Are you watching the best show on TV?
Have you fallen truly, madly, deeply for US TV drama, Succession? No, well you're missing out and here's why.
Have you fallen truly, madly, deeply for US TV drama, Succession? No, well you’re missing out and here’s why.
It’s an ultra-glossy, New York-set drama about ageing billionaire media mogul Logan Roy and his offspring, who are jostling for position to succeed him. Basically, if you think your family are annoying, you haven’t met the Roys yet. Where it gets really interesting is when you clock that it’s created by Jesse Armstrong, the genius behind Peep Show. This makes for hilarious dialogue – watch out for echoes of Peep Show‘s odd couple, Mark and Jeremy, in the friendship between Logan’s son-in-law Tom (impeccably played by British actor Matthew Macfadyen) and hapless cousin Greg.
I could wang on forever about how brilliant it is – it’s up there with The Sopranos, The West Wing and Breaking Bad – but I’ll try to stick to a few key points. The character arcs are beautifully done – on the surface, every single disgustingly wealthy character is venal and vile. But then you get to know them and, well, it’s complicated. The locations are a visual feast on gloomy autumn days – super yachts in the Med, sleek Manhattan skyscrapers, Scottish castles; all effortlessly hopped between on a selection of private jets and helicopters.
It’s Shakespearean in scope and feel (with Brian Cox’s terrifying patriarch Logan as King Lear, a role Cox has played many times on the stage), with on-the-money topical themes (the media company has its own #metoo reckoning). Oh, and the fashion is fantastic too – scheming daughter Shiv is so groomed and glossy she makes Gwyneth Paltrow look like a scarecrow, with an exquisitely elegant wardrobe of cashmere polo necks and trouser suits.
Succession should absolutely hoover up both writing and acting awards. Troubled eldest son Kendall has Don Draper vibes – he speaks sparingly but he packs an emotional punch. Kieran Culkin (brother of Macaulay) is show-stopping as the hyper, spoilt brat youngest child – you’ll be horrified about what he does for kicks when he’s on his own in his office. And Macfadyen is pitch-perfect as Shiv’s twitchy husband, forever sucking up to Logan, a man who always laughs too loudly and for too long to hide his insecurities.
It’s on Sky Atlantic but also available via streaming service NOW TV – they’re currently offering a 7 day free trial and I reckon you could nail both 10-part series in a week if you’re really committed! And let me know what you think. Please. I need to talk to someone about it.
PS – Succession is not the only absolute corker on the small screen this autumn. Here are three other doozies worth commandeering the sofa and remote for.
His Dark Materials, BBC1, starts 3 Nov
Essential Sunday night viewing incoming! This epic 8-part Philip Pullman adaptation starts James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Hamilton genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The End of the F***ing World, season 2, C4/Netflix, starts 4 Nov
This dark teen runaway drama, featuring the rising star Jessie Barden, packs a quirky punch.
The Crown, season 3, Netflix, starts 17 Nov
It’s finally back! This time with Her Maj played by Olivia Colman and the action set in the mid ’70s.