Why everyone is talking about HBO’s Succession

Stream this critically acclaimed, darkly funny series about a filthy rich but dysfunctional family exclusively on Showmax

07 August 2018 - 10:58
Image: Supplied/Showmax

HBO’s latest drama series, Succession, is about a massively powerful media tycoon who is forced to relinquish control over his global entertainment company when his health starts to fail.

Logan Roy (Brian Cox) might be one of the wealthiest and most terrifying people in the world, but when he suffers a stroke at the age of 80, his family immediately begin vying for his place as kingpin of Waystar Royco.

It’s been described by The Guardian as “King Lear … updated for 2018, with the monarchy exchanged for a media empire, and Shakespearean soliloquies replaced with f-bombs”. It spotlights an ugly truth that most of the world’s wealth is controlled by a tiny white minority, and delivers the message in an expertly produced series.

(WARNING: trailer contains profanity)

The series was renewed for a second season a week after the season premiere. The final episode of the first season aired on August 5 2018 in the US, and all 10 episodes are now available to stream exclusively on internet TV service Showmax. Watch it now »

The strong cast includes the brilliant Scottish actor Brian Cox (Bourne Identity, X-Men); Kieran Culkin (Fargo) as Roman Roy, Logan’s youngest son, who lacks drive but craves power; Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) as Connor Roy, Logan’s eldest, who lives on a ranch in New Mexico; Sarah Snook (Steve Jobs) as Logan’s only daughter Siobhan “Shiv” Roy; Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice) as Tom Wamsgans, a Waystar exec and Shiv’s fiancé; and Hiam Abbass (The Visitor) as Marcia Roy, Logan’s devoted current wife.

Scottish actor Brian Cox
Scottish actor Brian Cox
Image: Supplied/Showmax

'The family is a white, powerful family because that’s who those people are'

The series is gathering critical acclaim, although it’s not always an easy show to watch.

“It’s a show reflecting how the world is, not how we would wish it to be, so that’s our territory,” said Jesse Armstrong, the creator of the show, to IndieWire. “We reference and portray an America that’s not phoney in terms of the wide world that we inhabit, but the family is a white, powerful family because that’s who those people are.”

What the critics are saying

  • “With cutting humour built from earnest (and often oblivious) remarks among the Roys, Succession is a brutal look at a privileged world that’s so uncomfortable to witness, audiences are left squirming for 60 straight minutes.” - Ben Travers for IndieWire
  • You’re not supposed to like the wealthy, entitled, scheming assholes in HBO’s Succession ... Succession is a funny, incisive portrait of the dynamics within a well-off family, but it’s also a cautionary tale about how dicey and unethical it is to employ too many relatives.” - Jen Chaney for Vulture
  • “The obvious parallels to media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his brood provide the juicy point of entry to Succession, a new HBO drama. Yet the series quickly takes on a life of its own, with an assortment of eccentric, almost uniformly unlikable characters, recalling that on TV, anyway, great wealth tends to breed a lot of high-class, outlandish problems.” – Brian Lowry for CNN

Current ratings:

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 80% fresh
  • Metacritic: 70/100
  • IMDb: 7.2/10

All episodes of Succession are available to watch on Showmax. Sign up for a 14-day free trial and watch now »

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This article was paid for by Showmax.