Succession is a compulsive view – but for all the wrong reasons


The seduction begins with the opening credits: the legendary rococo richness of yesteryear; the matriarch dressed in white sneakers, watching her offspring compete in the game; pampered young people, seasoned in any notion of poverty; the patriarch who concludes business and decides fates by cutting his hands at the table; the media empire woven into the fabric of New York; the blonde presenter attracting her audience; the dramatic musical score that haunts our cortices.

Season 3, especially its finale, has been praised by some of the best. the New York Times: “Energy crackles among these actors, as their characters oscillate between mischievous wickedness and unforgivable cruelty.” the Washington post: “Betrayal. Lies. Confessions. Even more betrayals! Congratulations, Succession Season 3 finale – looks like you’ve lived up to the hype.

Succession is a whimsical daguerreotype of Murdoch disappointed in his handwriting.Credit:HBO

Yes, the HBO series is compulsive and gripping – but ultimately for all the wrong reasons. He’s a whimsical daguerreotype of Murdoch that many of us can channel our emotions through on Evil Empire and Fox News. That what we see on screen is a parallel universe of family and their power.

The real virtues are the actors, who embrace their characters without restraint. Who on the small screen today can match Brian Cox in Logan, Sarah Snook in Shiv, Kieran Culkin in Roman, Jeremy Strong in Kendall. They triumph.

But the real sin is writing. It’s terrible. Whenever writers get stuck, the F word comes out. Several times per sentence, countless times per hour. Of course, there is no shortage of such words in the public domain. It was only recently that the ex-president, furious that Israel’s Netanyahu called out Joe Biden to congratulate him on the election, said Axes, “F — him.” Art can imitate life.

Nothing is ever decided in the meeting rooms and corridors of Succession.

Nothing is ever decided in the meeting rooms and corridors of Succession.Credit:HBO / Foxtel

Nothing is ever decided. Do we make this or that deal or not? Am I going with Kendall or Shiv or Roman? The answer is yes, then no. Everyone changes sides more than the number of sides in play.

Until the end, when Logan sells – and sells his children. And tell them you know what – which he had done several times before.

Succession succeeds despite his writing failing him so badly – and that means the stuff is so unreal. Too unreal for its mission. We watch because of what we want to see. We think we are looking at something semi-real.


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