Is it possible to sum up HBO’s Succession using nothing more than a quote from the show itself? Well, yes, there are many to choose from, but they all involve obscene expletives used humorously—and most of the time, it’s a creatively veiled way to tell someone: “Go away.”
And it’s that vicious nature that has drawn millions of people to see the show, to love the show, and to consider Succession to be one of the finest examples of storytelling in television history.
What Is HBO’s Succession?
The plot follows the exploits of the billionaire Roy family after the patriarch, Logan, suffers a stroke and ends up in a coma. With his children concerned with his health for the first time in their lives, the question becomes: Who will run the business?
Will it be Kendall, the obvious choice yet the one who appears to be unstable even at the best of times? Or will it be Roman, the capricious borderline idiot who always seems to end up with power? Siobhan, the political strategist and the smartest of the children but with no experience? Or Connor, the oldest who wants to be President of the United States yet lacks the necessary credentials to do so?
Well, the fight for control of Waystar Royco is on—and that fight is made more complicated when Logan wakes from his coma and proves determined to hold on to his position as CEO because he doesn’t trust any of his children with the company he built himself.
If you aren’t sure if you should begin watching this hit TV series, here are several reasons why the tale of the Roy family in HBO’s Succession might be the perfect show for you.
1. The Creative Team Behind the Show
Succession is anchored by a creative backroom team that most Hollywood movies would envy. It’s no wonder that this series has become one of HBO’s most critically acclaimed shows and most valuable properties since it debuted in 2018.
Those responsible for the series are a pastiche of Hollywood royalty and emerging writing geniuses who have come together to work on this show during a time when it couldn’t be more topical.
First of note is creator Jesse Armstrong—who co-created of one of the best TV series of the 21st century (Peep Show) and co-wrote the hilarious British movie Four Lions—as Succession’s head writer.
Alongside Armstrong is the venerated English playwright Lucy Prebble, who has written for some of the best scathing political TV panel shows in existence. And then there are the producers: Academy Award-winner Adam McKay (director of Anchorman and The Big Short) as well as Hollywood legend Will Ferrell.
The backing of such famous names, all of whom developed this series together in collaboration, gives the show a creative force that many others would love to have alongside them.
2. The Strong Performances
No matter how good the material is, a TV show’s greatness lives or dies by the talent in front of the camera in harmony with the material given to them. Succession has a perfect cast who all know when to command a scene by themselves and when to hand the reins to another.
The incredible cast includes names like Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, and Brian Cox—and they’ve all given detailed and note-perfect performances during their time on the series thus far.
Each of them has taken the material from the writers’ room and molded themselves to it, which is the chief reason—among many other reasons—why the show is so often cited as the masterpiece it is.
3. Real-World Thematic Parallels
Not all great TV shows have to mirror the real world, but Succession’s mission is to bring its absurd-yet-accurate depiction of a powerful media family to the masses. In that endeavor, it succeeds.
The show was initially based on a concept that Jesse Armstrong had for a film about the Murdoch family and the fall of their media empire. (Some fans even posted YouTube videos highlighting similarities between some Succession scenes and the hearings of Rupert and James Murdoch.)
The show uses company records to expose and show how powerful individuals cover up sexual assaults and abuses, which only adds further realism to the series. In that way, Succession holds its finger to the pulse of modern society with careful attention to its rhythm and beat.
4. The Look and Aesthetic
Few shows look as glamorous as Succession does. The costume design, the set design, the exotic locations—all of it is an incredible feat of achievement by the crew to make the show what it is.
None of the main cast or supporting characters look out of place as millionaire media moguls or children of a billionaire CEO. The suits are perfectly fitted, the dresses exotic, and there’s never a crease in sight.
On top of all that, there’s the setting of the show: its hotels, apartments, houses, private helicopters, jets, and restaurants that all portray the extremes of consumer capitalism. HBO’s budget equips the show to look and feel wholly authentic.
5. The Stellar Writing
Jesse Armstrong, Lucy Prebble, Tony Roche, Jonathan Glatzer, Anna Jordan, and the rest of the writing team are the ones who make the series tick in the right way. They’re the ones who create the incredible dialogue that has become a trademark of the series.
As of this article, the writing on Succession is as good as it has ever been—on par with or greater than other contemporary series legends, like Better Call Saul, The Morning Show, Ted Lasso, The Mandalorian.
Succession is very much equal to these shows, and the writing team behind it are people who have now reached the pinnacle of television and created a series that has taken the world by storm.