The Last Great American Dynasty: a Succession Review

Succession is an American drama television series created by Jesse Armstrong. This show has been taking the internet (well, at least my internet sphere) by a storm and gaining extensive critical acclaim with awards won throughout the years. So, what makes this soon-to-be 4 seasons show about rich white people so good and interesting that it became the sole TV series I’ve rewatched?

I. STORY

The story follows the Roy family, headed by patriarch Logan Roy, who are owners of the global media and entertainment conglomerate Waystar Royco, and centers around the company’s fate as his health deteriorates. Bear with me, I know that sounds boring. At a first glance, this show might look like it’s about business and shareholder meetings and all that jazz. I started watching this show just because of the hype surrounding it and was a little apprehensive because of that, wondering how it rose to fame and appeals to people outside their target audience: the people who are chronically online and active in fan culture. After watching a few episodes, it’s evident to me why that happened. The greater focus of the show is the familial relationships within the Roy family and the characters itself. The business talk is just a backdrop for it, a cause of the intra and interpersonal rifts and conflicts they have to hash out as the effect.

II. CHARACTERS

I’ll not sugarcoat things here, all of the characters are horrible people, but the writing is so good that you can’t help but have characters you root for or even see yourself in despite them being in the 1% of the 1% and us not having the same privilege they do. The essence of each character is delivered through the amazing script and acting, spewing a lot of personality quizzes such as the infamous ‘x-coded y-girl’ quiz about the four Roy kids. (I’m a Shiv-coded Roman-girl, like most of the quiz takers). I might even go as far as saying that it’s been quite a while since I truly understand a character’s personality, let alone more than one. Aside from the main cast which are the Roy family members, this show has a lot of amazing supporting characters with awesome acting as well, and to me they’re the backbone of the show because it can’t work if the supporting characters are subpar. As someone who can’t get into a show unless the female characters are well written, Succession delivers on this part too as it has an array of female characters with very different personalities, making this world created by the writers richer in flavour. I’d also like to point out the casting, where a lot of the actors are from the theatre world and are real-life attractive, not unattainable god-level attractive, which grounds the show even more.

III. FASHION

Quick disclaimer, I’m not someone well-versed in fashion but I’ve read enough articles about Succession’s fashion to be able to write this. The fashion in this show is amazing. Starting from the most obvious fact: the costume designer showing how rich these characters are, without it being tacky and standing out. The characters have an extremely expensive wardrobe, but it’s the old money low-key style without brand names embellished on the clothing pieces. It is also used as a storytelling device, telling the viewers subtly about their psyche through its presentation, the men and women alike. For example, from someone’s wardrobe and styling you get a vibe whether this character’s feeling uncomfortable or confident, et cetera.

IV. TECHNICALS

Love on the first sight with its opening credits and theme song, I kinda knew this show would be good. Shot on 35mm film combined with stunning shots, the show is beautiful to look at. The soft and warm look, compared to other shows I’m watching, might feel counterintuitive with the cold, calculated, and cutthroat world the production team is trying to build but it surprisingly works well? Another noteworthy aspect to mention is this show’s camerawork, using the observational documentary style like shows such as The Office and Veep. Sure, there are shots where the camera isn’t shaky and it’s nice to see the show switch styles whenever necessary, but the shaky handheld camera style adds to the show and makes it more engaging as the camera searches for the characters’ reactions spontaneously, compared to shows with only still cameras which can end up being boring for the viewers. Accompanied by the amazing score created by Nicholas Britell, every episode of this show is an audiovisual treat.

V. YEAH? UH-HUH.

I do wonder if maybe it isn’t Succession time.

We’re finally reaching the end of my brain dump while I wait for Season 4. Board on the hype train because I won’t make an attempt to gatekeep this show. Please talk to me about this show since I’m always open to talk about Succession with anyone ❤

All episodes streaming on HBO GO.

-written by Calista (kru ‘19)-

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