Billions Has a Successor

As Billions winds towards the end of its third enthralling season (SoHo, 8.30 Tuesdays), fans will be pleased to learn Sky’s premium drama channel has a new corporate skulduggery drama up its sleeve.

Succession, which went to air this weekend on HBO, will premiere here on July 11.

It stars Brian Cox as a Rupert Murdoch-like media mogul whose decision to step back from running the firm heightens his four children’s sibling rivalry.

It was created by Jesse Armstrong (The Thick Of It, Peep Show, Babylon), and co-stars Hiam Abbass (The State), Alan Ruck (The Exorcist) and Kieran Culkin.

US reviews have been favourable. “After six episodes, Succession stops feeling like chunks of it are working and starts churning out more and more addictive content,” IndieWire said.

“So rather than wish for something to be cut down and fit into an old box, delight in watching this witty drama or black comedy grow into something new.”

Quipped New York magazine: “Succession is a funny, incisive portrait of the dynamics within a well-off family, but it’s also a cautionary tale about how dicey and unethical it is to employ too many relatives.

“That’s a message that at least a few people in power could benefit from hearing.”

And Vanity Fair, in an interview with Cox and director Adam McKay (The Big Short), called it “a timely morality tale considering the new generation of America’s dynastic empires currently coming into power—most visibly, the offspring President Donald Trump employs at the White House, including daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.”

But comparisons to other families, real and imagined, could be unintentional, Entertainment Weekly argued.

“Succession is its own disappointing creation, imbalancing awful broad comedy with awful mawkish drama: Hooker jokes and health scares, lame bro-banter alongside instrumental montages of sensitive thought-staring. The actors all got different memos.”

And while the Wall Street Journal thought it “a 10-part romp not without its flaws — the soap-opera element is strong — but one without a dull moment”, The Washington Post reckons it’s “underwhelming in both execution and intent …

“It almost feels like watching a white, gloomier version of Empire (Fox’s drama about a hip-hop record label torn asunder by family foolishness), minus that show’s emotional slapstick and conspicuous consumption.”

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