Some shows drag on far past their expiration date, ruining what could have been perfection. Others end on top. That’s what happened with Succession, which did four great seasons then skedaddled, never to return (unless it does). Indeed, there are only 39 episodes of HBO’s other show about a family dynasty beset upon by its crappy scions, making for easy rewatches. But what if there were just a teensy bit more? Because there almost was.
In an intro to the Season 4 scripts published by Vulture (in a bit teased out by The AV Club), creator Jesse Armstrong recalls considering one of two paths for the final episodes. They could do another 10-episode season (even though Season 3 had only been nine). Or they could go the Sopranos/Breaking Bad route and Stretch Armstrong it into two parts, airing six or eight episodes at one point, then the final six or eight later.
“My sense was that we should do one last full-fat season rather than stretch it out,” writes Armstrong. “But I was wary of saying good-bye too fast to all the relationships and opportunities, of leaving creative money on the table, regretting all the subplots that would go unwritten, the jokes left untold.”
And so what Armstrong called the “little committee on whether to whack the show” voted. Ultimately it was executive-producer-writers Lucy Prebble who made the most convincing argument:
“We could, if we wanted, keep going with a show that became increasingly rangy and fun—a climbing plant grown leggy but still throwing off beautiful blooms now and then. But the ten-episode season was the muscular way to go out.”
So yes, you could have had more episodes, more jokes, more chances for a Roman-Gerri reunion. But then isn’t quality better than quantity? (The answer, by the way, is yes.)