Succession Is The Show of The Century.
Over the course of the last few weeks the staff here at the Collegian has been constantly talking about the brilliance of this latest season of Succession. After witnessing the brilliance of its latest episode, I have finally gotten the courage to write about this show. To be honest I have always been afraid to write about it because I am worried I won’t do it justice. I probably won’t be able to convince anyone to watch it, but I really wanted to talk about it. So, without further ado, here is my review of Succession (so far).
Succession is about the three children of a media mogul with awfully similar characteristics to Robert Murdoch or Trump. It chronicles the father’s company as he runs it and begins with his decision to step down and allow one of his three children to succeed him.
I firmly believe that nothing has come close to Succession in terms of style, clarity, and purpose. It moves with breakneck speed and often slows when required. It creates unbearable tension and sets up exciting conflicts but drops them in favor of better ideas. The show works because it’s constantly trying to up itself and prove how effective it can be. Show runner Jesse Armstrong feels passionately about these characters and writes them so intricately. They can be summarized on a basic level to the average viewer but those willing to learn will find newfound depth. Over the course of the three seasons and going into its final bow, the performances and writers have seemingly struck a masterful balance. Going into this final season you really have no idea what to expect, the writing is so good that every character feels like intricate puzzle pieces struggling to move the whole board around them. When this tension subsides, we get phenomenal episodes with gut wrenching drama and tension. It at multiple times feels like television has peaked and nothing can top this.
We could talk about its performances and its writing for a long long…LONG time. I instead would rather talk about what sets its writing apart from literally everything else on tv. It smartly balances humor by depicting the back alley deals in the world of the one percent. Often the inciting incidents involve disgusting acts by three heirs to a media empire, or the humorous yet grotesque angle of workplace corruption. From drug abuse to actual manslaughter to the corruption in a Fox News esque empire, we are constantly given insane acts that constantly surprise us. These things are usually shown to us from the sidelines as we (probably) are consistently disgusted with big corporations’ grip on this country. Succession instead smartly portrays these characters in disgusting yet hilariously entertaining ways. We see these endearing characters commit these horrible acts but somehow find ourselves rooting for at least one of them. It’s very clear that these people are villains in our own stories, but in theirs; they are children looking for lost love, parents leaving children a strong legacy. While we can simply state that these characters are irredeemable, we can’t help but watch as the lives of the one percent collapse in glorious well performed fashion.
Succession is a show created by Jesse Armstrong and created for HBO. It features musical compositions by Nicholas Britell (who I mentioned in my Andor review). And phenomenal performances by Jeremey Strong, Brian Cox, Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfayden and Kieran Culkin. It’s quite simply must watch television. It’s the best show of the year and will cement itself as one of the best written shows of the decade and perhaps century.