The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why The Best Dramas Are More Documentary Than Fiction …

For all the claims TV is dead, we’ve been living through a golden age of it.

Nothing sums that up more than Succession.

What a total masterpiece.


All absolutely stellar.

I am genuinely sad it is all done.

I am also convinced Jesse Armstrong is a genuine storytelling genius.

Obviously lots of praise has been rightfully heaped on the show, but I think Peter Friedman – who played Frank in the show – sums it up best …

“There’s been a degree of excellence that one should be wistful about, because I don’t know how soon each of us will find it again.”

Now I’ve had time to relax from the intensity of the final ever episode … I’ve realised there are certain characteristics that connect Succession to the few shows of it’s stature – for example, something like The Wire.

Attention to detail.

The need for the viewer to pay close attention.

The ugly truth of everyday reality.

For all the ‘twists and turns’ the show took you on, nothing should really have been a surprise. It was all laid out in-front of you when you looked at the character of the characters.

The greed.
The arrogance.
The ambition.
The ego.

HBO went to great lengths to understand how this manifests in real life by working with people who are genuinely from these backgrounds.

For example, no one wears a coat because billionaires are always delivered right to the door of where they are going. And no one bends down when leaving a helicopter, because they have spent their life traveling in them that no one fears for their head being chopped off by the rotor blades.

Little things we may not notice but somehow conveys authenticity through actions and behaviours.

It’s why I found Roman’s breakdown towards the end of the series so powerful.


Watching him fall apart as he realises the person who enabled his arrogant … vulgar … depraved consequence free life is no longer there, was incredible. A car crash of character that you could not take your eyes off that somehow also ignited sympathy you never thought he deserved. And then the final moment … where you witness him recognising that he’s not just free from the bullshit that has fed his life and his vacuous meaning, but that he is finally a true equal with his siblings because of their shared ultimate failure.

It was inspiring.

The whole thing was depressingly inspiring.

And I’ll tell you why … because it was all based on an ugly reality we all know but choose to ignore, and that is the ‘needy crawlers’, win.

If a company has a choice between individuality and complicity, they will generally choose complicity.

Someone who will do their dealing.
Someone who will take the heat.
Someone who knows their place.
Someone who will be obedient.

Obedience is important …

It allows the abdication of guilt for all decisions.
It creates a layer between them and the anger of others.
It ensures they always have support for whatever they choose.
It removes the risk of being challenged, questioned or undermined by those close.

By choosing someone who has an insatiable need to be associated with power and influence, not only do you know they will sacrifice anything – and anyone – to be given access to it, but you can give them the highest of high-profile corporate positions, and be safe in the knowledge they’ll still be subservient to you.

It’s the ugliest of ugly truths.

The most vulgar of corporate realities.

And a perfect expression of what I saw when I lived in America.

People managing up, regardless of consequence or expectation.
People being paid vast amounts for their complicity rather than talent.
People creating fear to ensure they always stay in power and control.

Of course not everyone is like this.

And of course, this is not limited to just the US.

But what made Succession so powerful is that even though it was about billionaires, it reflected what most people have seen or experienced at some time. That regardless of wealth, standing, status or connections … there is always someone we answer to and those who are acquiescent to them will always be the ones they choose to progress.

Despite being a show filled with conniving, untrustworthy, unlikable, spoilt, greedy and entitled bastards … I’m going to miss Succession. Though what makes the loss more bearable is knowing that should I ever need another taste of it, all I have to do is turn to reality to witness the people and companies who trade values and morals for power and control.

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