Within its first two seasons, HBO’s Succession has established itself as the best series on television right now. Highly addictive and compelling, the series has deservedly been sweeping up awards left and right. The show follows the Roy family and their multimedia empire, Waystar RoyCo., headed by aging patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) as his children battle for the role as their father’s successor. Offering top quality writing and acting and with the third season just around the corner, we decided to compile all the reasons why this bingeable dramedy is worth your watch.
The Never-Ending Inventive Insults and One-Liners
“You don’t hear much about syphilis these days. Very much the MySpace of STDs.” -Tom Wambsgans
If you think this is the type of drama where seriousness and propriety take place, think again. Each episode challenges the previous with some of the most creative and savage insults and one-liners to grace television screens. Some include variations of curse words, some showcase descriptive and acute observations through an appreciation for the English language. First-time viewers may be shocked upon hearing the crude banter among the Roy family and their acquaintance–absolutely no one is safe from the foul words and harsh roasts spewed by those involved at the firm. Jabs are never just a simple “f*ck you” as this family has mastered the art of being able to inflict psychological harm with just a few of words and without a second’s hesitation.
The Roys Bring the “Fun” in Dysfunctional
When it comes to Succession, a typical day in the Roy family is comparable to a Shakespearian plot of betrayal and deceit. The Roy family dynamic is ever-evolving as everyone’s interests frequently shift. Each character plans for their own self-interest–there’s no remorse when it comes to manipulating, backstabbing, and lying to get what they want. Patriarch Logan Roy focuses his care and attention on his company rather than his children. The siblings shamelessly bicker and will occasionally get physical in public. Simultaneously they internalize their respective daddy issues while competing with one another for his approval. The entire family is emotionally effed up. But as messed up as they are, you can’t help but enjoy watching them rip each other apart one second, then have each other’s back the other. It’s also a great reminder that no matter how sh*tty you think your own family life is, it’s not as insane compared to this uber-rich white family that is self aware of its dysfunction and chooses to ignore it.
Complexity of Characters
The characters on Succession are abhorrent and despicable. Their wealth, status, and selfish lifestyle make it nearly impossible for them to be relatable to viewers. It’s difficult to predict what they’re going to do or how they’ll react in any situation. Despite all the crap we’ve seen them pull, you still can’t but root for them. The series does an excellent job showcasing each individual character’s struggles and insecurities. Although they’re incredibly selfish people, you can’t help but sympathize with them.
A True Ensemble Cast
The acting on Succession is absolutely phenomenal. The cast has amazing chemistry that really sells the family dynamic and gets you invested in their story. The entire cast does an incredible job with nuanced expressions that really sell unspoken communication and character’s inner thoughts. Cox nails the role of formidable corporate head, allowing the viewer to easily accept him as the powerful man Logan Roy is intended to be. Jeremy Strong’s standout performance as Kendall Roy has brought heart and vulnerability to a character that could otherwise be perceived as a douchebag.
A Golden Package of Production
The series’ acting, writing, and direction are nothing to be scoffed at. The handheld camera look and editing provides the viewer a sense of actually being there. Nicholas Brittell’s haunting score evokes an atmosphere of greed, power, luxury, and entitlement. One of the aspects of the series that is done so well is the detail–the information lies within the details. Jesse Armstrong’s writing has some of the best dialogue, with conversations having hidden meanings all throughout the show. A glance, a smirk, a quick look, a lack of response and abrupt change of subject–it’s these details that tell you how a character really thinks. Siobhan’s wardrobe and haircut changes in between the first and second seasons to reflect her changing desire to become more involved in the family business. Nothing in the series is explicitly stated or shown. It’s up to the viewer’s focus to the detail to put all the pieces together.
Succession is a series that encompasses dark and twisted humor, unlikeable characters, and dramatic storylines. On paper, it’s seems anything but appealing. However, its premise and execution is a breath of fresh air compared to the typical television we’ve grown accustomed to. It grows on you so much that it tugs you to keep watching at the end of each episode (rightfully so), making it a must-watch for all television viewers.
Season 3 of Succession premieres October 17 on HBO Max.