “The Good Place” and “Gravity Falls” respectively, both targeted very differing audiences. However, the common factor to these series was how beloved their endings were and still are in the public consciousness. In comparison, another HBO show, “Game of Thrones” had an overwhelming amount of popularity, but it crumbled with a lackluster final season.

It is an undeniable fact that many shows do not get the luxury to end the show when it feels deemed. Especially during and after the pandemic, it seems like with each show that premieres another gets discarded in its place. Every few months, I’ll see hashtags holding out hope that shows from 2020 will be renewed and able to continue their story. Unfortunately, in an industry as cut-and-dry as television, many of these fans (and often time show creators) get promptly ignored time and time again.

There have been shows that have very intriguing histories in terms of cancellation and renewal. One prominent example that comes to mind is the CW show “Supernatural,” which was intended to end after its 5th season. However, the CW saw the popularity and rating, thus renewing the property and eventually ending in 2020 during its 15th season. Jesse Armstrong seems adamant at the current time about wrapping up the show during the 4th season, but it will be interesting to see if the Roys end up on our screens in the future.

Sierra Thornton can be reached at [email protected]

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