Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wait to Find out If This Show Is More Than a Succession of Sweary Rants

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wait to Find out If This Show Is More Than a Succession of Sweary Rants

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton The Viewer

Succession Sky Atlantic, 9pm SATIRE and drama are different, aren't they? Antithetical, even. Succession is HBO's big new satirical drama about a dysfunctional, super-rich New York family, owners of "the fifth-largest media conglomerate in the world". In tonight's pilot, the patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), is planning to mark his 80th birthday by handing over the company to one of his four children.

So, it's a bit King Lear-y, a bit Rupert Murdoch-y too. But Logan, who remains a scary bully, even though he may well be losing his marbles, changes his mind. He announces plans to stay in charge. "This is the present I really want," he says. For good measure, he also reveals he wants to make his disconcertingly poised third wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbass), the dominant power in the firm after his death.

His dreadful children start squabbling straightaway. The frontrunner to succeed Logan is Kendall (Jeremy Strong), an addict just out of rehab, overawed by his father, useless as a negotiator, despite his all his big talk. Then there's his vain, sarcastic younger brother Roman (Kieran Culkin), ridiculing the business, while pushing his own interests. Sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) has opted out of the family firm to go into politics without becoming any less toxic. And, while their dippy, older half-brother Connor (Alan Ruck) pretends to be chilled "I'm water, I flow" he wields a vote too.

Mucking into this horror family are Shiv's partner Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) another entertainingly nasty piece of work who seems besotted with her but may simply be on the make, and Logan's great-nephew Greg (Nicholas Braun), a young twerp who'll do anything to get in with his rich relatives a character who would be more at home in a slapstick comedy.

The opener scripted by creator Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Thick of It) and directed by executive producer Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Big Short) is devoted to establishing these characters but ends abruptly on a cliffhanger, forcing us to watch the next instalment. …

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