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Editorials

Five Reasons To Watch Succession

May 31, 2020

Recently I started watching HBO hit Succession and was quickly sucked into a world of treachery, wealth and truly unpleasant people. Here’s five reasons you should watch.

1. It’s Being Called The New Game Of Thrones

Succession Cast  HBO
Succession Cast (deadline.com)

So, I should say Succession is it’s own programme, with its own ideas, but there are similarities. I should also say Game of Thrones is a fantasy programme filled with zombies and dragons and Succession is set in present-day America about a rich family so there are plenty of differences. The main similarity is the struggle for power. The show is focused on the Roy family – Logan Roy is a self-made billionaire and owner of a huge business empire and he has a number of children vying to take over that company. As far as I’ve seen no one has yet murdered anyone to seize power but sometimes it feels like that is definitely coming. In fact, if people start poisoning each other it would feel very much like I, Claudius the masterpiece BBC drama showing the struggle to control the Roman Empire.

2. You Will Hate All The Characters So Much

Kieran Culkin stars as Roman Roy (Peter Kramer / HBO)
Kieran Culkin stars as Roman Roy (Peter Kramer / HBO)

I don’t have if I have ever wanted to punch a character more than Roman Roy (played wonderfully by Kieran Culkin). Not actually evil but smug to the point of ridiculousness when he has achieved precisely nothing. There are two things in particular that incur my ire in regards to Roman: 1- he is unbelievably wealthy and is a dick about it. There are few things I hate more than rich people who love to shove that wealth in everyone else’s face, something Roman does repeatedly. 2. Perhaps, more importantly, the man cannot sit on a chair. Throughout season one virtually every time you see him sitting it’s never the right way. But Roman is simply the most immediately objectionable of a very bad bunch – there’s Logan who seemingly enjoys pitting chis children against each other, Kendall, the heir-apparent business bro, the already mentioned deplorable Roman and their sister manipulative Shiv. The oldest child, Connor, who has decided to stay out of the family business and perhaps seems the most likeable quickly turns out to be not so nice and even Greg, the stoner-slacker cousin is soon corrupted.

3. Fantastic Insults and Swearing

Logan Roy preparing to swear at someone (cheatsheet.com)

Perhaps the best swearing in television since The Thick Of It and while the characters don’t have the verbal imagination of Malcolm Tucker the delivery of each curse is wonderful. You can spend a lot of time admiring the way Logan Roy tells people to “f**k off”. There are no punches pulled when it comes to insults with everything from recovering addiction problems to childhood trauma seen as fair game.

4. Character Complexity

Best friends Tom and Greg Suceesion HBO
Best friends Tom and Greg (polygon.com)

It’s almost impossible to work out the motivations of any character with my idea of every character being rewritten with every episode (with the possible exception of Roman who is just a dirtbag through and through). The two characters where this is most apparent is Logan Roy and Tom Wambsgans. Logan at first seems to have virtually an Alexander the Great plan of succession, wanting to leave his empire to the strongest, but there are moments, glimpses, of when you think he might actually care about his children. Tom is even more fascinating – starting the show as Shiv’s fiancee I was 100% convinced he did not care about her at all, his only goal being the advancement in her family’s company. But as the show goes on this becomes less and less clear and their relationship more complicated. Perhaps even more enjoyable is his bizarre “friendship” with Greg, does he hate Greg? Does he like him? Is he trying to destroy him? Is he trying to mentor him?

5. The Worst Family In America

Happy Family (harpersbazaar.com)

The Roys are undoubtedly a contender for the worst family ever portrayed on television. The siblings are constantly at each others’ throats looking for any potential weakness. At times when Logan asks them to be on their best behaviour to look vaguely normal, they can barely manage five minutes. Another show it reminds me of which has a similarly dysfunctional family is Arrested Development, with some of the characters like Tom, Roman and Greg needing only a minor tweak to fit into the world of the more comedic and silly world of the Bluths.

Also Read: Why Watchmen Is One of The Best TV Series Ever

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Richard Norton
Gentleman, podcaster and pop culture nerd, I love talking and writing about pretty much all pop culture.