Why I dislike Succession on HBO

Succession

Succession is a highly rated and successful show on HBO and I recently began watching. It garners 93% on the Tomatometer from Rotten Tomato critics and 81% approval from audiences. The show is equally highly rated on IMBD with a score of 8.6. It has two Golden Globes and nine Emmy awards in the first two seasons.

My personal perusal of reviews and audience reaction confirms these numbers with sentiment for the show running quite high. People seem to love the storyline, the acting, the directing, the sets, just about everything to do with Succession.

I Hate it

I hate Succession. I’m certainly not telling people who love the show they are wrong. I understand I’m merely three episodes into the third season of Succession and my opinions are based on extremely limited information. Still, I can barely make it through an episode.

Just because I don’t like a show is no reason it shouldn’t be successful. I find most of the blockbuster movies made today to be awful and they make hundreds of millions of dollars. If you like it, so be it. I don’t and I’m going to tell you why, because that’s what I do.

Overview

Succession tells the story of media and entertainment mogul Logan Roy along with his family. It is billed as a Dark Comedy although, in the episodes I’ve seen, I don’t recall laughing a single time.

I’m not going to dive deep into what makes a show good or bad but if you’d like my thoughts on that, take a look at this blog.

The Dialog

The first thing I hate is the writing. It isn’t so much terrible as it is untrue. The dialog seems written more toward what the audience expects the characters to say and do instead of what the actual characters might actually say. I find it almost universally unbelievable.

I find Kendall to be particularly implausible considering his educational and family background. His historical references don’t make sense. Ok, he has self-doubt and struggles with wanting to be liked. Could you do that with subtleness rather than hitting the audience over the head with a sledge hammer every single time he opens his mouth?

Shiv takes a minute of hemming and hawing and umming and uhhing to speak a line of dialog. I want to kick her in the shin, spit it out!

Roman’s lines seem written for a thirteen-year-old, and I apologize to boys that age for the comparison. “Ha ha, I said fart,” is about the crux of it.

Greg’s bumbling is so pronounced and severe I don’t even believe he’s human.

I could go on but I’ll stop there.

Scene Structures

The scenes come fast and furious but I see no connection from one to the next. Is it an hour later? The same moment but a new location with different characters? A week later? There’s no rhythm to the show. It’s just one scene after the next, each seemingly with the sole purpose of a one liner at the end hoping for a laugh. Spoiler, I didn’t laugh.

So many things happen that make no sense I can’t even begin to get into it all. I’ll give special mention Shiv’s big speech. Why was there a panic when Kendall came into the building? Like they weren’t expecting it? How incompetent are they?

Then Kendall suddenly comes up with a great plan to ruin Shiv’s speech by playing loud music. He sends a lacky out to buy equipment at the last second. Someone runs hundreds of feet of wire, interfaces with a receiver, and the master plan goes into effect.

Let’s discount this should take an hour at best and mention a hundred people see all of it happening and can’t call security? Can’t unplug the speakers? Utter nonsense. This happens all the time in this show. I’m constantly taken out of immersion and into stunned incredulity at the stupidity of it all.

Acting

I can’t blame the actors because the dialog is so bad. Credit to Brian Cox as Logan, Alan Ruck as Connor, and J. Smith-Cameron as Gerri as remotely believable in main roles. Most of the good acting performances come from bit players, probably because their lines aren’t written with audience approval in mind.

Conclusion

I find the show painful to watch. I’m not immersed in the world, I’m shaking my head at dialog that makes no sense, scenes that come out of nowhere and return to oblivion after a stupid one liner. Everything is rushed, pushed, shoved, harassed, and jammed into place. There is no reflection, no pacing, and hardly a likable character. An hour seems like a day. It’s painful.

Bring the hate, you lovers of Succession. I can take it.

Tom Liberman

46 thoughts on “Why I dislike Succession on HBO

      • I totally dislike it as well- you are not alone. I appreciate good acting , writing & cinematography. Unfortunately, Succession has none of the above. It leaves me with such a sad feeling of how low humanity ,or lack there of, sinks . It’s also disturbingly annoying.

  1. You are right on the money with the choppy dialog It’s one thing for one person to have that issue , but every family member it is truly painful to watch. I like it less with each episode. Season one started out big and is quickly sliding down the drain

  2. Thank you . I am so relieved that I am not alone. I found this show like those terrible paintings that are horrible and nobody has the courage to say it.

  3. I dislike all the family members and the way they treat each other but I keep on watching. Need to see who will survive. Personally I dislike the Shiv character as much as Logan’s. Kicking in the shin isn’t enough. But I want to see them both fail and was truly rooting for Kendall.

      • I completely agree— the show is unwatchable! The characters are all awful and not believable. The plot is the same thing over and over— who is going to take over the family business. There were some remotely interesting developments in the first two seasons, but season three so far three episodes in is truly terrible. My big question is why on earth does anyone like this show so much?? If you want to watch a truly funny show about self obsessed people that is actually funny, watch Seinfeld!!!

  4. Three seasons of “which egotistic incompetent adult-child will the sociopath narcissist choose to put the final nail in the coffin of his antiquated business? Let’s get the camera man wasted and try to film the answer. Write as much cowardly and indirect dialogue as possible.”

  5. Well, I found your blog after searching “I don’t like Succession”. Friends told me to just watch 3 episodes and I’ll like it. Or better watch 5-6 and…Nope. I finished the first season and I’m not watching the next. It’s terrible. If I could like at least one character but I don’t.

  6. I came to this site hoping I would find someone who feels the same way about Succession as I do. Tom, I agree with every word you wrote. There is not one character who has any redeeming qualities at all. If I wanted to watch people I find despicable, I’ll turn on the evening news. I have a lot of friends who love the show. God Bless ’em. I’m done with it.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. Succession is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely baffling that ANYONE likes it. The dialogue makes me insane; no one in the world speaks like this. I detest every character. How on earth does this have good reviews???

    • “No one in the world speaks like this.” That’s exactly what I say about this show. I can’t get past the ridiculous dialogue that’s totally unrealistic.

  8. The dialogue is what we non-Coast people call “New Yorky.” There’s no lyricism, no space between lines for nuance, no ambiguity of intention. The Roys are what they are and they will not change. They are pieces in a game, each assigned relative power according to their position on the board. And, while you can move a chess piece, a chess piece can’t move you.

  9. Agree! agree! agree! It’s characters and storyline are repellent and don’t evoke one jot of empathy or interest. Pathetically unimaginative and boring, a sad comment on the American fixation with materialism and egoism.

  10. I searched for “I hate Succession” after I watched episode 3 of Seaon 3. Relieved to find I was not alone! Spot on review. The dialog is absurd, the characters pitiful. The writers have failed to show 1 reason why anyone would voluntarily choose to be part of the family business. Zero joy. Non-stop angst. If there was anyone remotely believable it might be worth the watch. But there isn’t.

  11. Completely AGREE…Just now a NYT article came up on my feed, “The last season of “Succession” premieres tomorrow. Let the weeping and gnashing of teeth commence.”

    I couldn’t read it. I went straight to googling, “Am I the only person who doesn’t like Succession?” — and found you. Thank God.

    I agree with everything you wrote, especially that it’s meant to be a dark comedy, and all I got was the sads: pathetic privileged people, whose Daddy doesn’t love them. Maybe watching it again I might feel differently, but I still believe there is a lot of good content out there, and I’ll sit through the last season of Succession, JUST to see it through — but I won’t take the time to watch it again. Surprising, because HBO still has THE BEST content (the new Perry Mason for instance? CB Strike? Rain Dogs? All great!)

    One more thing: the cynicism! I get that you don’t need perfect characters. Perfect isn’t interesting. But EVERY character deeply flawed? Do the writers think viewers like that monotony? (it was another reason why I hated Seinfeld. I never thought it was funny, as much as it was repetitive.) Also feels like a trend. Like the writers landed upon “the darker the better”…

    And ALL the accolades and awards it’s gotten? That just means we’ll be seeing more of this. UG.

    I remember watching Fleabag and at first thinking, “what IS WITH this woman?” stepped away for months, until my friend kept saying, “trust me…WATCH IT” So glad I did! Because Fleabag, as HARD as it was to watch, I’ll watch it again and again and again…Why?

    REDEMPTION. If someone is f*cked up, I want to know WHY. We ALL want to know WHY. Then I want to see SOME realization, of some sort. I’ve decided at my ripe old age, that I can sit through sad, I can sit through royally f*cked up characters, I can ALMOST sit through “The Banshees…” (hated that one, too), but I want REDEMPTION. It doesn’t have to be a storyline wrapped up in a neat little bow, or EVERY character redeemed, or ANY even, and it can be as complicated as hell, but PLEASE have an INTERESTING take on at least SOME redemption. Life is FULL of stories like that. Maybe the last episode of Succession will actually have that. Here’s hoping.

  12. Totally agree. I watched season 1 and then season 2 seemed to repeat, like filming one side of a carousel going round and round. I quiet after 2 episodes. I kept wishing the Brian Cox character would just die off and propel the story elsewhere…too many dumb characters..Ugh!! I like TV series in general (Sopranos, for instance & Breaking Bad, etc) But Succession, no.

  13. This! I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews and since HBO was offering a free-view of the first season, ahead of the new one, I checked it out. I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t even realize (until reading your article) that it’s supposed to be a dark comedy. I did not find it humorous in the least, just kind of cringeworthy. I watched 4 episodes before I gave up. That’s when I searched on the internet, “am I the only one who doesn’t like succession?” and found your article. Glad I’m not alone here.

  14. I watched 3 episodes of season 1 and had to google “am I the only one who hates Succession?”. Glad it led me here. What a bunch of a-holes! I wanted to binge a show while I’m not feeling well and ended up even sicker. “The butter isn’t soft!” ended it all for me. Awards must be easier to win than I thought.

  15. ha! same here! i think these are a bunch of boring tasteless people, and money is the concrete block their feet are attached to.
    If it’s a parody then one episode would suffice because there is no more to say. What I find especially nauseating, is hearing the actors concerned bragging about their emotional depth whilst doing the work… Or is that the actual satire?

  16. Ha ha! watched about 1.5 episodes of the first season. Cannot stand the show. Absolutely no redeeming characters. Each is worse than the other. I also dislike the family they allegedly portray. I found this article with the question, “Who else dislikes Succession”.
    I asked people to explain why they were so hooked. I still await the response.

  17. I love this! I also googled “I hate succession” and landed here. Maybe (maaaaybe) if we had some back stories in the kids i could find it somewhat watchable. And the hemming and hawing before each line – is the actress trying to sound American?? Unwatchable.

    I recommend watching this parody- https://youtu.be/dw7alNjkYro

  18. Oscar Wilde said “a fool is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” Four seasons of watching these fools on Succession? No thanks. There are so many other more enjoyable ways to waste time.

  19. You’re ahead of me! I keep trying to make it through the first two episodes of season 1. My big problem is the trend with HBO and others like them trying to come off as “edgy” by merely inserting the F-bomb in every other line (correction, every line). I’m by no means a prude. I live in a city and can’t leave my home without hearing profanity, so no big deal. My problem is that these characters wouldn’t really talk this way. Very few people do. In addition, I have no need to watch a family of characters who hate and undercut each other at every turn. I can look at Twitter comments for that.

    I keep hearing how incredible this show is, and I keep coming back to give it an honest try, but I just cannot do it.

  20. The writing is dreadful. It belongs to the How Many Times Can You Use The F Word School of Writing. And K. Culkin’s character DOES sound like a 13 year old girl.

  21. I’m reading this review after the series ended (I gave up after the first episode of Season 5, which, in reflection, was 4 seasons overdue.) — I always wondered what the appeal was — the dialogue is infuriatingly ridiculous and ruined the series for me. Kendall could not possibly be that tone-deaf to cultural jargon. Shiv is unable to say a complete sentence and I find that impossible to believe. Roman – why go there? Dialog and behavior so adolescent no one would ever take him seriously. Greg’s transparency was a 7th-grader version of subtlety. Taken together this effort provided no healthy curiosity about who may end up ruling the roost. Just joyless.

  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I kept thinking what am I missing, why is this such a hit?
    I just could not get into it, the dialog yikes !
    Thought I was the only one with the same sentiments

  23. I made myself finish the series, but I hated all the characters and the dialog made me crazy. I had a hard time understanding what they were talking about half the time. I’ve never heard anyone end their sentences with “Yeah?” so many times. I wondered if the writers were British. Also, the entire premise–who would inherit that awful company–bored me to tears.

  24. Just finished epi three of season one and felt compelled to google “I don’t like succession”. Gratefully the G led me here.

    So what’s this about a dark comedy? No way! I love those!

    No likeable characters — or more to the point — no fully formed characters to like or dislike.
    It doesn’t even make my eyes happy as there’s nothing remotely special or intriguing about the set, costumes, blocking, direction, editing, or even (sorry to say) casting.

    Not a single couple is believable — Nobody fits; the scenes are disjointed.

    Everybody on screen looks as awkward as I feel viewing.

    Having my discomfort confirmed by y’all, is the permission I needed to stop.

    My struggle to enjoy this binge is over. I’m free. Thank you.

    There is nothing I’m not getting (bc there is nothing TO get).

    Never mind the emperor, tous ensemble et tous nus!

  25. OMG! The dialog between Shiv, Kendall, and Roman is always so choppy and unnatural that that, alone, made it painful to watch.

  26. Aside from everything everyone here already said, I find the camera work to be absolutely dreadful! Supposedly this expert-level cinematography is designed to make us feel like the viewer is another person in the room with them, like the camera is a thinking and reacting character itself instead of being there to record, and lend a documentary and realistic feel to the whole thing — but all it does for me is highlight the fact that there IS indeed a camera, a nauseatingly shaky one at that, and these are all just people acting (not very well, with bad dialog and all), because my brain has to additionally process all the blurry zooms, shaky jumps from one focal point to another etc. While it is true that in real life this is how our eyes work, our brain purposefully ignores these transitions when we process our surroundings. I think a touch here or there could help ground the scenes in realism, but shooting entirely in this style is tiresome and feels so contrived! Like what’s the point of this series? I got motion sick and annoyed after watching less than an episode in total. I came here to rant because I can’t believe how much this show is celebrated.

  27. OMG! I cannot believe there are people who feel the same way I do about Succession. I find it to be the most painful program to watch. Especially the choppy unrealistic dialogue. But another thing that bothers me is the hate hate hate. The show is riddled with hate. Everybody hates everybody else. And I am not a Puritan, but I have never heard a show sprinkled with so many F bombs as this show. Literally it’s like the writers couldn’t come up with good dialogue so they throw the F bomb in! And personally I cannot stand the Roy children. They are inept, bitter, and wholly unlikable. Roman is a 10-year-old boy who likes to tell poop jokes, shiv is an idiot savant, and don’t even get me started on Kendall. A miserable man and a lousy actor. And Greg, oh please. It’s as if he’s trying to talk around marbles all the time. I got halfway through season two and canceled my subscription.

  28. Brilliant to read all this! Why do my friends like it at all? Such a relief to know there’s probably an army of Succession haters!
    I just hope the producers read some of this and we don’t get more expensive drivel.

  29. The dialog was adolescent, the characters implausible, the storyline simply nonsensical. Really there has been so much better material from HBO. People really do love hyperbole. Complete tosh, beginning to end. Season 1 was a struggle, poor acting and bad script although I did find a few amusing moments. Characters didn’t really develop over the four seasons and it got very soapy toward the middle. Season four was the worst slog of all, over acted, no credible dialog or scenery. Please try harder HBO.

  30. Friends raved about Succession so I started with season 1, episode 1. I made it ten minutes and turned it off, I wasn’t about to waste my life watching these repulsive (and unbelievable) characters. I wish I’d read your comments first, I would have saved myself the ten minutes.

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  32. It’s so painfully boring to watch, stuck it out to season 3. The Rhea character was the most unbelievable and annoying to watch out of all the hateable characters. Complete waste of time trying to sit through mediocre, contrived BS. At least season one had a few laughs. Skip this shit!!

  33. I watched the first two episodes on a 7-day trial of a HBO-included streaming service, and couldn’t agree more. It’s so 2-dimensional that I don’t think I’ll bother with a third helping. However I’m an admirer of much of what I have seen of HBO in the past, so will probably keep the subscription for encore watching of the likes of Treme and the Sopranos.

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