If you happen to be a fan of all three of these hit television shows, you just had a hell of a week (or a terrible one depending on how you felt with each show’s ending).
Apple TV’s Ted Lasso and HBO’s Succession and Barry somehow all lined up to air their series finales in just a matter of days. The Jason Sudeikis led soccer show that swept the entire world off its feet during the pandemic unexpectedly wrapped up last night, while the uber-popular Succession and the comedy-drama Barry aired their final episodes this past Sunday.
Succession and Barry actually even aired back-to-back on HBO Sunday night.
This article won’t have any spoilers for any of the series finales that graced television screens in the past four days, so there’s no need to worry about that. Instead, the focus is on the short but impactful runs that each program had and how mesmerizing it is to have them all end so close together.
Ask any TV critic what the best show on television has been in recent years and you will hear the name of one of these three masterpieces.
The high-shelf, esteemed critic will answer with the dark comedy-drama Succession, the “I just want to be happy” commentator would say the feel-good, positive-vibes-only Ted Lasso, and the deep cut appreciating individual will throw out the less commercially successful Barry.
Any one person could make any one argument about why each of these three shows was the best of the best on TV.Now, all of them have wrapped up their story arcs, leaving a gaping void in entertainment and making the question of “TV’s top show” much harder to answer.
HBO’s Succession, which ran for four seasons, was arguably the most watched and most popular of the three. A family drama revolving around corporate greed and lust for money and power had viewers tuned in every week, anxiously waiting to see how the family owned media company panned out each and every episode.
I said no spoilers earlier, but if you consider still shots from the series finale a “spoiler,” then look away (and continue scrolling).
The dramatic ending to Succession left one of the main characters sitting on a bench, mindlessly gazing out at the Hudson River, and that exact emotional reaction is the same that many fans are having as their favorite show (and possibly one of TV’s best ever) comes to a close.
As for Ted Lasso, no one really expected the show with an American football coach heading overseas to coach European football (soccer) to be a staggering success.
Various networks passed on the idea for an overly positive coach in Jason Sudeikis (former SNL star) bringing a struggling soccer team back to glory, and now they are worse off that they missed the opportunity.
For viewers of the Apple TV show, they are instead better off for watching it and falling in love with it. The show couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, acting as a beacon of light and positivity during a dark and stressful time in 2020.
What makes it tougher for the end of Ted Lasso is that no one knew it was the end until a couple of days before the season 3 finale (which ended up being the series finale) was to air. The first clue was sent out by none other than Ted Lasso himself on Twitter, saying:
“A few years ago I hopped on a plane with Coach Beard headin’ to a little town in London. Tonight we play our final match.
It’s like what I say about the films of David Lynch. I can’t tell you what’s happenin’, but I sure as heck don’t want it to end.”
A few years ago I hopped on a plane with Coach Beard headin' to a little town in London. Tonight we play our final match.
It's like what I say about the films of David Lynch. I can't tell you what's happenin', but I sure as heck don't want it to end. https://t.co/6BZss7vh3q
Thus, a fictional sports team and their coaching staff wrap up their third and final season telling the story that they wanted to tell. I applaud Ted Lasso for going out on top and not stretching out the story just for profit, as many modern shows do.
However, doing so doesn’t make it any easier for Ted Lasso fans. Certainly not when Lasso’s AFC Richmond team sends out this on social media:
Finally, the lesser known but oh-so-remarkable show Barry led by Bill Hader (another SNL alumni) deserved better than to be overshadowed by the bigger HBO show Succession.
A show about hitman who gets sidetracked on a job and falls in love with acting in Los Angeles is as unique a premise that you’ll ever see on TV. Many doubted Bill as the leading man in a comedy-drama that slowly morphed and dropped the comedy pre-fix as the seasons rolled on, but Hader ultimately over-delivered as both a lead man and a director.
Key moments in the show’s four season run (you’ll know if you’ve watched it) will stick with viewers and aspiring directors for many years to come.
In a show that began with the expectation of delivering laughs mixed in with dramatic moments, the progression of the story with each episode showed that the mask of the show was actually the comedy while the underlying face was the drama all along.
You maybe have never even heard of the show Barry, and now that it’s ended, you have the perfect opportunity to binge watch the thirty two 30-minute episodes that make up the entirety of the series.
Investing time into shows creates a feeling of belonging amongst the viewing group, and when a show delivers its story and finishes with a thudding finality, viewers are left with a true feeling of loss.
And with that finality, three of TV’s heavy hitters just had their curtain call, and without an encore, the title of “television’s best” is back up for grabs.