The show eschews simplistic political commentary, choosing instead to spoof America's self-obsessed, self-dealing elites.


Succession, HBO's biting satire of corporate power struggles at a family-run conservative media conglomerate, could have ended up just a simple parody of the Fox News empire—think Veep, but for the Murdochs. The show follows the trials and travails of the Roy family, led by the swaggering, profane, imperious Logan Roy, who is on his way out and looking for a successor. The primary candidates are his three children, Roman, Shiv, and Kendall, all supported by a rotating cast of high-level functionaries, some of whom might themselves be in line for the throne.

But the show is less interested in mocking the conservative politics of its fictionalized Fox News, which it treats largely as a straightforward business proposition, than in exposing the character flaws of well-paid, well-off coastal elites living lives of pathetic and miserable luxury that they're intent on preserving at all cost.

The Roy children are variously unserious and un-self-aware: Roman is a weasley suck-up; Shiv is a vain and shallow left-leaning apparatchik; Kendall is a weak-willed, try-hard former drug addict. A fourth, Connor, is a bumbling trust-fund loser with obviously hopeless political ambitions.

Most of their handlers aren't much better. Although they are marginally more competent than the Roy children, their energy is mostly expended on avoiding blame and responsibility. No one wants to do anything for which they might be held accountable.

Thus, Succession is not so much the story of a powerful right-wing news operation as it is a spoof of America's self-obsessed, self-dealing elites, in which a brash and abusive (yet ambitious and successful) patriarch finds himself handing the reins to a feckless younger generation that has no real goals beyond avoiding risk.