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HBO has had an up-and-down run since its juggernaut, Game of Thrones, crashed to an ending in 2019. Since Thrones ended, half of HBO’s linear audience in the focused 18-49 demographic left, and the network turned its attention to HBO Max, a must for HBO to compete in the crowded streaming wars.
As expected, HBO hasn’t found a show to replace the widespread appeal of Thrones, and won’t unless its prequel, House of the Dragon, catches fire early. HBO now relies on shows of smaller magnitudes but with passionate audiences. It has that in both Succession and Barry, two acclaimed award-winners that HBO needs to return sooner rather than later.
Due to pandemic delays, neither show aired in 2020, greatly hurting the appeal of HBO Max when it launched. The good news though is that the network is hopeful both will be back soon.
Deadline reports that HBO is now plotting the two shows’ returns. Casey Bloys, the chief content officer at HBO and HBO Max, says Succession could return by the fourth quarter of 2021 but that COVID will dictate the matter.
“A lot of that will depend on how the vaccine rolls out, how much a factor COVID is,” Bloys says. It’s still very much a real thing in production at the moment, hopefully it gets easier to deal with. It’s hard to predict right now.”
For Barry, its fourth season — not just its upcoming third — is already written. While that is unusual, let’s be real: the show is getting picked back up. Even Bloys admitted as much: “Typically, we don’t pick up things until they air, but if I was betting on whether we would do more, I think that is a very safe bet.”
Succession‘s second season generated a lot of discussion online, though thus far, Barry is the stronger show. It’s phenomenal. Bill Hader plays a hitman, called Barry, who turns into an actor, in both a suspenseful and humorous ride. Interestingly, the show resembles Breaking Bad as the writing team writes itself into impossible corners and wiggles its way out brilliantly. The show is a must-see.
Take nothing away from Succession, it’s good too.
The TV/streaming industry is set for a promising next 12 months with both Succession and Barry ranking near atop of the reasons why.