5 ideas for NBC to stop the Olympics TV ratings decline

The 2022 Winter Olympics are over, and once again NBC is dealing with headlines like these:

Winter Olympics end with smallest audience ever

Beijing Olympic ratings were the worst of any winter games

Winter Olympics deliver smallest viewing audience ever

The persistent “worst Olympics ever” narrative is even leading to articles questioning the business case for NBC’s long-term multi-billion rights deal. 

Declining broadcast TV ratings are nothing new and certainly much of the Games’ plummet is due to factors not deriving from the competition. But that doesn’t make NBC blameless. I think it’s missing the mark on how to view its Olympics deal in the context of the modern entertainment landscape. As I’ve said before, sports are just another type of content now. It’s not “sports and Netflix”, it’s “content”.

NBC stood up its own streaming platform—Peacock—so I’m certain its corporate brass understand it at least part of the way. To put a stop to headlines like these the network’s suits need to treat their Olympics deal as an exclusive library of content no different than they do the Law & Order franchise.

Here’s a look at what great content factories do versus what NBC does with the Olympics.

Great content factories: Have a single platform for delivering content with personalized recommendation engines.

NBC has: Three different apps that present the same content to everyone.

The NBC app hasn’t worked on my Apple TV in more than a week covering the last two days of the Olympics and the Law & Order return. At first crashed after the logo screen. Now it sits on the logo screen indefinitely.

But all was not lost because I can also stream on the Peacock and NBC Sports apps. Wait, why is NBC streaming across three separate apps? There aren’t three Netflixes. There’s just Netflix. What sense does it make to spread your audience across multiple platforms and dilute your ability to scale technology? Do they have a cross-platform profile of me so NBC Sports knows what I was watching on NBC main? This is as dumb as if Hulu separate apps for OTT cable and its owned content library.

I don’t understand NBC’s failure here. If the network wants advertisers to believe its streaming platforms can deliver value that makes up for the decline in linear TV ratings it has to do better.  

(I should also note this is a bigger problem for NBC than the Olympics. Did you know there’s no Golf Channel app for Apple TV? Or Roku. Or Fire TV. You have to find Golf Channel buried in the NBC Sports App or deep in the on-screen guide in the NBC app. This is golf we’re talking about. A sport with obsessive fans. NBC boasts more than 2,200 hours of live golf coverage with no dedicated OTT streaming app. Unreal.)

Great content: Follows a formula the audience is familiar with.

NBC Olympics coverage: Presents Olympics events differently than any other sporting event.

We hear this all the time: “Sports alone won’t draw an audience for the Olympics. You have to tell the human interest stories behind the athletes.” That’s not wrong, but I think declining broadcast ratings show this approach to covering the Games has failed.

Because here’s the thing: Americans watch sports. A lot. That’s conditioned us to receiving sports content in a certain structure. We expect a beginning, consistent action, innings or halftimes to mark key points in the contest, and drama that builds toward a definitive conclusion. 

In my viewing experience NBC consistently fails to present Olympic events in that structure. It spends too much timing cutting away to other sports or sandwiching features throughout the actual game play. That’s jarring for viewers because it clashes with our conditioning. Imagine if Amazon made you watch 15 minutes of backstory on Rachel Brosnahan in the middle of Mrs. Maisel. You’d tune out.

NBC has gone so far down this road that sports don’t look like sporting events anymore. Its broadcasts are too often weird mashups of multiple sports with no dramatic flow, as if the network treats the 3 hours of primetime coverage as the event instead of, you know, the actual competitions. How are we supposed to be engaged with figure skating when there’s a 30-minute half-pipe qualifying segment in the middle of the men’s short program? 

(Side note: I never want to see qualifying on primetime Olympics coverage. Ever. We tune in to see people win and lose medals, not to see them advance to the next round.)

This is sort of understandable when the Games are in a timezone that allows them to be carried live. NBC and the other global broadcast partners have to work with the International Olympic Committee on this. Olympic Games are made-for-TV events, not made-for-in-person events. The IOC must be willing to manipulate the schedule and timing of its events to produce the most compelling sports content possible or it simply won’t provide viewers a compelling reason to tune in.

It’s different when the Games are held in Beijing or Tokyo and primetime is mostly tape delayed. When that’s the case there’s zero excuse to not edit the events together into a format American viewers are used to. Who cares if a sliver of the audience saw the result online 13 hours ago? Without seeing NBC’s internal data I venture to guess the vast majority of the primetime audience watches tape-delayed events not knowing the outcome. Build content for them. The glorious thing about media in 2022 is you can stream the event live for people who want to get up at 3am and air it all again in primetime. What a time to be alive.

Great content factories: Build our bond with actors and writers.

NBC: Has too few endearing broadcasters.

How can NBC create connection with viewers when Olympic athletes come and go? By giving us consistent broadcasters. Voices like Jim McKay, Bob Costas and Al Michaels are part of Olympic history precisely because we repeatedly associated them with the Games’ biggest moments and brightest stars. 

Just like having great writers helps publishers build a loyal user base, great broadcasters can help NBC build a connection to viewers that endures from Games to Games. We should want to tune in for Mike Tirico or Ted Robinson (who’s buried on short track speed skating) as much as we want to see the athletes. We’re never going to have that connection with Bill Doleman, Shane Bacon, Leigh Diffey, Steve Schlanger, Jason Knapp, Trace Worthington or Todd Harris. I devoured primetime content for the past two Winter Olympics and still had to look up those names. Hollywood content studios already know viewers will watch a show just because it’s from Shonda Rhimes or stars an actor who they locked up in a first-look deal. NBC has to approach its broadcasters the same way if it wants to build an audience that will tune in every two years. 

But here’s the problem: Unlike FOX, CBS and ABC/ESPN, NBC lacks the pro and college sports deals necessary for discovering and grooming new voices. Instead the network focuses on marquee deals with the NFL, USGA, Notre Dame football and Triple Crown horse racing. You’re not going to put green play-by-play announcers on those properties. Without a farm system there’s really no way to find someone new without poaching them from one of the bigger sports networks.

I think there’s a way out of this though, and it leads to my next obstacle for NBC to tackle…

Great content platforms: Keep you coming back for more.

NBC: All but ignores Olympic sports outside the Games.

In a world where sports are just content you can’t rely on drawing a massive audience with infrequent tentpole content. I’m aware of no television show or publisher who succeeds putting out content once every four years. Yet that is exactly how NBC treats the Olympics. No wonder it’s hemorrhaging viewers. You can’t expect anyone to be loyal to that content calendar. TV shows put out new seasons every year for a reason. 

Fixing this is where things get serious and expensive for the network. 

Most of us pay no attention to Olympic sports outside of the Summer and Winter Games. NBC needs to change this behaviour and view the cost as a necessary investment to get a return on the $7,750,000,000 it spent buying Olympic rights. NBC Sports Network would have been—should have been—the perfect platform for this. Heads should roll at NBC HQ for that failure because it directly relates to being unable to build a stable audience for the real Olympic Games. The stakes are too high to fall on your face this hard and keep your job. But it happened and it’s time to figure out how to use its remaining properties to help these sports earn a bigger piece of our sports consciousness. 

The IOC has a role to play here, too. To keep itself relevant it needs broadcasters. Broadcasters need advertisers. Advertisers follow viewers. The IOC has to understand all of that is downstream from expanding the fan base of Olympic sports. It should view this similar to MBL’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities or First Tee, a joint nonprofit funded by some of American golf’s most prominent governing bodies.

Great content platforms: Make it easier to find what you want.

NBC: Does anyone know when curling is on?

The last obstacle NBC has to solve should be the easiest: Offering a clear broadcast schedule. We’re living in the age of apps. We should be able to download the NBC app and set up custom schedules with alerts when a broadcast goes live (and just for when a broadcast goes live, not with the results). If there’s a way to do this, I couldn’t find it. 

Trying to deduce the schedule for a particular sport through the OTT apps brings us back to the first problem: The apps are terrible. They’re hard to navigate and there’s almost no consistency between NBC, Peacock and NBC Sports. But for the peacock logo you wouldn’t even know they’re from the same company. If you’re not compelled by the announcer and you haven’t watched it in four years, are you really going to work this hard to find when rhythmic gymnastics is going to be on? Well okay maybe yes because it’s the best Summer Olympics sport. But you get my drift. At some point if content is too hard to find you move on to something else. I can tell you right now new episodes of 1883 come out on Sundays, Mrs. Maisel on Fridays and Law & Order on Thursdays. I should be able to tell you when the ski cross final airs.

Thank you, loyal reader, for sticking with this incredibly long post. The moral of the story boils down to this: NBC seems willing to buy the rights to broadcast Olympic content, but unwilling to invest in making it successful. It will continue to face recurring stories about historically low TV ratings until it recognizes that sports are just content and figures out how to deliver the Games in a way that’s relevant to the modern audience.

Yellowjackets: My thoughts plus a bombshell theory

Yellowjacket’s creators said they “get very irritated with shows that drag everything on forever and don’t give you any answers” but that’s exactly what they did with Showtime’s most recent hit series. Questions raised in a thrilling pilot go unaddressed for seven lackluster episodes until the final two installments finally begin to deliver the show’s promise to tell us how a team of high school soccer players turned to canabilism in the Canadian wilderness.

The pilot opens with an unidentified girl running through a snowy forest, clearly frightened for her life. We learn that’s for good reason when she falls a hidden pit lined with spikes. Later she’s hung upside down, bled out and eaten by a bunch of costumed weirdos. Okay sweet, we’re gonna get the payoff for that this season. Wrong! After its first 10-episode run we don’t know who fell in the hole and only have a hint toward who ate her.

Talk about irritating.

My first note during the pilot was “Something obviously happened to these girls beyond a plane crash. They mystery is what.” That’s easy enough to understand and watch for, but I spent most of the season wondering what they were exploring within that construct. I guess the story is how these four adult women cannot escape a horrible experience they all shared as girls. I get all of that, and it’s well done because of the excellent acting. But until we start to see the truly awful things they did to survive I can’t really buy into it. 

Speaking of surviving, there’s precious little story devoted to how they manage to get by day-to-day. Like La Brea, Yellowjackets gives a cursory explanation for how they get food and that’s about it. Why not use the survival requirements of living in the woods to show us who these girls are? That would have been more compelling than using the Canadian wilderness as proxy for a high school, which is basically what we got. Other than a few references to “weeks” there’s no concrete sense of how much time is passing either. We give TV a pass for having stranded characters with great hair and clean shaves, but it needs to give us at least some sense of the passing time so we can understand how much ordeal the characters have been through. 

There is a lot of good here though. Like I said the acting is strong. The casting of actors who look so much like their older and younger counterparts is downright eerie. We also get a few really solid spook moments that will make you question why you decided to watch this show alone in the dark. 

There is apparently a five-season arc for this series, in direct violation of my YOBO principle. Yellowjackets is full of strong acting and that’s why I’ll be around for season two, but it needs to do better to earn those last three.

Some more annoyances:

The reporter shows up in episode one and I’m thinking great, that’s who they will use to mirror what the audience is thinking. Similar to how Hurley became the voice of the fans on Lost. Wrong! She spent most of season one chained up in Misty’s basement. Why? We don’t need that to know Misty is a psychopath. If this is part of the five-season plan that will flare up later when the adult survivors learn Taissa is the one who hired her then great. But parking her character in chains for the season was a complete waste.

After a werewolf bites Van’s face through to the bone, her friends throw her on a stack of wood and start her on fire WITHOUT CHECKING TO MAKE SURE SHE’S DEAD. It’s completely implausible to me that no one would say hey maybe check her pulse before we burn her corpse. I know we’re teenagers stranded in the woods here but come on. This is Showtime, not daytime. 

In the same episode as they nearly burnt Van, adult Shauna and Taissa have a long talk about what they thought their futures would be. Shauna revealed she was going to Brown, Taissa laid out a plan that largely came true. Wait a minute. These girls were stranded together for 19 months and never once talked about this? I cannot buy it.

They cleared an entire runway with little axes. Please. How amazing that the only spot in this vast wilderness with zero trees happened to be straight ahead of this little prop plane. 

I know 1996 was, like, eons of technology ago. But we seriously couldn’t track an airplane across Canada? I don’t believe that. The players ignored the pre-flight announcement about altering their flight plan to avoid bad weather but the writers clearly wanted us to hear it. This isn’t Oceanic 815 going astray over the open ocean. 

And finally, my bombshell theory: The girls are still out there. The four adult survivors—Shauna, Taissa, Misty, Natalie—share more than a fanatical devotion to silence about their ordeal. They seemingly live in constant fear of people finding out what they did “out there.” But if everyone else is dead, what is there to fear? Society frowns on canibalism but I think will give them a pass here. No, I think they fear the girls who are still out there. Still in the woods. Still eating…still surviving. 

That’s the kind of thing that would scare people this brave dead silent. And maybe make this show memorable. 

I got Netflix! Squid Game, Ozark and The Queen’s Gambit reviewed

You would think the author of a well-read television blog would have Netflix. You’d be wrong. My relationship with it (and all the streamers except Paramount+) has been full of one-month stands. Get caught up, get my clothes, get out by breakfast. That’s how we’ve been. But over the holidays I mooched my brother’s subscription and ended up getting my own so I could finish the list of shows I started.

Here then are my thoughts on three of Netflix’s most popular shows in recent years: Squid Game, Ozark and The Queen’s Gambit.

Squid Game

Squid Game is, without a doubt, the most difficult show I’ve ever watched. Not because it was hard to understand or bad (it was neither) but because I had to work so hard to find pleasure in it. 

This show is built around death. Rampant, unrepentant, graphic death. No one is coming to save the 456 players who bet their lives on a chance claim the $38 million prize. Misery is everywhere. Death awaits for all but one. 

Uff-da.

There are no heroes in Squid Game. But there are sympathetic characters. It was seriously failing my who are these people and why should I care test for the first few episodes until I understood the characters were experiencing the same misery and dread I was as a viewer. Marvelous! I never felt stuck on an island during Lost or fighting for the crown on Game of Thrones. Knowing I would be hit with scene after scene of violent death gave me something in the characters I sympathize with. Not just that there would be more death, though. That there would be death for every character except the one who won the final game.

Squid Game’s creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, said expanding the story from a movie to a TV show let him “focus on the relationships between people [and] the stories that each of the people had.” That’s what made the show work. You watch players form relationships knowing they might have to look each other in the eye and kill each other in the next game. Building bonds with other humans is supposed to be joyful and exciting. Being in the Squid Game wouldn’t allow participants or viewers to experience any such thing. Even winning does not bring relief. How could you be elated to have all the money you could ever dream of if you got it this way?

Squid Game wants you to think the financiers who watch the players (quite ridiculously, I might add. Easily the low point of the series.) are the show’s villains. They certainly are awful people. But I nominate a different character: Oh Il-nam. This bastard played the game knowing they wouldn’t let him die. For that, I hate him. 

One last note: I recommend watching with the original Korean dialogue and English subtitles. That way you get the emotion the actors intend in their performance.  

Ozark

Marty Byrde is the most pragmatic of bastards. Nothing phases this guy because he’s never thinking about what just happened, as if The Langoliers wipe the past from his memory. In Ozark’s first episode, he watches a Mexican drug lord shoot a woman through a bathroom door simply for knowing her boyfriend—Marty’s business partner—launders drug money. Does Marty Byrde dwell on this? No. He takes her murder, and the subsequent execution of his partner’s father and his partner, in stride. Instead of becoming the fourth victim of the night he convinces the drug lord to let him move to the Ozarks and continue to launder narcotics money by investing in unsuspecting businesses. 

Marty Byrde concocts this plan on his knees with a gun to his head. 

But it’s not a desperate plea. Jason Bateman is too good at this role to make you believe anything other than Marty Byrde had this plan in his back pocket for years to use in this exact situation. In reality he never heard of the Ozarks until his partner showed him a travel brochure earlier that afternoon.

And Marty is, by any measure, a bastard. He has no remaining affection for his wife, Wendy, after finding out she is sleeping with another man. But in an interesting and appreciated twist, Wendy knows Marty’s dirty deeds. In fact, she signed off on his initial decision to start laundering money for the cartel. 

I loved this, and it made me start to see Ozark in the style of House of Cards. Marty and Wendy do not have a romantic marriage. Maybe they once did, but his affair and the strains of money laundering squelched it. They are Frank and Claire Underwood now. It’s easy to envision Marty and Wendy as what Frank and Claire would have become if they children to worry about.

They also solve problems the same way the Underwoods did. Which is to say they don’t solve them at all. Instead of fixing whatever is wrong they patch over it with a new problem that itself will get “solved” with yet another problem. Marty launders money and Wendy manipulates politics but their real skill is managing this Ponzi scheme of problems they build around them. That was one of my favourite things about House of Cards and it’s my favourite thing about Ozark. The train goes off the track and keeps tumbling down the hill, picking up speed until it hits the ground with the force of a shot to the head. *wink wink*

Wendy is no slouch in the bastard department either. She spends zero time wallowing in having her life uprooted and gets right to work keeping her family alive. She turns on both of her children and her brother at different points in the story. Laura Linney deserves the awards. 

I suppose of the Underwoods had children they would be a lot like Charlotte and Jonah Byrde. Angry. Rebellious. Whip smart. Resigned to the destiny their parents’ poor choices fated on them. 

The rest of the show is just sharp. Hollywood is often guilty of reducing “rural” characters to being dumb as rocks so the “smarter” characters can coach them up or save them. Not Ozark. It gives its rednecks credit for the lives they’ve led and makes them the ability to control their own storylines. Introducing Jacob Snell first before revealing his wife, Darlene, as the true queen of their local drug empire is a fantastic misdirection. There is no such sleight of hand with introducing Ruth Langmore. You know from her first scene to be on guard anytime she cocks her shotgun at you. They’re women, they’re strong and along with Wendy Byrde they push the story forward just as often as the male characters. Good for Ozark. 

I’ve heard people compare Ozark to Breaking Bad. I sort of see it. Marty gives in to the temptation to use his brilliance at a very pedestrian skill for a life of crime; Wendy decides to go bad when it means keeping her family safe. But I think the comparison misunderstands Breaking Bad more than it understands Ozark.

To me, Breaking Bad was the story of what a proud father would do to provide for his family if fear was not an option, and it explored that question through Walt’s relationship with Jesse. Every aspect of its story was downstream from those two characters coming together. I don’t feel the same foundation with Ozark. Heisenberg was absolutely fearless, but the Byrdes live under the constant specter of what happens to their family if they fail. (I think this article makes a solid point about Wendy being more like Walt than Marty, but she’s not the protagonist of her own story until life forces her to be.) And while it’s true the events of Ozark are downstream from Marty and Wendy’s joint decision for him to begin working with the cartel, they do it initially out of simple greed. It’s a conscious decision less forced on them than Walt’s decision to go into business with Jesse Pinkman after realizing what losing him would mean for his family. To the extent anyone is really forced to become a drug kingpin, I suppose.

The Queen’s Gambit

If you fictionalized the real-life story of Tiger Woods I think it would come out looking like The Queen’s Gambit.

That’s what I kept thinking watching Elizabeth Harmon’s addiction lay in wait to derail her meteoric chess career. From the first moment 8-year-old Beth sat down at the chess board with basement-dwelling janitor Mr. Shaibel, she was destined to be the greatest in the world. She beat everyone older than her, better than her and especially everyone who underestimated her. She devoured the art and science of the game to become invincible. 

But like Tiger, Beth teetered on the edge of ruin for too long to avoid falling. The same obsessive personality that made her a chess prodigy made her an addict. It nearly cost her everything. 

All of that comes together because Anna Taylor-Joy is perfectly cast. It’s tremendous to see an actor and a role unite this well. My interest in the show waned as Beth’s arc became clear, so this is what kept me on the couch past the halfway point. She deservedly won a shelf full of awards. 

One last note: I would watch the spin-off with Beth’s friend Jolene. 

Winter 2021 quick hits: Big Bang Theory, The Undoing, Dexter

Big Bang Theory

I’ve struggled with comedy shows for the longest time. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. “I’m funny,” I would say. “Why would I want to watch other people be funny?” Except my viewing habits kept proving this wrong. I loved everything about Silicon Valley, devoured The Good Place with total enjoyment and stuck with Veep all the way to that weird ending.

So I tried more. I had a brief fling with Man With a Plan, but later realized the bond I felt from attending a taping was no bond at all. 30 Rock and I carried on a summer fling that grew stale when we tried to go steady. How I Met Your Mother gave me vibes before I ghosted it, though we may find our way back to each other in the someday. Insecure’s “broken pussy” had me rolling on the floor until that, too, grew stale. 

Now I have HBO Max (for Succession) and gave Big Bang Theory a shot. Like Insecure, the first episode was fantastic and earned legitimate laughs. Sheldon, the only character I really knew about going into it, was hilarious and wonderfully acted. It was evident why this became the biggest network sitcom since Friends. 

Except after watching the first 12 episodes I couldn’t stand it…because of Sheldon. His humor didn’t so much wear out as it transitioned to outright bullying his friends on every decision they make. He’s so loathsome I flat out hate him as a person and feel sorry for his friends for being his friends. Most of the time the show indulges in how awful he is, and there’s little enjoyment when it does.

That seemed to abate in season two, as if the writers realized this guy was literally the worst and had to soften him. I also enjoy how they haven’t made Penny into a stereotypical TV doofus. For her character to work—and in a way for this early version of the show to work—Penny has to be more intelligent than the men across the hall. 

Succession is over now, so I cancelled HBO. But I’ll pickup BBT again when I have it back. 

The Undoing

Have you ever felt like a TV series is cheating? That’s how I felt watching HBO’s The Undoing. Murder mysteries are supposed to come with rules about how key facts are revealed so viewers know we are watching a legitimate piece of storytelling. Good shows play into a shared set of rules, great shows establish their own. Bad shows run on showrunner’s whim. 

The Undoing is on showrunner’s whim. There was no mystery about who dunnit after the end of the first episode, but subsequent “reveals” seemed more like outright lies meant to make viewers think there was any actual mystery here. Nicole Kidman’s talents are mostly wasted. Hugh Grant is actually decent as a bad guy. Lily Rabe dominates every scene she’s in (like always). If you like marquee actors you’ll like The Undoing. But it’ll also piss you off. 

Dexter

I binged the first two seasons of Dexter a long time ago when that was all they had on Netflix. With it being on Amazon Prime now I figured I’d try reconciling. We really hit it off. Season two ended the Bay Harbor Butcher storyline, so I didn’t have to remember much besides Dexter is a serial killer and his sister hasn’t found out yet. That’s the show.

Season three’s self-contained storyline made good use of Jimmy Smits as Dexter’s first partner (in serial killing, not forensic analysis). I think that was a smart move at this point in the series because it opened a new avenue to explore its main character and sidestep the Criminal Minds “how many different ways are there to kill a guy?” Problem. It’s easy to imagine a version of Dexter that ran out of steam trying to re-run the same formula that succeeded in its first two seasons. Getting married and having a baby will bring the same fresh energy to his character in season four. I’ll get to that eventually. 

I hope Kendall Roy is dead

No offense to him personally, but I hope Kendall Roy stays underwater long enough to drown. Why would I say such a mean thing?

Because Succession’s third season has been an almost total bore. It took four episodes to get to the vote that determined who would control Waystar Royco, and only when episode five was solely devoted to the shareholder meeting did we get an episode that lived up to this show’s high standard. So did the next week when the characters decamped to a political gathering where Logan anointed the next Republican presidential candidate. Okay, Succession is back!

Wrong. The next episode brought the FTC investigation to a whimpering end. Then we got Kendall’s birthday party, which was a total bore. This week’s episode took the whole family to Tuscany for their mom’s wedding and ended with Kendall passing out in a pool. Is he really going to drown or is this just a big tease?

I hope he’s going to drown. 

The only redeeming quality to this season is if the purpose to everything I found boring is to drive Kendall so deep into depression that he commits suicide. Every issue I have with the show would be solved if that’s what happens:

Kendall was exposed as an empty suit. Kendall triggered the Roy family nuclear option at the end of season two, and it turned out to be all he had. When he tried to play Mr. Big Balls Businessman all he could do is spew bro cliches to a team of yes-men who didn’t fear or respect him the way people do his father. He couldn’t get the FTC to bite on an investigation and couldn’t recruit his siblings his side against Logan. He couldn’t throw an epic birthday bash and couldn’t even get his brother, Connor, to take off his coat. He couldn’t even get through a conversation with his father about disinheriting himself without Logan utterly destroying him. That’s boring as a character arc unless its purpose is to drive him to such a drastic outcome.

Logan never loses. It’s okay for Victor Newman to always come out ahead because The Young & The Restless is a daytime drama. Succession is primetime on a premium channel and should make its characters endure failure. Tom puts this into focus at the end of Kendall’s failed attempt to get him to jump ship when he tells Kendall he’s never once seen Logan Roy get fucked. It’s time for Logan to get fucked, and the only people who can do that are Kendall, Roman or Shiv. The later two are still too busy jockeying for their father’s affirmation. It has to be Kendall.

The Roys never face real consequences. The Roys are that ultra-rich family who rolls in pig shit and comes out smelling like a rose. Protect a child molester? Cover up sexual assaults on cruises? Cover up your drug-addicted son killing a waiter? Doesn’t matter. The Roys lose nothing. I want to see them deal with the fact that none of them recognized their brother’s descent into suicidal depression because they were so focused on “the firm”. I want to see them suffer the consequence of their actions for once in their miserably wealthy lives. 

What would Succession look like without Kendall? I don’t know. I’ve always thought the show was told from his perspective, so it would have to be fundamentally different. It would certainly suffer from losing Jeremy Strong’s outstanding acting. 

But this season has proven we need a new way to explore these characters. We’ve learned all we can from watching them fight for control of the company. Let’s see how they react to the irreversible outcome of Kendall’s death.