‘Succession’ dethrones the most toxic fathers on television

HBO

By Luz Lancheros, MWN

If “Saturn Devouring His Son,” Goya’s terrifying painting, had a 2021 version, it would reflect the power and family dynamics of Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four offspring, whom he manipulates, grinds, crushes and makes fight among themselves to see who could succeed him as the head of a media empire, which he really doesn’t want to leave.

Yes, there are lousy TV dads: Don Draper, Tywin Lannister and even Homer Simpson… But Logan Roy takes the character to another level when it comes to clinging to his power and playing with the fate of his heirs. And this has made ‘Succession’ a phenomenon in 2019 that won nine Emmys and two Golden Globes. 

Jesse Armstrong, its creator, has been inspired by the worst of the great millionaire families to show that the rich also cry and that people love to see it. Something like ‘Dynasty,’ but without the soap opera part. And not everyone loves each other in the end. Because if Logan isn’t a good person, his kids and their partners aren’t much better. They abuse, backstab and humiliate each other—to put it mildly.

‘Succession’ sees Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), the eldest son who just enjoys his privileges and therefore thinks he can already become President of the United States. He is followed by Kendall Roy (the brilliant Jeremy Strong), the one who has worked hardest to succeed his father, but this has cost him an addiction, a family and every concept of self-worth in the process. Then there is Roman (Kieran Culkin), sometimes brilliant, but always grotesque and with particular paraphilias. And finally, there is Shiv (Sarah Snook) the most intelligent of all her siblings, but not cruel: she also breaks little by little all her principles to succeed her father and this even leads her to use as a puppet the pusillanimous Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen killing all memory of the virile Mr. Darcy), who would do anything to climb the family ladder.

Also, that harmonious family portrait is complemented by controversial wives, friends and other characters who want their cut and even innocent souls like Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) from the “poor” part of the family, who will do anything, including hiding harassment and murder scandals and being Tom’s punching bag to have his own slice of power.

And that’s the crucial thing: without a hint of moralizing – that’s how creator Jesse Armstrong has written this series – viewers enjoy watching these characters in their particular abysses for a position that will never seem to reach them or even make them happy. In fact, by the end of the second season, the series reached approximately more than 1 million viewers, according to HBO.

Everything we know about the third season 

By the end of the second one, we saw Kendall no longer willing to be the sad puppet of his father, who in exchange for covering for him for being involved in the death of a waiter at Shiv’s wedding, has crushed him between the fingers. Also, Tom is sick of being the puppet of his wife, who has broken every moral code by succeeding his father and Logan is lonelier than ever after being denounced by his son. The Waystar Royco conglomerate, after the family tried to cover up its worst scandals, seems to be falling apart. There is already a trailer where you can see the aftermath of such a cataclysm and in which Kendall justifies his actions (“Dad would have sent us to jail”), polishing that feeling of chaos slowly and exquisitely cooked since the first season.

The Roys are expected to return this fall. In fact, HBO Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys told Deadline that this season will most likely arrive by the fourth quarter of the year. And, of course, it’s late for the 2021 Emmys, but maybe in 2022 it will sweep much more than last year and “succeed” ‘Game of Thrones’ as the Best Drama Series. 

‘Succession’ will premiere on HBO in October. 

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