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We hope Ozark season 4 will be entertaining and exciting, but it’s built upon a flimsy foundation. Netflix made the right call in ending the show.

Netflix just cancelled ‘Ozark’: Why we’re glad season 4 is the last

Jason Bateman plays the typecast role of timid white-collar suburbanite who gets mixed up with dangerous people in the Netflix original Ozark. Over the past three seasons of Ozark, we have followed Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his family as they moved to central Missouri so they could help a Mexican cartel launder money in exchange for their lives.

The Byrdes migrate to Ozark

Though Marty is involved in questionable practices from the start, Ozark frames him as a man trying to save his family. The move to the Ozarks is prompted after Marty’s business partner starts skimming money from the cartel they worked with. In a moment of inspiration, Marty suggests Lake of the Ozarks provides an excellent place for money laundering, and the cartel agrees to spare his life.

Like invasive species, the Byrdes flock to the Ozarks and begin working their way into the fabric of the community. Framed as a deal between two devils, Ozark portrays the Byrde family as a typical American family trying to start over. The past doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme as the Byrdes become unable to free themselves from it, and their old lives begin to encroach into this new world.

Is Ozark a great drama like Breaking Bad, or just lazy writing?

The first three seasons of Ozark garnered positive reviews, comparing it to other great dramas like Breaking Bad. Although the two shows’ stories follow a mostly innocent protagonist as they delve into a dangerous criminal world, Ozark’s Marty Byrde is already a questionable character at the outset. 

Instead of starting from innocence, Ozark opens Marty’s path to damnation, skipping the personal transformation that makes Breaking Bad so powerful. This is a unique choice, since most story arcs follow a recognizable pattern, but it sacrifices a sympathetic viewing of the characters. Unlike Breaking Bad’s Walter, viewers develop little sympathy for Marty since he chose evil before the events of the pilot.

Who even has sympathy for the Byrdes of Ozark

The trouble with an unsympathetic character is that the audience loses interest because they cannot relate. At heart, most humans are good, so to gain our respect a writer must reflect that goodness in characters. Marty Byrde’s goodness is manifested through attempts to keep his family safe and together. 

If this goodness grew out of an evil character, does it not make the product just as suspect? In other words, do the ends justify the means, at least as far as the audience feels it?

Ozark has failed to investigate these deeper questions fully for viewers. We continue to watch new episodes of a white, middle-American family struggling with their troubled connections to Mexican cartels – without truly sympathizing. Ozark’s premise started from a position of bad faith, undermining suspension of disbelief and sympathy for characters.  

Ozark is unlikely to be explore or elaborate these issues in season 4. Although the new season will likely provide answers to immediate character plot points such as what a new relationship between Navarro, Marty, Wendy will look like, it cannot undo the unanswered character development from previous seasons.

Writers don’t care? We don’t care. 

We hope Ozark season 4 will be entertaining & exciting, but it’s built upon a flimsy foundation that may not pass the test of time. With that in mind, Ozark season 4 will likely provide a palatable end to the story arc of the Byrde family – but one that many viewers may only accept with indifference.

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Comments
  • Such a naked rip-off of Breaking Bad, but worse than a poorly made Gucci watch knock-off. Instead of Vince Gilligan’s brilliance in evolving simple people into deeply complex characters for which there could be little sympathy, the Byrdes are constructed from day one to simply be pretentious, myopic sleaze. They cast Laura Linney perfectly, a one trick pony whose entire career has been built on the unbelievably annoying, passive aggressive expressions of a pseudo-intellect. The absolute last reason these characters are unlikable is from rich persona development and great acting. Instead these are shallow, poorly conceived and acted stereotypes that unfortunately continue to survive ridiculously constructed scenarios with lazy, wholly implausible solutions. If this scenario were real, the Byrdes would have met their demise in the first episode and we’d have all been smarter for it. I can’t believe this show is “critically acclaimed” or has the following it does. Please end it now so I don’t have to endure watching it with the person in my life who doesn’t seem to tire of watching the same, terribly-written and poorly-acted, stale scenario play out over and over again.

    August 3, 2020
    • Really that bad? I think every person can relate to the question of is this a good person doing bad things or is this a bad person doing good things? Breaking bad was the best show ever made but it had 62 episodes to develop its characters, ozark has had 30. Ozark doesn’t try to get you to like its characters it lets you see them for what they are and that’s clearly bad people on occasion doing good things and I live it. Besides at least you don’t Jesse crying like a girl every other episode.

      August 10, 2020
    • your are an idiot or a meth head if you think BB was so much better. You seem to hold a grudge or have a chip on your shoulder. The acting and directing was fantastic . You sound like a butt hurt punk because you were fired or didn’t get hired to be part of the writing team. so now you are going around slamming those that did get hired or kept their job. I am willing to bet you are very unlikable as well. implausible?? I would be willing to bet you have a hard time considering any opinion other than your own. No one is forcing you watch!!! Funny you blame the other person in your life. that statement proves to me you are really want to watch. if so stale maybe you can tell us how it will end. Take you pacifier and go take a nap little man. Maybe you will write a better screenplay since you seem to think you know what it takes

      August 21, 2020
      • I tend to agree. My very first thought was how does this ahole know so much about it to rate it? Does he force himself to watch it because it’s the only channel he has? If he hasn’t, then he can’t judge it!
        Either way, an obvious loser who doesn’t know how to turn off something he doesn’t care for and walk away from it. Too puffed up to not be the antagonist, a role he played very well.

        Don’t like it???
        Here is a thought:
        DON’T WATCH IT!!!

        oui

        September 9, 2020
      • You’re proving to be the “butthurt” one here bud lol

        October 26, 2020
    • Steve honey, take a chill pill and just don’t watch it. Maybe go for a dip in your deep pool of thought in another room perhaps. Frankly you sound super jealous.

      September 25, 2020
    • Steve, you nailed this series precisely.

      October 12, 2020
  • I really liked the show, don’t know about feeling sorry for the Byrde’s or understanding their thought process, I just liked the grit that they have dealing with the creeps they come across in the show. Didn’t really care for breaking bad, but that’s only because I worked with recovering addicts and know how extremely meth ruins folks lives.

    August 6, 2020
  • Walter was not a sympathetic character. We were meant to understand how it is a good man can break bad. But you sympathised with him? Why? Are you remembering the scene where he lets Skyler know he is the one to fear? Walter was by far less relatable to the supposed good nature of the everyday person. Walter could get out, had many chances in fact. Marty has mostly just been trying to keep his family alive. I could debate many other aspects of your review. But this ideal you float of Marty being less sympathetic than Walt, well I just don’t see it. Yes I read why you say that. But I just can’t understand you looking objectively at both characters and thinking Walt is more sympathetic than Marty. Marty has demonstrated many times over that he does not having the cold killer instinct that Walt does. There are many examples where Marty is far better to his family than Walt. Also breaking bad is I think one of the five best television shows I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t come closer to saying that about The Ozarks. Just saying I don’t understand your logic.

    August 14, 2020
  • I like the show so far. I am in season 1 ep,.10. It is fantasy, not reality. I watch, because I enjoy seeing how easily folks fall into trouble. We are all fallible human beings. We make mistakes, we do things that we regret. Cool show, doesn’t take much to entertain me. I like Jason Bateman. One of my favorite actors.

    August 18, 2020
  • I have to laugh after reading this article. Just last night my husband I were watching it (we are in the middle of season 3) and I Said to hubby “I really hate these people” unlike some bad guys in television I just cannot root for these people to win

    August 18, 2020
  • Loved the ending to Season 3. What a shocker. I really like the character of Ruth, she could have her own spinoff aka Better Call Saul.

    August 20, 2020
  • Ozark is great TV, but it will probably have run its course by Season 4. Better to end it here than for it to drag on and then finally jump the shark.

    September 11, 2020
  • I love the show! I didn’t see breaking bad. There is something to like in each one of the characters. I don’t agree with the writer of this article.

    What this show is…is very similar to real life…just sort of smushed together time wise.

    Marty is a financial, creative money laundering genius, who actually does have some empathy. The show blew me away. He doesn’t start out with “street smarts” but he learns really fast.

    He loves his kids. And considering what a sociopath his wife is, he loves her too.

    All of the other characters go from outrageous to more outrageous…and some are actually lovable and heroic.

    I will tell you my jaw dropped a lot…and I was really glad I didn’t need to wait a week or months to see the next episode!

    I think is an awesome show and well worth watching.

    September 17, 2020
  • I liked the first season but had to make myself watch it by the third. I dont hate it but I’m ready to see the wrap up. I agree i dont like the birds there not likable at all. Its like manking yourself watch misery for no reason lol. Then again with shows like these I admit I lose interest after a few seasons un like cobra Kai where I cant wait for the third . Maybe cobra Kai is just as good as everyone thinks it is but so far I could go like 4 seasons with cobra.

    October 9, 2020
  • There are many shows that we love where there are no redeeming characters. Name one character in House of Cards that was even halfway likable? And I don’t see the likability of any character in Breaking Bad. Pretty much despised everyone in Scandal by the end. Wendy Byrde and Ruth Langmore, in particular, have had very strong character development. The writing, directing and acting in Ozark is phenomenal. If you are expecting these characters to be sympathetic or even likable you’re just watching the wrong show. If you need likable characters, watch This is Us.

    October 16, 2020
  • Wrong! I was hooked on Ozark from the very first episode. Many people have said the same. You are however entitled to your opinion. This is just what this article is, an opinion piece.

    October 17, 2020
  • Couldn’t disagree more. Ozark and Breaking Bad may be my two all time favorite shows, have watch both end to end multiple times.

    WW is relatable and people sympathize and MB not? Both demonstrated first episode that they were far from scrupulous.

    December 29, 2020

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