When HBO set up a television pilot last fall for politically-tinged family drama Succession, the project’s strong cast and involvement of executive producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell seemed to have it well on its way to earning an inaugural season of shows. That, indeed, is what just happened with the premium cable outlet’s recent pickup announcement.
HBO has given the greenlight with a 10-episode series order for Succession. It is the first such move for the network’s programming president Casey Bloys, who was appointed to the position last May. The series, like great shows from HBO’s past, is a drama that will focus on a “dysfunctional” family dynamic, in this case, the ultra-rich Roy clan, owners of a massive (Murdoch-esque,) media empire. Touting tropes akin to classic ensemble dramas like Dallas and Dynasty (and currently on Fox’s Empire,) themes of ambition and familial loyalty will dominate the series.
Truly, the word, “ensemble” applies to Succession, which brings a sizable cast. Brian Cox (X-Men 2, Braveheart) is Roy family patriarch Logan, whose firm grip on the family’s global media empire seems to slip as he ages. Jeremy Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln) is eldest son and heir-apparent Kendall. Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Igby Goes Down) is Kendall’s capricious younger brother Roman. Sarah Snook (Steve Jobs, Predestination) is Siobhan, or “Shiv,” the ambitious daughter and third Roy sibling. Nicholas Braun (How to Be Single, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is Logan’s underachieving nephew. Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street, Pride & Prejudice) is Shiv’s equally-ambitious business partner and fiancée Tom.
Succession will be headed by showrunner Jesse Armstrong, who also serves as writer and executive producer. The British visionary created recent U.K. series’ such as Fresh Meat and Peep Show. However, the billed executive producer presence of Adam McKay, a traditional comedy collaborator with Will Ferrell on films like the ubiquitously-quoted 2004 film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (and its less-celebrated 2013 sequel), is notably auspicious. Besides working on the script for Marvel’s Ant-Man, McKay’s 2015 written and directorial effort in the Best Screenplay Oscar-winning biographically-based ensemble drama The Big Short christened him as a serious industry player.
Succession will be in great company whenever it ultimately arrives on the HBO roster, joining prestige drama shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld and The Leftovers.