Monday, September 2, 2019

Emmy Episodes: Succession

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the fourth year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Succession: Season 1, Episode 6 “Which Side Are You On?” (B)

I wasn’t too excited to watch this show since I found the first episode, which premiered last June, to be more than a little overdrawn and overstuffed despite the presence of great talent. Its nomination for Best Drama Series felt a bit tacked on since it was the eighth nominee (and the one I didn’t predict), and while it landed one nomination apiece for directing and writing, it didn’t score a single acting bid. Interestingly, for its six sample episodes, this show submitted the pilot and then the sixth through tenth hours. As a result, I paid close attention to the “previously on” segment after rereading my C+ review of the pilot from last year. For the first three-quarters of the hour, I wasn’t feeling it, finding nearly every character detestable and finding it hard to be tethered to any of them. Logan is clearly a terrible, unkind person, and he’s raised similarly shrewd and unfeeling offspring. Shiv isn’t terribly nice either, and I remember that Roman, played by Kieran Culkin, who scored a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor, was pretty awful in the first episode. Even Tom, who seems like a good guy, was more than happy to reeducate his nephew Greg about his “undereducated palate” and show him to be rich, indulging in such horrific delicacies as the forbidden whole songbird, also featured in an episode of “Billions” with similarly self-congratulatory billionaires. What surprised me about this episode is how it picked up the pace and ended with an intense and unforgettable failed coup scene, as Kendall tried his best to get to the meeting and Logan refused to leave the room, ultimately winning and firing everyone who voted against him. I’m not sure what can top that, and I don’t know how long I can take the overdramatic score, but I’m in for the short haul for the next four selected episodes.

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