Know Your Enemy: TV Writing Today, with Dorothy Fortenberry and Will Arbery

Know Your Enemy: TV Writing Today, with Dorothy Fortenberry and Will Arbery

Matt and Sam talk to writers on Succession and Extrapolations about the WGA strike and how they approach political topics and themes on their shows.

Scene from Season 4 of Succession (Warner Bros.)

Know Your Enemy is a podcast about the American right co-hosted by Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell. Read more about it here. You can subscribe to, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, and receive bonus content by supporting the podcast on Patreon.


With the Writers Guild of America strike underway, the plight of television writers—especially their treatment in the age of streaming and artificial intelligence—is garnering new, and overdue, attention. Matt and Sam are joined by two friends of the podcast, Will Arbery and Dorothy Fortenberry, who write for major television shows: Will is a writer for HBO’s Succession and Dorothy for Apple TV+’s Extrapolations. They discuss how they write about political topics and themes, such as right-wing political candidates or the effects of climate change, in these fraught times, when the demands of good art can seem in tension with a simplistic and moralistic culture. Also discussed: parents, children, and families, now and in the coming climate crisis; how and whether people can change; and, of course, the WGA strike and why it matters.

Sources and further reading:

Michael Schulman, Why Are TV Writers So Miserable? the New Yorker (2023)

Alex Press, TV Writers Say They’re Striking to Stop the Destruction of Their Profession (2023)

Sam Adler-Bell, Succession’s Repetition Compulsion, the Nation (2021)

Pope Francis, Laudato si’ (On Care for Our Common Home) (2015)

Listen to previous Know Your Enemy episodes with these guests:

We Can Be Heroes (with Will Arbery) (2019)

Suburban Woman (with Dorothy Fortenberry) (2020)

Living at the End of Our World (with Daniel Sherrell & Dorothy Fortenberry) (2021)


…and don’t forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!