I’ll make this short and sweet. Have you been watching HBO’s Succession? I’ve fallen head over heels for this awful dysfunctional media family modelled on the Murdochs, Redstones and probably a little of the Trumps. It’s a show that’s hard to describe but it’s a mix of satire, drama and black humour underscored by fantastic writing. In the first season, the patriarch of the family, Logan Roy is ailing so the battle between the children is on for the successor. A few of them may think they have the goods, but they are no substitute for their absolute terror of a father. None of the characters are loveable but that doesn’t seem to matter. The show is really addictive viewing and considering what power media conglomerates have including Facebook on moulding political landscapes, it seems all very 2019.
The writing is truly spectacular and this is what really sets the show apart and tonight the finale of the second season will screen in the US. I am going to need to avoid Twitter so I don’t see what happens before it arrives in France.
There is a mix of well known actors and newer faces. Brian Cox is the patriarch and he brings a Shakespearean element to the production with his King Lear like characterisation. Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is the son who at first seems to be the successor and sees the most action in the first season. He’s struggling through addiction and stabbing his father in the back, metaphorically speaking. The eldest son Connor played by Alan Ruck (who is always going to be remembered as Matthew Broderick’s sidekick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – well for me anyway) is not really in the family power game but like the others, is desperate for his father’s love and attention.
Sarah Snook plays the only daughter, Shiv Roy. I haven’t seen her on anything before but she’s great to watch and her character has a lot to deal with in the second series as she enters the family business. Matthew Macfayden who I will always think of as Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, plays Tom, the love interest of Shiv and craves the money and power she promises. Macfayden is acting so against type that it is rather amusing and his banter with cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) is a little Office like in tone and provides a lot of the humour. Kieran Culkin embodies the brash Roman Roy brilliantly and is the craziest of the four children. He has a very strange relationship with the family’s corporate lawyer Gerri (J. Smith Cameron) where she humiliates him for his sexual gratification. This is one of the strangest couplings on television.
The sets shift between New York, Dundee, Mexico, London and apparently in the finale the Roys are on their super yacht in the Mediterranean. Wealth advisors were hired for the show so that the world of the super rich could be better understood, and so the actors would know how to exit a helicopter with ease, amongst other things.
If you do watch, it may take three episodes to get into it but then you’re in. The second season is better than the first, which is unusual and I hope they can sustain the pace in the third.
Warning – there is a very high level of profanity, so if you’re not up for that, do not watch.
Here’s the pilot for Season One as a taster.
Notes : Images HBO