In Review

Succession review: the glorious return of the bad, mad Roys

Jesse Armstrong’s hit TV drama is as ‘bitingly brilliant’ as ever

After the year we have had, with its struggle, sickness and worry, it is peculiarly comforting to be reunited with “some of the worst and most narcissistic” characters ever written, said Philippa Snow in The Independent. Jesse Armstrong’s hit TV drama Succession has returned, and it’s as bitingly brilliant, elegant and funny as ever. 

For two seasons, the Roy siblings have been jostling for position in their Murdoch-style media empire, and for the love of their monstrous father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Now the tensions seem to be moving up a level. In the opening episode, still smarting from the betrayal of his middle son, former junkie Kendall (Jeremy Strong), the billionaire patriarch sets what promises to be the tone of season three. “It’s war,” he bellows, in the cabin of his private jet. “So F*** OFF!”

Although episode one kicks off in a “lower octane” than we’ve been used to, Succession remains a “toxic joy”, said Carol Midgley in The Times. This is a show that is better when firing on four cylinders than most dramas are on six. The acting is superb, but the show’s appeal has always rested more on “scalpel-sharp dialogue” than on plot, and Armstrong, who made his name as the co-creator of Peep Show, has not rested on his laurels: the X-rated script is still brutally fast and funny. Episode one is so rich, I recommend watching it twice; and by episode three, the series is on “fire”.

The new season is being released in nine weekly instalments, but you might do better to wait, and then binge-watch it, said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph. Succession is so compelling, an hour “isn’t enough”.

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