Halfway through the second season of Succession, HBO’s satirical drama about the inner power struggles of an immensely powerful but dysfunctional family, patriarch Logan Roy asks a simple question: How much is a gallon of milk?
None of his executives, some of whom are his children, can answer the question.
Now in its third season, Succession is driven by a relatively simple plot: media magnate Logan Roy, owner of Waystar RoyCo is getting old. Amid uncertainties about his health, his family is fighting for control of the international media and entertainment conglomerate.
A little King Lear, a little Rupert Murdoch, Brian Cox leads Succession’s acclaimed ensemble cast as the head of the Roy family, who won’t go down without a fight.
Like all his underlings, Logan’s four children Siobhan, Kendall, Roman and Connor are mere pawns in his grand schemes to stay in power in every single aspect of his life.
At the same time, each of them vies for his attention and love by trying to match his own ruthlessness, driving home the central argument of the show: not a single character is wholly pure or innocent. Everyone has their own agenda, even bumbling Cousin Greg, who finds himself surrounded by sharks when he knocks on Logan’s door for help.
Fans of the show have drawn comparisons between the Roys and the Murdochs since it first aired, but showrunner Jesse Armstrong has said he’s also taken inspiration from other media dynasties, like the Mercers and the Redstones.
Succession isn’t for casual viewers, and it’s definitely one of those shows you either love or hate.
It’s amusing to observe how the 1 per cent see the world from their positions of wealth and influence without having to side with or celebrate them. These people, who don’t even know the price of milk, would not be able to function in the real world, and yet control so much of it.
And while they are immediately dislikeable, the masterful writing sometimes gives viewers glimpses of their humanity, that come out not in spite of who they are, but because of it.