‘Best TV show ever made?’ Really? Classic satirical drama or Hyperbolic hype?
Brilliantly conceived, brilliantly acted, audaciously original, sharply (too sharply?) scripted with moments of true genius, ‘Succession’ has certainly got us talking. Despite a growing sense of revulsion, I persisted until the bitter end. Even when the Roys finally fell from grace it was hard to feel pity – they got what they deserved, which was, of course, the point – but that doesn’t happen in the real world it so savagely lampooned. I was left with the depressing irony that many who have witnessed this gladiatorial spectacle will continue voting for self-seeking politicians, to buy right wing self-preservationist sensationalist newspapers and condone the very monetarist and materialistic ideologies that were being satirised.
While the moral imperatives that drove the plot and narrative were worthy, the final series was at least two episodes too long and the roles of oldest brother Connor and the ‘election’ seemed superfluous. However, it was all oddly compelling, although I found myself mumbling, “Get a move on!” Logan Roy was written out too quickly so, the almost universal hyperbole fawning of most ‘critics’ is rather sickly for my taste. Film and drama making has different aspects and angles from which it can be judged, and ‘Succession’ should be no exception.
Main strengths: the scope and ambition of the project; the acting, the production including the location shots (Not in every episode – even ‘Succession’ has budget limitations!), the characterisation (all unlovable, although I had a soft spot for Logan’s black sheep brother); the brilliance of the conception and the messages that is conveyed even if the world will go on as before. Oh, and let’s not forget the final twist!
Main weaknesses: Unnecessarily protracted; excessive profanity – characters, especially poor Roman, became caricatures; repetitious – satire when taken in extremis can verge on disbelief and ridicule; too many redundant scenes and, in the final season, redundant episodes e.g. the ‘election’.
And exactly what do reviewers compare ‘Succession’ to when they say it is the best TV drama ever. To do this you have to compare like with like and I don’t believe anything else is comparable with ‘Succession’. The acid test for me is – will I go back and watch it all over again – probably not – ‘The Newsroom’, now that’s another story.
Please feel free to agree or disagree and do tell me why!