Some alternative TV shows to tide you over until Succession season 3 begins.
The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty – watch it on BBC iPlayer now
If Succession‘s writers made a documentary, The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty is what you’d get. It covers the rise of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the brief years in the wilderness after the phone hacking scandal, and his comeback after Donald Trump’s election and Brexit. It shows how much of Rupert Murdoch’s life was guided by his father Keith Murdoch, and how his childrens’ fates are dictated by his. There are so many direct parallels in the business and Logan Roy’s: after Murdoch’s fall on his yacht during negotiations with Disney, the company claimed he was merely “working from home”; there’s the new wife who drives a wedge between the father and his children; and, there’s his dismissive and opportunistic attitude to politics, prime ministers and presidents. It’s full of imagery that appears in Murdoch Dynasty, too, including Super 8 footage of Rupert and his children in the pool in the 1980s, black Mercedes in the Scottish countryside and helicopter pads in lower Manhattan. As for the real life succession, the three part series ends with a drone shot of Lachlan Murdoch’s palace in Beverly Hills. But that’s not the end of the story.
Veep – watch Veep now on NowTV
Succession’s creator Jesse Armstrong worked with Veep’s Armando Iannucci on Peep Show, The Thick of It and the first season of Veep, a cynical and knowing workplace comedy about the barely functioning and mostly irrelevant office of the vice president and the awful but loveable people who wield its power.
The Loudest Voice – watch The Loudest Voice now on NowTV
The Loudest Voice is emphatically not a comedy. Russell Crowe plays the monstrous Roger Ailes, founder of Fox News and executive producer of Donald Trump’s political career, tracking his and his network’s steady rise to the top of cable news in the US. The slow burning style of this seven part series (with the exception of the dramatic second episode) makes it incredibly satisfying to see him being brought down by the brave and wily Gretchen Carlson, played by Naomi Watts. There are many crossovers with Succession including several scenes shot in the same locations, and not least the epilogue dedicated to his successor Bill Shine. Where is he now? Working for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, of course.
A real life Wolf of Wall Street story which won’t end until its fugitive protagonist fixer Jho Low is brought to justice, this documentary shows how dogged journalism and brave activists exposed corruption at the heart of the Malaysian government, and how Western finance and Hollywood bent over backwards to get its cut of the dirty money. The most compelling moments include the Blackberry messages as Jho Low procured an “18 carrot [sic] pink heart diamond” for the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, and the intrepid Alex Ritman of Hollywood Reporter confronting Robert De Niro about his son’s Raphael’s role in selling $55 million worth of real estate for Jho Low.
Channel 4 Dispatches: The Prince and The Paedophile – watch on Channel 4 now
This investigative documentary offers shocking new details about the alleged close relationship between convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the Queen’s favourite son Prince Andrew. Epstein’s connections to powerful figures from the worlds of science, technology and politics are troubling but not unsurprising: a ticket to the world of unimaginable luxury, wealth and privilege is available to anyone who can pay the price. No legal checks, due diligence or even common sense appear to be required to get an entry to this club of billionaires, media moguls and tech innovators. If you’re careful, you can also see the Queen’s press team reacting to this documentary by placing soft touch stories about the Queen’s cameo at the Olympics and seeding doubts about the veracity of the photograph of Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and the snap of him with Jeffrey Epstein in New York in December 2010 (which originally featured in the now defunct News of the World).
Succession Season One – hurry, you can rewatch Succession’s first season on Now TV
Worth it just to relive the moment Tom met Cousin Greg.
More Succession alternatives
The Insider – Michael Mann’s gripping drama about Big Tobacco and the investigative journalist who gets a whistleblower to speak out, which pivots midway into a gritty and tense depiction of corporate pressure in American television news. Watch The Insider now on YouTube
Arrested Development – Was there really any money in the banana stand? Watch Arrested Development on Netflix (but skip the last season whatever you do)
The Big Short – Succession executive producer Adam McKay’s Oscar-winning punchy but shallow explanation of the roots of the financial crisis and its short selling traders. Watch The Big Short now on Netflix
Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World – the title says it all. Oliver Bullough’s book about how the ultra rich stay that way. Buy it now on Amazon.
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