I didn’t watch “Succession” when it aired on HBO over the last four years because I thought I wouldn’t want to watch a fictional version of Rupert Murdoch and his despicable family. But so many people recommended the show that I decided to binge-watch it over the last couple of weeks.
I can’t recall another series so packed with horrible people. While the characters on “Mad Men” and “The Sopranos” weren’t exactly role models, there were at least some who were not morally despicable (e.g. Joan Harris, Meadow Soprano). I can’t think of a single one on “Succession.”
When I was about halfway through the binge-watch, my wife asked me if I was enjoying it. I told her that it certainly kept me interested, even though the plot for each episode could be summed up easily as a monologue continually replaying inside multi-billionaire Logan Roy’s head:
Which one of my children should I allow to take over my company when I die? My daughter? My son? My other son? No, not him, definitely. Ah, I can’t decide. So, let’s all fly on a private jet to some scenic destination where my kids and my top advisors can sit around a mansion and yell at each other repeatedly. With a generous sprinkling of me shouting “Fuck off!” at everyone, of course.
Still, I was drawn into the entire story — as well as the quality of the acting throughout — and admired the way the finale brought things to a resolution which left all the Roy offspring powerless. I’m also glad its creators didn’t feel the need to show us how the presidential election (and its Wisconsin controversy) finally turned out.
I was amused by how easy it was for “Succession” showrunner Jesse Armstrong and his team to build a perfect simulacrum of Fox News Channel in Waystar’s ATN by following a simple formula: lie + demean + enrage + divide = ratings + money.
If only that noxious combination only existed in the Roy family’s fictional world, not in our daily lives.