Mischievous media moguls in...

2020-01-16 14:09

Succession was crowned the best television series to be released last year. Phumlani S Langa can see a bit of the appeal. 


Available on Showmax


American TV network HBO has not suffered as a result of the streaming disruption caused by Netflix. HBO still manages to generate quality off-the-wall content such as its celebrated show Succession.

While the network’s dramedy isn’t as popular as Game of Thrones, and by no means as stirring as When They See Us, it isn’t half-bad. Earlier this month Succession scooped a Golden Globe award for best television series for its vaunted second season, with a third one in the works.

The show focuses on the Roy family. Logan Roy is a wily old timer and the head of a transatlantic media company. Sound familiar?

This show could quite easily be the Murdoch family, the wealthy fear-mongers who own Fox News. Logan, an old white patriarch, will soon be put to pasture, professionally speaking. Naturally, his successor will be one of his three sons, Kendall.

The Roys want for nothing, thanks to their immense wealth. As this power vacuum looms, a lot of jostling and manoeuvring ensues for a seat at the table – quite literally – in as far as boardroom banter goes. It’s on some white people’s problems tip, but the writers cleverly turn the gun on the characters, mocking their circumstance and way of life.

Yet somehow this odd show is not solely satirical. It is very dialogue-centred, doing away with the common slapstick approach to American humour.

Strange how turning that down makes for such loud characters. The show’s creators garnish their presentation with well-chosen music but relatively mundane cinematography.

Kendall’s an embattled yuppie trying to win his father’s approval to vanquish the memories of his drug habit and a stint in rehab. The family interaction does make for a few laughs, with Roman Roy as a standout character. Unlike his brother Kendall, Roman is flippant and a little irreverent, with well-timed candour.

The show has been available since 2018 and has received stellar reviews. But we won’t be quite so bold as to agree or get gassed. It’s a decent watch, but it uses a familiar formula seen on shows such as Veep or a watered-down The Office

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March 29 2020