I started watching Ozark when it came out last July. I struggled through the first few episodes and then gave up on the series. After many people told me to try to get through the first season, I watched an episode here and there, and then finally, in the last week, watched the last three.
Ozark is frustrating. The first two-thirds of it felt grossly underpolished. There needed to be a few more months in the writer's room. There needed to be more weeks of production. There definitely needed to be some better direction early on.
And then, the last few episodes delivered in terrific fashion, especially the last two, directed by Jason Bateman. It's like out of nowhere, this mediocre drama becomes utterly fantastic.
My biggest grievance with Ozark is that I feel the two leads, Jason Bateman & Laura Linney, both of whom are very talented actors, are pretty severely miscast. Their chemistry is a gigantic misfire. I buy Linney in her role more than Bateman in his, but I wish neither had been cast. However, many of the minor players are very well cast, and even with Bateman & Linney, the further on the story goes, the more forgiving you are of them in their roles.
It's hard to tell if the series is worth recommending. If Season 2 is of the quality of the last few episodes, then it's definitely worth the watch. If it takes a big chunk of the season to get good, then probably not. Time will tell.
I'm glad I did finish the season. I'm actually looking forward to Season 2 now. Maybe Season 1 was rushed to production. Sometimes shows take awhile to find their groove. Either way, the story and characters are now well set up. Hopefully, Ozark produces from the get-go in the upcoming season, because when it's good, it's very good.
Jon David Rosten, author of
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