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Over 51% Of Fans We Polled Said This Season Of Ozark Was Their Favorite

Though Netflix's searing crime drama "Ozark" lasted longer than some of the streamer's original series, it would certainly be understandable if some fans feel like the show came to an end sooner than it should have. Even still, over the course of its four-season run, the series delivered more than its fair share of head-spinning twists, stark personal drama, and shocking outbursts of violence. It did so while fronting electrifying performances from Jason Bateman and Laura Linney too, not to mention a legit star-making turn from two-time Emmy winner Julia Garner.

Though the super-sized final season of "Ozark" went out with a legitimate bang, the finale episode proved a bit divisive for some (via People). In fact, the ending of the "Ozark" series finale was so controversial that it got us wondering how diehard fans of "Ozark" might rate in comparison to the three seasons which preceded it. In the end, we opted to reach out to a small legion of "Ozark" fans to ask which season of the show they thought was the best. Of the 575 US viewers we polled, more than half agreed one particular season stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Fans clearly think Ozark peaked with its first season on Netflix

According to Looper's informal poll, "Ozark" was very much a case of diminishing returns for many fans as they essentially ranked seasons of the show in the exact order in which they were released. It wasn't even a close race for the top spot either, with Season 1 of "Ozark" claiming a whopping 51.65% of all votes. That's more than double the votes the second season earned with its 25.04% take. Season 3 also earned the praise of a considerably smaller minority, earning the vote of only 15.13% of respondents. This left a mere 8.17% of voters claiming the final season of the show as their favorite.

It's not entirely surprising that Season 1 of "Ozark" took the top spot as the show really hit the ground running in its first run of episodes, both breathlessly setting the table for the Byrdes' descent into criminal infamy while offering introductions to many of the series' key players, as well as the titular region in which the action largely unfolded. Though many of those players were off the proverbial chess board by the final season, watching the Byrdes struggle to keep it together while outwitting or simply out-playing one and all over ensuing seasons was, of course, the whole point of the show. As such, it's a little bit unexpected that the gaps between the first three seasons are so wide, as the second and third seasons of "Ozark" essentially served the meat of almost match, and arguably offered the most narrative intrigue.

So, what do critics say about this ranking?

Critics had a very different take on Ozark's four-season run

Even still, the real shocker in that poll is how poorly fans regard Season 4. It's tough to say precisely what turned so many fans off in the final season, but in spite of justifications offered by "Ozark" showrunner Chris Mundy (via TVLine), it's easy enough to assume the final fate of Julia Garner's fan-favorite Ruth Langmore didn't sit well with some. However, it also seems that poll likely didn't include television critics, whose read on the quality of the show's four seasons is dramatically different from that of the fans we polled. 

In fact, according to their Rotten Tomatoes scores, critics took almost the exact opposite view of the show's four seasons, placing Seasons 2 (76% Fresh) and 1 (70% Fresh) in the third and fourth spots respectively. Per the numbers displayed on the vaunted Tomatometer, the two-part fourth season of "Ozark" was actually the second-best of the series, earning an impressive 85% Fresh rating. And in the eyes of most critics, Season 3 of the show — which sees Marty and Wendy Byrde tangoing with Cartel boss Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) to the chagrin of the FBI and cartel attorney Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) — is near-perfect, with said critics bestowing a score of 98% Fresh.

Of course, this is hardly the first time fans and critics have differed in opinion. But when they're this far apart, it's almost like the oft-opposing factions were watching different shows altogether.