Opinion: Why ‘Succession’ is starting to fall flat

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These shows still running through the news cycle as the first episode of the new season airs help explain why the show is starting to fall flat. Prestige dramas, even if they’re going for realism, almost always deliver some genuine escapism. In the case of “Succession,” the spectacular settings and raucous dialogue also make audiences forget the very real — and very powerful — real-world counterparts of the Roy family.

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But “succession” weighs more than Fox News and sad reminders of Trump’s media ambitions. The show is also part of a dwindling era of heroes who are basically moral, lustful and power-hungry heroes who have been at the center of prestige television for at least two decades now. And while some of the best shows of 21st century television have been dominated by antiheroes, from “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” to “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” that era is giving way to shows whose protagonists are flawed and complicated – but fundamentally good nonetheless.

The season opener of “Succession” follows the aftermath of the dramatic news conference that closed Season 2. Kendall Roy, one of the children of conservative-media mogul Logan Roy, called the news conference to take the blame for covering a long history. of harassment and abuse in the media company. But at the last minute, he develops both a conscience and a backbone: he uncovers his father’s role in masterminding the cover-up with a plethora of evidence to show to the gathered journalists.

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But the episode shows that instead of turning into a heroic whistleblower, Kendall remains the same hunting, power-hungry, PR-obsessed character he always was, taking control of his father’s company for little to no side with those around him. Was eager to seize with anxiety. While it’s always possible that he may actually develop in a positive direction before the series ends, it looks like his story will end like Don Draper did in “Mad Men”: Yoga Practices for Inner Peace. to replace and view knowledge as simply another marketable commodity.

The result would be of a piece with the long line of antiheroes that preceded Kendall Roy: men (antiheroes — from Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos” to Frank Underwood on “House of Cards” — have been almost exclusively male, and mostly male. White) who behave badly and never learn, whose hunger for power and money never wanes, whose stories never end in redemption.

Antiheroes took center stage on television in the late 1990s, a dark turn on The satirical detachment and nihilism of sitcoms Like “Seinfeld,” “A Show About Nothing” with a firm writing-room rule of “no hugging, no learning.” But where “Seinfeld” played for laughs, the antihero plays mined it for something else: a particularly violent, selfish, bleak commentary on the painful qualities of modern masculinity. It is in the murderous profession of Tony Soprano, in the alcoholism and insatiable sexual appetite of Don Draper.
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Yet, as the anti-hero era was at its peak, another type of television story was beginning to emerge. In shows like the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” which ran from 2009 to 2015, the main characters and stories were built on warmth, generosity, friendship, and idealism. Coming out of the era of cringe comedies like “The Office,” “Parks & Rec” usually avoid becoming too sacrilegious, interspersing moments of tenderness with sharp comedy.

Soon, critically acclaimed shows began to appear that revolved around personal growth and strong communities: “The Good Place,” “This Is Us,” “Ted Lasso.” These were prestige shows with flawed characters, complicated storylines and far-fetched offers. “The Good Place”, in particular, grapples with serious philosophical questions about goodness—while trawling through absurd landscapes of the afterlife. “Ted Lasso” continues to advance a world where community, not individualism, drives the narrative.

It’s no surprise that shows like this have gained significant audiences over the past five years, as politics has become more brutal and the pandemic has left people searching for something meaningful — apart from their own lives. To avoid constant fear and worry. Nor is it any surprise that the fictional adversary is now in decline.

In a country where real opponents continue to win – and redemptions and consequences remain thin on the ground – tuning in to the same is a tough sell for some. As long as the era of heroes dominates real life, the need for them on television has disappeared.

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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