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Succession is a television series created by Jesse Armstrong and aired for 4 seasons on HBO. It is a satirical black comedy/drama which focuses on Roy family. It includes Logan Roy, the father of the family and his 4 kids, Connor, Kendall, Roman and Shiv. Along with them, we also focus on Tom (Shiv’s wife) and Greg (Logan’s nephew). But why Succession was so successful and everybody (including us) tells you to watch it? Let’s unfold this TV series that demonstrated so perfectly the games of power, politics and corruption on late-stage capitalism.

The Opening Credits Theme Song

Nicholas Britell delivered one of the best soundtracks in the TV History. You simply cannot unskip it. Apart from the magnificent music score, we should note that in every season the credits focus on a different kid and their relationship (or the absence of it) with their father Logan. For the movie lovers, you will immediately understand that the inspiration for this intro comes from David Fincher’s movie “The Game“. And in case you want to compare:

Logan Roy (Brian Cox)

We do not exaggerate when we say that Succession would not be as successful as it is without Brian Cox. The Scottish actor delivered a lifetime performance as Logan, the patriarchal figure that controls everyone and everything. Logan built from scratch his empire, Waystar, but on the verge of new technologies and social media, he realizes that a change is necessary. He is 80 years-old, he has health issues, BUT, he does not trust his children. And this is where the “Succession games” begin.

Logan knows that all of his children have flaws, that’s why he cannot decide who will succeed him as CEO of Waystar. Every move he makes is perfectly planned, only to demonstrate the weaknesses of his own children. As you can obviously understand, he is a distant fathers figure and never showed emotions of love and affection with kids. Not that he hates them (he literally tells them at one point “I love you, but you are not serious people”), but he is simply disappointed that he does not see himself into them. For the record, his catchprase “Fuck off”, will remain to your heads:

Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong)

You want to hate him and love him at the same episode. You loathe him but somehow, his actions make sense. Although Kendall is the second son of the family, he seems the most capable to succeed his father. He has experience on business and finances and he wants to put the company into new technologies and social media. On the contrary, his father was always more supportive to the traditional media. Regardless his business actions, which he always tries to fight for his ideas, Kendall is an arrogant, narcissist and unable to handle proper interactions with other people.

Nevertheless, he is extremely vulnerable on sevaral occasions, which make us forget his unethical behaviour. The last 20 minutes on Season 1 finale should be an example to all new actors on how to portray a character. In general, a top performance, who gave him the Emmy Award, along with several others. But he should never try on rap:

Roman Roy (Kieran Caulkin)

Can you empathize with an arrogant, selfish rich kid who never takes life too seriously because everything was ready for him in his life? In Roman Roy’s case, yes you can (on some occasions). Roman has huge mental problems that tries to hide with his cringe lines (reminding “The Office” several times) and his way to behave to other people. He tries to undermine other people’s actions and he has a weird and obsessive relationship with Gerri, a woman older than him who works for his father. Undoubtedly an Oedipus complex, which clearly indicates the lack of love and affection he had during his life. He does not seem interested at succeeding his father, but when he realizes that Kendall has lost Logan’s approval, he fights for that. Unquestionably, a great performance by Kieran Caulkin, which also gave him an Emmy Award.

Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook)

A very strong female character, Shiv initially is not interested in inheriting her father’s empire. However, power is so addictive. She does not trust that her brothers can be a healthy environment for their business, Shiv tries very carefully to demonstrate that she is able to lead. Her brothers accuse her for lack of experience. And she works very carefully on that, building strong alliances and manipulating people, if need be. Her relationship with her husband, Tom, is iconic. She does not love him, but she uses him to get what she wants. An excellent performance by Sarah Snook.

Tom and Greg (Matthew MacFadyen and Nicholas Braun)

Matthew MacFadyen and Nicholas Braun

Just imagine watching “Dumb and Dumber” trying to climb the hierarchy of a business empire. That’s what happens with Tom (Shiv’s husband) and Greg (Logan’s nephew). They both realize that they cannot climb higher if they do not collaborate. Moreover, they both know that they are not candidates for succeeding Logan. That’s why, they try their best (or worst) to prove themselves useful to the people who handle the power. Having said all the above, the dynamics between these two great actors is exceptional, given us some of the most funny/cringe moments in the TV History. We would definitely watch a spin-off with these two. Or even a romantic comedy:

To sum up, Succession clearly demonstrates the unethical way of living of ultra-rich parasites in late-stage capitalism. It highlights the sadistic behaviours of parasites who would never be able to survive if they weren’t rich (apart from Logan). Succession is a unique satire of an economic system that does not work and yet it still thrives. A must-watch experience so you can understand everything that goes wrong in 21st century.

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