succession has come to an end after the broadcast of its fourth season. In this time it has become an essential bastion of HBO, and one of the series that reminds us of what kind of creative values the channel was founded on. It is a series that can be perfectly measured in terms of quality with ‘the sopranos‘, ‘The Wire’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and other prestigious series on the platform, but its magnificent closing leaves a question floating in the air: what now?
A triumphant race. ‘Succession’ has been the last great critical success of the Warner chain. Critically acclaimed from virtually its inception, the series caught the public’s attention through word of mouth as well as consistent Emmy wins since 2019. The series has accumulated 45 awards and nominations, where it has won the Best Series award twice and where practically all of its exceptional cast have been awarded over the years. It has also won Best Series twice at the Golden Globes.
A complicated timing. However, HBO has implemented a curious broadcast schedule with her that has made her coincide with nothing less than ‘Barry‘, “the other” prestigious series that the channel currently has. ‘Barry’ (nominated 44 times for an Emmy) has been broadcast practically at the same time as ‘Succession’. The fourth and final seasons of ‘Succession’ and ‘Barry’ aired from March 26 and April 16 respectively and have both ended on May 28, with both finals issued one after the other. Simultaneously HBO has run out of its last two great series.
And despite everything, he succeeded. There is little doubt that this season has been heating up on social networks to generate unusual interest in its finale. The swerve that he gave at the beginning of the season, with an old but always impressive trick, created an expectation that has been growing week by week until reaching spectacular figures at its conclusion: 2.9 million people watched the series finale on HBO and Max on Sunday night, setting the all-time record for the series, which was at 2.75 million viewers for episode 6 of this season, and an average of 8.7 per episode, counting viewers who do not see it live (cable plus streaming).
There is much more… Warner knows that it doesn’t have such an iconic title coming soon, and has been quick to cushion the end of these series with a reminder of everything that is yet to come or has just been released. And the truth is that Max’s, the platform born after the death of HBO Max in the United States and its split in two, is a triumphant catalogue. Insisting on his slogan “The One to Watch”, Max highlights current and future series such as ‘The Penguin’, ‘The Idol’, ‘The Gilded Age’, the new season of ‘True Detective’, ‘The Regime’, ‘The Sympathizer’ or ‘Reality’, among many others.
…but an icon is missing. ‘Succession’ had something that most of these series will not have, the majority of extraordinary quality but that run the risk of being buried in the tsunami of news and platforms each week: iconic potential. The Jesse Armstrong series has spawned social media accounts ranging from tracking (and pricing) to the models that the characters wear to create memes with the kendall vinegar faces. succession generate commentnot just disposable memes, and that is something that excellent series like ‘The Righteous Gemstones’, of high quality but less charismatic, do not achieve.
It’s not just a matter of image. TV pundit Ryan Broderick commented on Twitter which, despite the high audience figures achieved, are not comparable to what hits of the past like ‘Mad Men’ obtained (with peaks of 4.7 million, and that’s not to mention crazy audiences like ‘Game of Thrones’ ‘). But it is not a question of qualities, but of the platforms: the streaming makes more people watch the series spread over time. Those 4.7 million viewers are from the premiere, but how many will see the end quietly in future weeks? It is the paradox of streaming: more viewers, less chance to use figures as a promotional tool.
We will never have an HBO like before. And therein lies the answer: ‘Succession’ is not like ‘The Sopranos’ because it can no longer be: the figures have been diluted, the way of consuming too. ‘Game of Thrones’, that hinge between old television models and the imminent avalanche of streaming, It was a slam after which there was no turning back. And if there is nothing comparable now to what ‘The Sopranos’ was, it is also clear that series-events like ‘Succession’ will be, more and more, isolated phenomena: depending on how they fall on social networks, on their ability to go viral. , and praying in each episode not to be buried by the dozen other episodes, from other series, from other platforms that week.
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After the end of ‘Succession’, HBO faces an unknown: what does it have that can fill its gap