Why I’m not even hatewatching Ozark anymore

I’m taking the reins from Buckler this week. Don’t worry, Jake fans, he’s just fine. We’re all taking on extra work right now. You’ll get more from him probably next week.

Yeah, Ozark season three has been out for a while now. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that I ranted against season two pretty hard. Buckler liked it, but I am pretty sure even he hasn’t been able to pick it back up. There’s been practically no buzz for this show, and I’m willing to bet I know why.

I hatewatched both of the previous two seasons of Ozark, and I’ll admit there was a certain glee I gained from letting the venom rise up in me while I reveled at hapless and convenient scripts being delivered by actors who deserve better.

I’ve watched precisely one episode of season three and I probably won’t watch the rest. It’s not even hateworthy anymore. So is it me or is it the show?

Well, it’s a little bit of both

Ozark premiered in the summer of 2017. That seems like a hundred years ago now. The general feeling was that it was sort of an Applalachian Breaking Bad, an easy comparison and sort of a lazy one in retrospect. The first season was the easiest one to like, with clear “good guys” and “bad guys” even though the “good guys” were morally ambiguous.

The second season brought higher stakes but solved every problem easily, and now that we’re in the third season, it’s turned into more of a soap opera. It’s more of an Applalachian Dynasty or Dallas. Where’s the tension? Where’s the sense of danger? When the worst thing you see Darlene do is slash a tire, it seems like this show has no drama.

But then again, it’s not like we really need any more drama in our lives. Not that Ozark has turned into feel-good TV, not by a long shot. It’s just hard to care about the privileged lives of these characters. I’m sure if I watched a few more episodes there would be some sort of danger. It looks like 2001 Justin Timberlake (aka Ruth) has everything she ever wanted: power, control, clothes that fit right. It’s a shame she’s so bitter.

What do these people have to be angry about?

Maybe that’s what finally turned me off Ozark. In the season three premiere, everything is looking pretty good! Oh sure there’s the cartel, the mob and Darlene and the FBI and all that. But there’s no sense of tension in this show anymore. The characters are all in comfortable places. This only shows how unlikeable they are, since they can’t even be happy that things are going well.

Perhaps it was a conscious decision to make the first episode dog-slow. After all the show’s been out of production for nearly two years. Maybe the writers thought they needed some time to remind us who these characters are. The only problem is… I don’t care who they are.

In a moment where the world seems confusing and unfamiliar, it’s not terribly comforting to think that the things we used to enjoy are just not worth the time. And on a streaming service where you can watch real tigers and the totally crazy people who surround them, this show doesn’t seem menacing or entertaining.

I hate to say it but I almost miss Cade Langmore. At least he was fun to hate.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.