HBO’s Succession Trailer: Brian Cox Leads A Troubled Media Empire

HBO has released a full trailer and premiere date for the upcoming news media drama Succession. The series premiere is directed by The Big Short director and co-writer Adam McKay, as he continues to shift away from absurdist comedies starring Will Ferrell, like Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys, to focus his attention on stories reflective of hot-button topics, political and otherwise. That change in direction earned him a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award (which he shares with Charles Randolph), and now sees McKay venturing into television for the story of a wealthy media family that has more than its fair share of real-life parallels.

Succession, which was officially greenlit by HBO in 2017, will be the pay cabler’s big summer series, with its 10-episode first season. The series tracks the ups and downs of the Roy family and the media empire it owns, as questions about the conglomerate’s future and who controls it become more pressing when patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) begins to loosen his grip on the empire he helped build.

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Not only does the premise of Succession resemble recent goings-on with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone, it also looks as though it will deal with concerns of — subtly or not-so subtly — matters of nepotism and privilege with regard to the heirs of vast fortunes, as they gradually assume roles of greater power within a company some of them were literally born into. At the top of the list is Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, who as the trailer makes clear, is making a play for control of his father’s company, whether his siblings, played by Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Alan Ruck, like it or not. 

Brian Cox Succession HBO

Though McKay’s name grants the series the kind of name recognition on which it can and likely will be sold, Succession is actually created by writer and showrunner Jesse Armstrong, who, like McKay boasts an impressive resume containing hits from the world of comedy. Armstrong co-created and co-wrote two terrific U.K. comedy series, Fresh Meat and Peep Show (check them out on Hulu if you haven’t already), but he’s also delivered more satirical and politically minded work alongside Armando Iannucci with his co-writing work on The Thick Of It and In the Loop. In other words, for all the shady undertones of capitalistic greed run amok, Succession may well have a darkly comedic heart buried somewhere deep within all the fatherly “You are a f***ing nobody” talk being doled out by Cox. 

For fans of the acerbic comedy of Veep and the other comedies Armstrong worked on mentioned above, Succession might be an interesting change of pace for the writer, one that leans heavier on the dramatic beats of a dysfunctional family. We’ll have to wait until June to find out. 

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Succession premieres Sunday, June 3 @10pm on HBO.

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