Updated: October 16, 2019 9:23:26 pm
It’s a myth that popular television shows should be relatable. Take for example the recent successes like Game of Thrones or Stranger Things or the all time favourites like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos, none of them are relatable to our daily lives but we love them anyway. The latest show to enter this league of successes is HBO’s Succession. Much like the aforementioned shows, there’s nothing relatable about Succession but if the internet is to be believed, Succession has become the new ‘It’ show.
Succession, that recently aired its second season finale, is the story of the billionaire Roy family that practically runs New York, along with the rest of USA. They have a huge business empire – cruise lines, theme parks, movie studio, news channels and the works – led by the patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) who is yet to announce his successor from among his four children. The premise could make it sound like a daily soap where siblings are scheming against each other to get to the top seat and planning an assassination of their father, but Succession is anything but that.
The HBO show introduces us to its main set of characters in its initial few episodes where we learn that the patriarch has his favourites and his non favourites and if anyone is scheming here, it’s Logan Roy. One of the first few characters that jumps out and stays significant throughout is Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong). Kendall has assumed that he will be the new CEO, not without reason. He’s ready to take on the mantle and has prepped the investors for it until things take a turn and he’s left in the lurch.
Kendall starts off as someone who thinks he is conniving but to the viewer, it’s very clear from the start that the boy is clueless and jumpy. Every few episodes you feel like you know him, but that is only until Kendall turns over a new leaf and convinces you that this is the new him. His story arc undergoes a dramatic change in the first season finale, which I personally believe is one of the best sequences of the series yet.
There’s also Logan’s daughter Shioban (Sarah Snook) who, to the audience, is the obvious successor but it’s soon very clear that gender dynamics have a significant place in the world of the rich. The other son Roman (Kieran Culkin) is the boy with a silver spoon and same is the case with Logan’s first born Connor (Alan Ruck). Here, no one’s good or bad, hero or villain but they are all aware of their actions and its ramifications.
Succession is the story of rich people but the makers are acutely aware that this show is being watched by regular people so to get a sense of this world we are introduced to Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun). Greg has grown up in a regular household but because he happens to be related to the Roys, he ends up in their inner circle, enjoying the high life. And while he’s amazed by the riches, he knows that he is a disposable outsider.
He is mentored by Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), Sioban’s boyfriend-turned-husband who also comes from a regular household. The two form a sort-of-team where they need to look out for each other amongst the uber rich people as they realise they will never be a part of the same bracket.
Succession relies on drama and dark humour to convey its messages. The show’s opening theme and the background music lends it a high-brow feel that takes you to a five-star hotel’s lobby every time you hear it thereby reminding you that you are in a lavish world.
In many ways, Succession is a family drama which acknowledges that morality has to have a center place in one’s world despite their class. But Succession does not forget that the show and Roys, both mean business and morals can’t always have a center place in that world.
Succession streams on Hotstar in India.
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