Another HBO drama destined for prestige TV status.
Why I was attracted to watching Succession in the first place was because I had heard that it had no likeable characters. Coupled with a backdrop of corporate America, it seemed like a show right up my alley. I had absolutely no idea that the show would exceed my expectations by a large mile.
Not since The Sopranos have I seen an interplay of character dynamics this good, especially the toxic traits of those characters. Every little interaction is important, and affects another character on some or the other level significantly. Succession makes sure that behind the gaudy, showy nature of the Roy family, the ugliness of their existence is visible to you, even in the most subtle ways. The show both revels in and critiques the world it bases itself in. And I don't remember a character-driven drama being this thrilling. Hostile takeovers are usually not exciting to people uninterested in the financial world, but this show makes sure you understand the stakes involved. Like, Breaking Bad-level of tense.
Of course, much of this is possible because of the phenomenal cast. I want Jeremy Strong to win an Emmy this year so badly. Kendall Roy is one of the most brilliant (and surprisingly sympathetic) characters I've seen, a mixture of Christopher Moltisanti and Jesse Pinkman, with a slice of your average venture capitalist. I just hope it doesn't typecast him as a Wall Street-type, although I love him in The Big Short too. I want him to win more than Brian Cox, who scares the living daylights out of me as Logan Roy when he merely enters a room. Then there's Sarah Snook as the prideful Shiv, an excellent, pitch-perfect arc like no other. And my man Kieran Culkin as the foul-mouthed-but-concerned Roman, another truly surprising sympathetic turn. And of course, when I talk about Roman, I will talk about Gerri, a role that actress J Smith Cameron absolutely kills, and should have received an Emmy nomination for. And this paragraph is incomplete without my love for Matthew McFadyen and Nicholas Braun in the most hilariously paired people that are Tom and (cousin) Greg since Chris and Paulie Walnuts.
Succession doesn't mince words (or chicken hahahaha). Nothing on the script feels wasted. And the insults are ingenious. As long as Jesse Armstrong remains showrunner, this show will surprise us in the most insane of ways. The research shows (the writers' room is apparently asked to read the Financial Times everyday), and it adds to the authenticity of the show, one which I appreciate. I would also be stupid not to talk about the best original opening theme I have ever heard in any TV show. Nicholas Britell has made a masterful score which does not sound excessive at all. Much like in Mr Robot, the score amplifies the mood.
If you're watching Succession, don't be thrown off by the first 2 episodes of the show (I actually like them). Give it time, because by the 6th episode you'll probably fall off your bed. And come season 2 (which I consider one of the greatest executions of anything in television history because it's flawless), you'll drop your jaw every 25-30 minutes of screentime, which is basically every halftime moment of an episode.
Succession deserves every honor coming its way. HBO has landed another absolute winner in its roster, one that will likely age extremely well with a season or two and be compared to the other Golden Age dramas of this generation. Yes, by that, I mean shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Leftovers, and maybe, just maybe, The Wire and The Sopranos. Good call on ditching Westworld for marketing this, HBO. This is arguably going to be my favorite deconstruction of capitalism right now.
I can't wait for season 3 at all. I'm just going to rewatch season 2 till then. All the white kids fight for a kiss from daddy, and that might not sell the show a lot. But the fight spins into so many nuances it's hard to look away and just dismiss them as that.
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