I just watched the best season of TV I've ever seen — and it's on HBO Max

A hand holds a phone with the HBO Max logo on it in front of a grid of other images
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Earlier this year I wrote about finally giving Succession a try, and being absolutely floored by its quality. To say it lived up to its reputation would be an understatement, and it's comfortably one of the best show on HBO Max (itself the best streaming service).

But since I don’t particularly like binge-watching, I held off from watching season three after speeding through the first two seasons in quick succession (pun intended) back in April. This was to both avoid burning out on the series, and also to stretch the currently available episodes a little longer as Succession season 4 is likely several months away. 

Well last week, I decided I’d waited long enough for a reunion with the Roys and started up the latest season of Succession. My plan has been to slowly watch over a couple of weeks, but that idea quickly fell apart when I consumed the entire season over a single weekend. Whoops. 

Somehow, the third season of Succession takes what was already a landmark show and elevates it to a whole new level. If my last article on the show was a strong recommendation to watch, then consider this me imploring you to begin Succession right now if you’ve not already, it’s better than anything else currently on TV. 

Succession is going from strength to strength 

Succession promotional shot featuring Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Brain Cox, Sarah Snook and Alan Ruck

(Image credit: HBO)

I’m conscious of divulging major spoilers here, so I’m going to avoid getting too specific, but in summary: Succession season three is probably the best season of TV I’ve ever watched. 

While the first two seasons of Succession are both very good (and I cannot stress that enough), there is an argument to be made that towards the end of its sophomore season the show gets a little repetitive. The business machinations of the powerful Roy family start to feel a little cyclical, and the bulk of season two is focused on an ambitious takeover of a rival company that is maybe dragged on a tad too long. 

However, season three completely blows up the formula but not in the way that most viewers expected after the dramatic climax of season two. While the focus is still ostensibly on which child of business tycoon Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is going to take over his multimedia empire, the show dedicates much of its third season to an intense character study of Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong). 

It's birthday party time for Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in Succession season 3 episode 7

(Image credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

I’ve previously praised Strong for his portrayal of the Kendall but in the latter half of season three, he pulls off a performance that rivals some of the greatest in TV history. This is not to say that the likes of Cox, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck and Nicholas Braun aren’t all excellent as well, but Strong is Succession's real ace and his Golden Globe award earlier this year was truly deserved. 

One of the things I appreciate most about Succession is that after three seasons and 29 episodes, it still manages to surprise me constantly. I genuinely didn’t see the dramatic end to season three coming, and I was so shocked that I spent almost the entire credits with my jaw agape. Afterward, I immediately wanted to rewatch the episode, if not the entire season, to go back and catch all the small details I’d almost certainly missed the first time around. 

Over the last few days, I’ve become slightly obsessed with reading fan theories and watching video essays on Succession. And the amount of hidden foreshadowing and subtle plotting throughout is just astounding. It’s one thing to write dramatic twists, any competent screenwriter can do that, but to craft unexpected reveals that in hindsight are clearly telegraphed is something that only the best creative teams pull off — and Succession is blessed with such talent. 

I need more Succession pronto 

Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfadyen, Brian Cox and Kieran Culkin in the post for Succession

(Image credit: HBO)

Unfortunately, my lack of restraint means that I’m now completely caught up on Succession and must join the show’s legion of passionate fans in the tortuous wait for new episodes. Of course, HBO has already confirmed a fourth season is in the works and rumors indicate it is expected to begin shooting later this month.

At the time of writing, HBO has yet to announce any sort of release date or window. However, assuming the show does enter full production in the next couple of weeks that would probably place its season four premiere in very late 2022 or, most likely, early 2023. Fingers crossed it's sooner rather than later though. 

Looking ahead to what comes next, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of where Succession season four will go, but as mentioned, with this show it’s never that simple. It’s highly likely that Succession will once again completely take me by surprise as it’s done multiple times already. I seriously can’t wait to see this masterful series return. 

Next: HBO Max has 2 of the 7 best new movies to watch online this week. Ready to watch Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 4 online? After last week, we can't blame you. Your streaming schedule is set with the 3 Netflix shows you need to binge-watch this month.

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • Fragbrat
    Second that. This show blew me away with its writing. It's not that it's the most amazing story ever told, and I do catch the writer's hand lazily carrying over dialogue between characters. I swear, I think every lead has gone 'uh huh' at least three times. But the plotting and character development is top notch, and at the end of three seasons I was very sad that I had to watch lesser shows again.
  • amomentofparty
    if this article isn't about season 2, episode 5, of South Side the writer has not seen the best show on tv yet
  • RG Geiger
    I would never spend more than $10 for a streaming service but when HBO offered the ad plan for 9.99 I was all over it. I've watched more great shows that I can list. Your right on Tom.