A Hollow Symphony In The Disappointing Dirge Of HBO’s ‘Succession’

Brian Cox attends the Season 4 premiere of HBO's Succession at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 20, 2023 in New York City. TAYLOR HILL/ALLYOURSCREENS
Brian Cox attends the Season 4 premiere of HBO's Succession at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 20, 2023 in New York City. TAYLOR HILL/ALLYOURSCREENS

By Edward Bear

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s the stench of pretentiousness, and HBO’s acclaimed series, Succession, reeks of it like a cheap cologne sprayed on a rotting corpse. 

Created by Jesse Armstrong, this supposed titan of television boasts a pedigree that has critics fawning over its depiction of the ultra-wealthy Roy family and their cutthroat power struggles. 

British actor Brian Cox attends the HBO Max premiere of “Succession” at Academia de Cine on March 29, 2023, in Madrid, Spain. BORJA B. HOJAS/ALLYOURSCREENS

But let me tell you, my friends, this opulent facade is nothing more than a shallow echo chamber of greed and entitlement.

From the moment the first notes of its bombastic theme song blare, Succession tries to convince you that it’s some grand, operatic masterpiece chronicling the lives of these despicable one-percenters. 

But beneath the glossy veneer lies a series devoid of substance, offering nothing more than a tiresome parade of entitled elites squabbling over their inherited wealth.

The show’s attempt at dark humor falls flat, lacking the biting wit and cleverness necessary to land its punches. 

The dialogue feels forced, as if the writers are desperately trying to emulate the snappy banter of shows like The Sopranos or Mad Men, but failing to capture any semblance of their brilliance. Instead, we’re left with a cacophony of self-indulgent monologue and empty one-liners that do nothing to engage or provoke genuine thought.

The characters themselves are insufferable caricatures, devoid of any redeeming qualities or depth. 

Logan Roy, the patriarch of this soulless dynasty, was played with gusto by Brian Cox, but his ruthless machinations become tiresome and predictable. 

The rest of the ensemble cast fares no better, with their over-the-top performances resembling cardboard cutouts of what the ultra-rich are supposed to be like.

Beyond its hollow characters, Succession suffers from a severe case of style over substance. The opulent sets and lavish parties might be visually stunning, but they serve as nothing more than distractions from the lack of substance in the storytelling. 

The series tries to masquerade as a scathing critique of wealth and power, but it ultimately revels in the excesses it claims to condemn.

Perhaps the most egregious sin of Succession is its inability to offer any sort of meaningful commentary on the state of our society. 

For a show that purports to explore the dark underbelly of the ultra-wealthy, it fails to deliver any insightful or thought-provoking analysis. 

It merely reinforces the notion that the rich are selfish, conniving, and devoid of any genuine humanity—an idea we’re already well aware of.

In the end, Succession is nothing more than a cacophony of empty gestures and self-congratulatory posturing. It masquerades as high art, but it lacks the depth, substance, and genuine human connection that truly great television possesses. 

Don’t be fooled by the hype, my friends; there are far more worthwhile endeavors out there that deserve your attention and will leave a lasting impact. 

Succession, on the other hand, is a symphony of superficiality that will fade into oblivion as quickly as it rose to prominence.


Produced in association with AllYourScreens

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