Twilight of the Elites
“Succession” was a terrific show about the daddy issues of the “stealth luxury” set—but a just-OK show about the intersection of media and politics.
Succession was a terrific show about the daddy issues of the “stealth luxury” set—but a just-OK show about the intersection of media and politics. That’s telling, given the news network it was about and the times we live in. The Roys and the assorted suits were all knowingly drawn. But “Gil,” a Bernie Sanders stand-in, was the opposite of knowing. And “Mencken,” a Trump/ DeSantis hybrid, was a cypher. The show’s core thesis was that the elite doesn’t believe in anything beyond money and ego, but that also means that the show doesn’t really want to deal with ideology outside of personality. How curious for any show to devote a single episode, like a “very special” sitcom episode about divorce, to the rise of fascism (S4E8, “America Decides”), only to immediately jump back to the juicy family intrigue. Succession’s media drama is explicitly about Fox News, but it also subtly tells you that its own premium cable audience, no less than the audience of the fictional ATN, is processing the breakdown of politics as entertainment.