You thought the Murdoch family were bad? Think again. The Roys are a force to be reckoned with, if only they could reckon with themselves. This is Shakespearean-style family drama, drug-fuelled and powered by dirty money. Oh, and it’s already three seasons deep.
Characters are what power this series. Characters with trust funds the size of a bank and egos to match. It’s a classic love-to-hate situation. We love-to-hate these money hungry moguls, and they love-to-hate each other, as they negotiate the nasty intricacies of maintaining a mega-rich family empire. The patriarch of the family-stroke-company is Logan Roy (Brian Cox). He’s our modern-day King Lear, big and booming, in bad health and dangling the promise of succession over his four children, supposed heir to the company Kendall (Jeremy Strong), his sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) and brothers Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck). Writer Jesse Armstrong creates a chessboard of drama, playing the characters against each other with the skill of a grandmaster, and we’ve been on tenterhooks through each season.
Tim Dowling from The Guardian loves how “Succession manages to humanise its monstrous characters without letting them off the hook”, portraying “the witless cruelty of the entitled” and “the emotional inadequacy of grownup children of privilege”. But it’s not just the characters that Dowling is drawn to, it’s the writing in general, which he calls “savage, the dialogue sharp and foul-mouthed” making for a series which is “funny in places” but “also scary, as any drama peopled by monsters ought to be”. And Suzi Feay, writer for The Financial Times, agrees, stating “ensemble work doesn’t get better than this”. If only Armstrong’s characters could be as good at gluing together their family as they are at gluing our eyes to the screen.
And now, season 3 is out and the reviews are in, so what’s the verdict? Well, The Guardian’s Lucy Manganraves about how it’s “as glorious and furious as ever…still exquisite agony to behold”, picking up “right where fans hoped we would – in the immediate aftermath of Kendall’s denunciation of his father logan live on national television”. Sounds salaciously scandalous.
First shown in June 2018, season three aired in October 2021.