Succession, the US series which follows an ageing Logan Roy, the CEO of a huge media and entertainment company, Waystar Royco, and his four children, three of whom want desperately to be named his successor, has grabbed eyeballs again for bagging the best drama series at the prestigious Emmy Awards 2022.
The series that made its debut in 2018 on Disney+Hotstar, also got Jesse Armstrong, the show’s creator, the Emmy for best writing, the third time he’s won in that category. The key to success of the series seems to lie in its quick-witted writing, which is often described by critics as sharp and savage, the dialogues peppered with expletives. There is something so repelling about the characters in the show but they seem horribly real.
Dark and captivating
What makes this series (it has three solid seasons — with 10 episodes each, nine for season 3 and will be a long watch) centred around the foibles and psychopathic behaviour of uber rich, entitled people — so binge-worthy? The tone of this black comedy series is cynical and sardonic, as the Roy family (supposedly based on the Murdoch family) constantly pull each other down and verbal abuse liberally flies around.
Also read: Succession, Ted Lasso win big at Emmys 2022; Squid Game bags best actor, director
Besides the patriarch Logan played by Scottish actor, Brian Cox, who’s constantly shouting, ‘let’s beast them’ and asking people to ‘f…k off’, there’s Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy) with serious daddy issues and a battle with drugs, and his siblings, the cunning Sarah Snook (Shiv Roy), the weird Kieran Culkin (Roman Roy) and silly jovial Alan Ruck (Connor Roy).
The series is set in the beginning with Jeremy desperate to be named as the heir. But his father decides to postpone the whole matter of succession, which drives his son to plan a corporate coup. But, he is no match for his father who can get the President of the USA to control the airspace in the country to block his son from using his private aircraft to participate in a crucial board meeting.
Another key figure in the series is Shiv’s fiance and later husband, Tom (Matthew MacFadyen), who is made the family business’s “head of global” and is the Judas to watch out for in the subsequent seasons. Stuttering cousin Greg (played by Nicholas Braun) is a figure of fun abused by everyone.
Greek family tale
Many media reports have exhaustively tried to analyse the success of this series. At the end of the day, it’s not just about endless business machinations, or corporate slime as members of the Roy family compete with each other for dominance. Or, on the competition between them that has completely scarred them. It is also one big “Greek family tale”, as one of the actors in the show said. The siblings Kendall, Roman, Shiv want so badly to be loved by their father, who is only capable of trying to bulldoze them and make them subservient to him.
Much like the other HBO popular old show, The Sopranos, (which is about gangsters and another addictive watch with six seasons), you are invested in the family members, their dynamics in the relationships, the ups and downs, the love and the lack of love, the vulnerabilities and all the rest of it.
Succession also has dramatic twists and dark secrets, which become opportunities for blackmail. Fans are eagerly waiting for season 4, the synopsis of which reads as: “The sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson moves ever closer. The prospect of this seismic sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys as they anticipate what their lives will look like once the deal is completed. A power struggle ensues as the family weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is severely curtailed.”
Dreadful rich people, their tales
The White Lotus, another Emmy winner that bagged multiple awards, coincidentally circles around a spoilt wealthy bunch. By the way, the Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman starrer The Undoing and Big Little Lies (on three wealthy women and how their lives turn upside down after a murder in their town) also tackle the lives of the rich and their messed up lives.
The White Lotus, on HBO, is about rich guests and the exhausted staff of an exclusive Hawaiian resort. There’s a honeymoon couple, the well-intentioned but needy (and self-confessed “insane alcoholic”) Tanya – brilliantly played by Jennifer Coolidge (who won an Emmy) — and the Mossbacher family.
The latter comprises Nicole, CFO of a tech company (Connie Britton) and her beta-male husband Mark (Steve Zahn), awkward teen son Quinn (Fred Hechinger) and highly arrogant daughter Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) and her best friend Paula (Brittany O’Grady) for the holiday. Murray Bartlett and Natasha Rothwell play senior members of staff catering to their every whim.
Also read: Disney+ Hotstar announces three new series on Disney+ Day
“Dreadful rich people make for brilliant TV, but it is rare to see their privileges and prejudices skewered with such relentless precision,” said one critic about the series.
None of the guests is wholly villainous – but they are horrifyingly relatable. How they unthinkingly accept services rendered and how they assume that money buys everything. There’s rot that lurks beneath silk and diamond exteriors, people oozing entitlement but no empathy. Most of which Indians can relate to.
According to another reviewer, it’s a messy rich people drama and like Downton Abbey, the real stars are the unsung staffers working behind the scenes to keep up the fun in the sunny landscape. The show is gorgeous, gripping and gloriously cringe-worthy and is great for bingeing on a relaxed weekend.
Horror of the real kind
Besides the line-up of Emmy winners, episode 4 of The Rings of Power on the rise of an evil power on Middle Earth, will stream on Amazon Prime. But, there’s a good ole creepy thriller too streaming on the platform from this weekend.
Goodnight Mommy, streaming from September 16, is a remake of the 2014 Austrian psychological horror film of the same name. The story revolves around two twin brothers (Cameron Crovetti and Nicholas Crovetti) who visit their mother’s house in the countryside.
She has just had a face-changing cosmetic surgery, but under the bandages they slowly come to realise maybe someone they don’t recognise. Directed by Matt Sobel, the American horror drama also features Naomi Watts, and Peter Hermann in pivotal roles.
A dreamy romance
After performing well in theatres, the romance drama Sita Ramam lands on Amazon Prime. It is the love story of Lieutenant Ram, played by Dulquer, an officer of the Indian army who was serving in Kashmir in the sixties, and Sita (Mrunal Thakur), a princess who is willing to relinquish everything, including her wealth and title, for the sake of love.
The film flits between two time periods — the 1960s and the 1980s. It starts with a patriotic young Pakistani woman, Afreen, (the feisty Rashmika Mandanna) burning a car of a respected Indian figure in London in the 1980s. She nurses a hatred for anything or anyone Indian. However, she is forced to embark on a journey to deliver a letter written by Ram to Sita almost 20 years ago. She is entrusted with the job of delivering the letter by her late grandfather, Pakistan Brigadier Tariq, played by Sachin Khedekar.
Afreen, grudgingly begins her search for Sita. The journey, however, opens her eyes to truths that she was blind to initially and makes her see the power of love, compassion and kindness. Dulquer is charming, while Mrunal Thakur steals the show. Rashmika Mandanna playing a self-centred, unforgiving woman at first, who slowly changes as events unfold is also very good. Streaming in Telugu along with Malayalam and Tamil dubbed versions, this will be a welcome change from the complicated, scarred lives of rich people.