“There are no fucking rules, Money wins “Logan Roy, Succession
Content is the key to success for the current generation especially with online content. There is a plethora of platforms and genre to choose from. Earlier, television was our only source of audio-visual entertainment. Watching television shows has been fairly romanticised. Recently, online shows have bedeviled television. The primary reason is the degrading quality of production. The same old ideas, the sloppy reality shows lacking dynamic thinking are reducing its viewership. The faith in television was declining- until the release of Succession. The poster was generic, black and white themed with average looking characters. But boy oh boy! Are looks not deceptive? Succession turns out to be a masterpiece, it provides light in the dark tunnel of Television shows. This dark-comedy feels like a breath of fresh air and sometimes all you need is precisely that. It hooks your attention, in an age, where attention span is a luxury. Succession provides a hard-hitting, pit-churning, psychodrama of bondage, humiliation, and submission.
Brilliant Story Telling in Succession
Succession is a dark comedy-drama series that works around the power dynamics of a wealthy family. It is based on a simple plot where Logan Roy is a billionaire and giant in the media industry. He wants to retire hence, decide who will be his successor. There are three potential candidates- his kids for the position of CEO. From a standstill, it is quite obvious to assume one of the kids as the heir. However, there are other candidates eyeing the chair. This is where the show shines with its unpredictable and magnificent storytelling. The cutting-edge state-of-the-art craftwork is present through the series. The dynamic infrastructure can drive plot points for years.
Succession and its likes
Adam Mckay and Jesse Armstrong, the creators of the show, have provided a masterclass in storytelling. It is not filled with jump cuts and linear story narration- which has become quite common these days. It grows on you. Sometimes it’s like “The Office“, where Kendall raps (“L to the OG) at a party full of fellow business partners. This is quite similar to Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute’s “They call it Scranton”. Sometimes it’s like the “House Of Cards”– where Shiv Roy is a political strategist and Connor Roy wants to be the President of the USA.
It creates tension in a way where it is about emotions but never discussed. A viewer gets envious and feels pity at the same time. Envious of the luxurious cars, helicopters and privileges. A sense of pity prevails due to the greed and deceit among the family members. It is all about who rises to the power. All the characters act within a complex web of distrust and cynicism.There are no values more important for them than power and money.
Eccentric Characters in Succession
Characters are the stalwarts that carry any show on their shoulders. They are the ones for whom people remember the series. Succession dispenses weird and unique characters. It allows them to be oneself- where everyone is idiosyncratic. But all of them are fighting for the same motive.The show provides a space for the character to develop on the audience. The characters set a parallel between the serious necessary discussion and an absolute irony- making it impossible to make any meaningful progress. There are a lot of interesting characters, but specifically three of them are mentioned .
He is the Centre of attraction of the show. Logan is the gray character and knows how to play the game. He wants to give his inheritance to his children yet retain his power. Logan does not care about anyone other than himself and power. He can burst out in anger at any time- saying some of the most mean things to his very own children. Logan views any sense of emotion as a source of weakness. In a scene, he says to Kendall,” You have to be the killer“. Logan seems to be jealous of his own kids, as they have to live without any financial worries.
He is the ruptured guy who is unaware about what he is doing. He does not fit in there- but has to because of the family he is born into. Kendall needs counselling for his mental issues. This is what the family is indirectly against. It does not feel the need of it. To a point, a family psychiatrist, is hired just for the PR stunt. Kendall is not proper but your heart goes out to him. He is vulnerable and gets emotional at times. Kendall is self aware and can see through the nonsense. In a scene, Kendall says to his father,” You are so fucking jealous of your own damn kids, of what you have given to them“.
He is one of the weirdest character in a TV show, in recent times. He is slimy and perverted. Roman does not know what he wants from himself. He is absurd and annoys the audience. But it starts growing and makes one fall in love with him. He is rebellious and says some of the most offensive things. He is completely detached from reality. Roman is like a kid- where he does some of the most foolish and perverted things. He brings in the flavor of comic relief in an extremely tense situation.
More Comedy Than Drama-in Succession
More than the drama, the show is about comedy. The type of comedy which hits one in their gut. It makes one the perfect candidate for ‘schadenfreude‘. The writers have done an excellent job in- blurring the line between comedy and drama. There are no funny lines that generate humor. It is the tension developed in the room which brings in a sense of comic relief. The chemistry between the characters bring in the humor.The two plots which brings about the comedic genius:
Power Dynamics between Greg and Tom
The relationship between Greg and Tom is a clear example of power play. Greg is a broke guy and the cousin of Roy siblings. He is the guy with whom an average guy can relate to. He is aware about the reality. Greg, reflects how an average guy would fare in such an elite class. Tom, on the other hand, wants to enter the Roy. He wants to marry Shiv Roy. Tom needs a slice of fortune. Tom uses Greg as a tool to dump his shit. They share a different type of bond where Tom treats Greg as a toy. He yells at him, says nasty things, but at the same time, he teaches Greg about how to act classy .”You have to break a few Greggs to make a Tomlette.” Panic Room scene is one of the funniest scenes in the TV show history.
He is the character that has been written just to bring out the comedic assurance. It’s a classic example of how writers run a side plot just to loosen the mood in the room. He lives in a ranch- far away from his family dynamics. Connor is not into money and power- but more into arts. He gifts hand made Sourdough on Logan’s Birthday- which can tell how lost he is. Connor purchases the genitals of Napoleon because he thaught they were real. He lives with his girlfriend- who is more than 20 years younger to him. Connor wants to promote her play. He is not certain about what he wants to do in life. He got in an argument with a Presidential Candidate. Connor won that argument. Thereafter, he wanted to be the next President of USA.
Director’s Cut in Succession
The directors of the show have done a tremendous job in weaving a complex web of lies and deceit. They bring out how unfiltered American competitiveness has rotten the core of American Family and does it effectively. It turned the Roy family into a rotten figure. There are loose camera angles just like Adam Mckay’s “Vice”. There are no jump shots and the camera follows the characters- even after the main scene is over.
The show uses profanity to build up the intensity of the scene.They have used the back shots of the character in a beautiful manner. Despite the luxury that can be seen, there is an dark undertone in the setting. It does not make the luxury- appealing and fascinating. The theme music by Nicholas Britell– fits just aptly to the overall theme of the series. The music is intense, addictive and encapsulates what the show is about. Wide shots are rarely made- only shown to bring out how rich they are.
Success or not: concluding remarks
In conclusion. Succession brings up the hope that Television is not dead yet. It shows how an hour long episodes can still work-it out. Truly a masterpiece in story telling- a portrayal of how simple stories can be brought out effectively. The show is binge worthy and keeps you hooked. It is in the midst of the chaos.