Season two of “Succession” premieres on August 11 with a higher profile than it entered season one with last summer. Created by Oscar nominee Jesse Armstrong (“In the Loop”) with direction and production by Oscar winner Adam McKay (“The Big Short,” “Vice”), this drama about the lust for power in an expansive media empire has earned Emmy, Critics’ Choice and Television Critics Association nominations for Best Drama Series, in addition to receiving honors from the American Film Institute, the Directors Guild and even the BAFTAs. So where does the show stand with critics now?
As of this writing “Succession” season two has a MetaCritic rating of 88 based on eight reviews counted thus far — all of them positive. That’s almost 20 points higher than the 70 score received by the first season, though that rating was based on 29 reviews, more than triple the number that have been counted for the second season so far.
Nevertheless, these new episodes are “frighteningly good” and “in top form,” according to critics (five episodes screened for critics out of the season’s 10 ). It’s “one of TV’s most acid comedies,” “acerbic, tense” and with a “singular tone” that blends “black comedy and heavy drama.” It’s “richer in humor and insight” and “more urgent” than last year.
And it’s back in the nick of time. Voting for Emmy winners starts on August 15, four days after season two gets underway, so the new episodes will keep the show fresh in mind as voters mark their ballots, even though it’s season one that voters are considering for awards right now. In addition to Best Drama Series, “Succession” is up for Best Drama Writing (Armstrong), Best Drama Directing (McKay), Best Drama Casting and Best Main Title Theme Music (Nicholas Britell). Will this advantageous timing help it win? Check out some of the reviews below, and discuss this and more with your fellow TV fans in our forums.
Allison Keene (Paste): “‘Succession,’ from creator Jesse Armstrong (‘Peep Show,’ ‘The Thick of It’) is dressed up as a prestige drama, but it’s actually one of TV’s most acid comedies. Once you embrace that, ‘Succession’ unlocks as a never-ending battle of power and prestige with medieval royal overtones that is also wonderfully aware of how absurd that kind of story is … The series is frighteningly good at melding these disparate tones together.”
Allison Shoemaker (RogerEbert.com): “Jesse Armstrong’s acerbic, tense, deceptively funny marvel returns to HBO for a second season in top form, with Shiv, Kendall, Roman, and Connor moving from a simmer to a rolling boil, growing fouler and hotter and more unstable with every moment of exposure to heat … There’s precious little gentleness in ‘Succession,’ but Armstrong and company deploy it with razor-like precision.”
Willa Paskin (Slate): “The show has a singular tone, in which black comedy and heavy drama coexist without quite combining, a blizzard in which the mix-ins have not been entirely mixed. One minute, you’re eating ice cream, the next, your teeth crack on cookie grit. The new season is less funny than the first but more urgent.”
Daniel D’Addario (Variety): “What a pleasant surprise, then, that the second season has found a way forward — and has become vastly more interesting in the process. The world of the Roy family has opened up, yielding a meaningful understanding not merely of the lust for power but of what that power can do, and what privileges it strips away … These collisions between the Roys and the rest of us have given ‘Succession’ — richer in humor and insight even as it’s scabrous as ever — vibrant, dimensional life.”
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 22. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.
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