Succession

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Succession TV Poster Image
Biting, profane satire about the obscenely wealthy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

This show is about terrible people doing bad things. It's satire, but there are no positive messages here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Succession is about terrible people. Even when a character appears to be doing something altruistic, there are ulterior motives.

Violence

Little violence, aside from some scuffling between family. However, one character does have a brain hemorrhage on screen.

Sex

Relationships tend to be more about power than sex here.

Language

Not only is there a lot of profanity, but this show delights in new and inventive ways to use it. "F--k," "f--king," "s--t," "c--t," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink, smoke and use marijuana and cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Succession is a dark comedy about an extremely rich family that owns a large media company. Patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) uses his wealth and power to manipulate and control his three sons, daughter, and extended family. The show works because the characters are all both self-absorbed and socially awkward, which can be really funny. But this is a show about terrible people, and the satire needs to be understood in order to not walk away with the wrong message. This is a show that delights in its use of profanity, ncluding "f--k" and "s--t, "and its characters drink, smoke and use various drugs. There's little sex or violence early on, but it may become more violent and contain more sexually explicit scenes as the show goes on. 

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What's the story?

In SUCCESSION, Logan Roy (Brian Cox)  and his four children run a global media company, with business ranging from television networks to amusement parks. His son Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is preparing to take over as the head of the business, but Logan doesn't quite trust him to run things. Loudmouth Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) has been removed from business operations, while older brother Connor (Alan Ruck) and sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) sit on the board of directors, but don't work at the company. On his 80th birthday, Logan gathers his family to tell them that he's decided to stay on as head of the company for a few more years, and that he's giving his partner, Marcy (Hiam Abbass), a significant portion of the company upon his death. This begins a series of negotiations and manipulations among the family that only get more complicated as time goes on.

Is it any good?

This dark but very funny series is an American comedy of manners as entertaining as Veep or its British predecessor, The Thick of It. The comedy comes from the fact that each member of the Roy family is a profoundly terrible person that is consciously manipulative and money-hungry, but also stunningly socially awkward. 

It's worth wondering what's the point of watching a show about obscenely wealthy people doing terrible, sometimes cruel, things with money. How much mileage is there in laughing at terrible people that, nonetheless, are thriving in America? For now, the jokes are funny, and the performances are on point. But it remains to be seen if Succession's satire can resonate beyond just seeing how pathetic rich people can be when it comes to money.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about satire. Succession's characters are almost universally unlikable people. Why would people want to watch a show about them? What is the show trying to say about the Roy family and how they behave?

  • What are the family dynamics in Succession? What motivates each of the characters? What do they want from each other, and how do they go about getting it? Who do you find yourself rooting for?

  • What is the role of money in this show? How is the characters' relationship with money similar or different to yours? How do they use money? Just to buy things? Or do they use it in other ways?

TV details

For kids who love family drama

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