Succession is the perfect successor to Game of Thrones

Here’s another HBO drama to appease your inner Lannister fan.

Patricia Puentes Senior Editor, Movie and TV writer, CNET en Español
Writer and journalist from Barcelona who calls California home. She'll openly admit to having seen The Wire four times. She has a mild-to-severe addiction to chocolate and book adaptations to the screen (large or small). She's interviewed Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Guillermo del Toro and Kenneth Branagh but is still waiting to meet Emma Thompson and Kathryn Bigelow. She's lived in Paris, Los Angeles and Boston. Now she's amazed by Oakland's effortlessly cool vibe.
Patricia Puentes
3 min read

Jeremy Strong (Kendall) and Sarah Snook (Shiv) in the second season of Succession.

Peter Kramer/HBO

I know, I get it. You probably haven't recovered from that Game of Thrones ending either.

I sure still haven't forgiven GoT for an almost Cersei-less season. And yet, Sunday evenings haven't been the same. Not since the HBO show sent Jon Snow beyond the Wall and put Bran in charge.

That's until I decided to give Succession a try and realized what I'd been missing.

Succession is currently airing its second season and is the best show you're not already watching. If you're a fan of Game of Thrones who longs for Cersei Lannister savoring another glass of red wine while she plots the demise of her enemies, here's my eight-pronged argument for it.

You need to watch this show.

1. The Roys are the new Lannisters

You know, a dysfunctional influential family that values money and power above all and whose members don't hesitate to scheme against each other if need be. The Roys don't always pay their debts the way the Lannisters do, but other than that...

2. The 'game of thrones' is on

Instead of the Iron Throne, what's at stake is the CEO position at media and entertainment conglomerate Waystar Royco, founded by vicious oligarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox). He's aging and under pressure to name a successor, but the only way his children can step up is to betray him. You could call it the ironic throne.

The pretenders to the throne include the heir apparent with a traitorous past, Kendall (Jeremy Strong); the younger son with a serious problem of attention deficit disorder who's a lawsuit waiting to happen, Roman (Kieran Culkin); the son-in-law who has the wrong last name for the job, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen). And the only daughter, Siobhan (Sarah Snook), arguably the smartest of the Roy siblings but who's directed her scheming into politics.

3. The daughter is never the first choice 

Some things seem to never change and even in present-day New York the daughter is still not the obvious choice to inherit the family's power. If only Cersei could warn Siobhan that being a woman sucks sometimes.

4. The entourage is full of colorful characters with dubious motivations 

Tom and hapless cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) feel like a less sharp or effective but equally scheming version of small council lobbyists Littlefinger and Varys.

5. There's a queen at large

There's always the menace of an outside "queen" taking everything (or at least a good chunk) away from the Roy children. You don't have a Daenerys Targaryen in Succession who promises to free the world from the evils of the Fox News-like channel owned by the family. But you have Logan's third wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbas), lurking in the background with her own mysterious agenda.


Jeremy Strong in Succession.

Peter Kramer/HBO

6. No dragons though...

By this point you might be thinking: Where are the dragons? First of all, the Roys are more Lannisters than Targaryens, so they don't own any mythological beasts that spit fire. Unless private jets count. The Roys don't need to march into battle with swords that have names when their deliciously barbed insults written by In the Loop co-writer Jesse Armstrong are sharper than Valyrian steel. Seriously, who needs The Mountain to crush people when you can do it with a merciless quip.

7. It's not fantasy, but it kinda is.

I understand you might be a fantasy fan and this drama is set in contemporary New York but hear me out here! The ultra-luxurious world of billionaires the Roys inhabit can easily feel like a fantasy one to most of us. Or do you also take a private helicopter to go to the family picnic? I thought so.

8. No Starks, but who cares?

Sure, there's no real Stark equivalent in Succession. But let's be honest, other than Arya and later-seasons' Sansa, the Starks have always been the blandest, fastest-to-find-their-way-to-death set of characters in Game of Thrones. So, who's missing them anyway?


Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin.

Peter Kramer/HBO

Succession might not have as many fantasy ingredients as forthcoming shows like Amazon's Carnival Row, Netflix's The Witcher or HBO's His Dark Materials. Only time will tell if those prove to be GoT's worthy opponents. So far, having watched the first episodes of Carnival Row, I doubt Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne will satisfy Peter Dinklage or Lena Headey enthusiasts.

But Culkin and Snook playing siblings who love each other and sometimes even like each other really keeps me entertained.

If only the Roys would drink more red wine, Succession would be the perfect Thrones successor.

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