Succession: Why are we all so obsessed with this dynastic TV drama?

Posted by for Life

Like us, guest editor Roxane Gay is hooked on the dynastic TV drama and its magnetic lead, Shiv Roy. Here’s why it’s brilliant.     

It takes us inside a family dynasty

We’ve all wondered about the super-wealthy families of the world – the Trumps, the Murdochs. What their Christmases are like; what it’s like when your line manager is your dad. Succession indulges us with every detail. The Roys own the fifth largest media conglomerate in the world, and are battling for its survival. There are boardroom blow-ups, luxury yachts and cocaine aplenty. 

The power politics are intense

In the Roy family, everyone wants to be the boss. The real boss, Logan Roy, is in his eighties, toying with the idea of retiring and tormenting his children as he figures out who will be his successor. On the surface they all want promotion and power, but deep down they’re fighting for daddy’s attention. Tragic.

Shiv and Roman in Succession
Shiv with her brother Roman in Succession.

Shiv trumps Ivanka

As the only daughter of one of the most evil men in America, it’s little surprise that Shiv Roy’s character reportedly referenced Ivanka Trump. “I’m so not that,” Sarah Snook, who plays Shiv, told Town & Country. [So I said] I’m just going to do my version.” It worked: we got a ballsy, smart woman who devastates with a withering look but is equally complicit in her father’s hellscape. 

The super-rich detail are spot on

Seeming rich is more than fancy clothes and a white smile. To get it right, Succession hired curator Fanny Pereire to advise on the artworks each family member would have in their homes: Egon Schiele for Logan, Frank Thiel for his son Kendall. When it comes to acting rich, Sarah Haywood, events organiser for the 1%, advised on how the Roys would throw a party. Next time you see Shiv glide out of a helicopter like it’s an Uber, take note.

The clothes are impeccable

The Roys (mostly) know how to dress. And they also love a transformation. Take Shiv: she goes from tangled locks and oversized cardigans – a way to differentiate herself from her polished family – to full-on power suits as her ambition evolves. “She wants to be identified as a power in the room,” costume designer Michelle Matland told Vox. Oh, and no one does yacht clothes (low-back jumpsuits, tropical prints and head-to-toe cream) better than Shiv.

Succession seasons one and two are available to stream on Now TV.

Photography: Sky Atlantic/HBO

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Hannah Keegan

Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.

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