Ladies and lords of the court, it is with great sadness that I write: The Great has been canceled. The beloved off-beat dramedy, which starred Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, told a very fictionalized version of the story of Catherine the Great and Peter in a raunchy, hilarious and totally unique way. While it’s truly disappointing that Tony McNamara's creative and clever show will not get a fourth season, based on Season 3's ending, we actually shouldn't be too disappointed about this one.
Season 3 of The Great premiered on the 2023 TV schedule in May, and Deadline reported its cancellation on August 30. The publication noted there was no explanation for the decision. Despite the fact that the series garnered seven Emmy nominations, including a pair for Fanning and Hoult, a win in 2020 for Outstanding Period Costumes, and it was regarded as a critical hit for Hulu, it still didn't get picked up. So, let's pour one out for this fabulous series.
It’s honestly so sad that such a fantastic show is ending by way of cancellation rather than on its own terms. However, I can’t deny that Season 3 was kind of the perfect ending, and for that, we shouldn't be too sad about this news.
Why I’m Not Mad About The Great Ending
Spoilers for Season 3 of The Great are ahead. If you haven’t watched the fantastic series yet, you can stream it in its entirety with a Hulu subscription.
There’s no denying that The Great getting canceled sucks. However, it’s in a funky situation where I actually think the finale of Season 3 also acts as a perfect series finale for the show.
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To recap: Catherine went through the wringer in Season 3. After she and Peter finally found themselves in a good place, HE DIED! Peter died, in the middle of the season, and it was tragic. The empress then spent the latter half of the season grieving, however, eventually, in the finale, she came into her power.
Pugachev, Peter’s evil doppelganger, died, Catherine spread the story of Peter’s death in a way that is convenient for her, they buried the Archbishop alive, and the series ended with the empress dancing alone in her chambers. It’s a full circle moment, and after a traumatic yet hilarious three seasons, Fanning's character finally got everything she’s been working toward. She also finally found herself.
The final words of the show are:
Destiny didn’t do it. I did it.
Catherine proved that she was the ruler she wanted to be after everyone told her she couldn’t. And she did that, not destiny. To me, that line is literally the perfect one to go out on.
Ultimately, The season closed out with Catherine cutting her hair and dancing alone to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” This moment was liberating for her and the audience, and it was a wonderful, wild, weird and totally on-brand way to put an excellent cap on a fantastic series.
Overall, this joyous and fulfilling conclusion felt like the perfect place to end The Great. While I wish it had come to a conclusion on its own terms and not through a cancellation, this show had a fabulous run, and I’m so grateful for the three perfect seasons we got. So, while I’m going to pour one out for The Great, let us all remember that we ended on a high note, and we weren’t left hanging. And for that, we shouldn’t be all that mad about this one.