Has a premium-cable series ever been cancelled after just one episode? If not, HBO's "Succession" would be a fine place to start.
"Succession" stars Brian Cox
as Logan Roy, the CEO of a media conglomerate. In the first episode, it is Logan's birthday, and his children from various marriages, some greedy, some idiotic, some both, are gathering at his apartment to wish him a happy birthday, and, far more important in some or all of their cases, to hear him announce his retirement and his plans for who will succeed him in running the company.
It's not always possible for every single character in a show to be both interesting and sympathetic, but it's good if at least one character is at least interesting or sympathetic. In the case of "Succession," I can't see any evidence that anyone tried to make any of the characters one or the other.
I don't know what exactly went wrong here, but it went thoroughly wrong. Brian Cox has done great work in many movies and TV shoes. In fact, this is the only time I've seen him where he wasn't the slightest bit interesting. I don't see any reason to mention anyone else in the cast, except for Alan Ruck, who play's Cox's character's oldest son. You may recall Ruck as the annoying hick on the bus in Speed who keeps chattering away about how he's brand-new in LA. If that character was meant to be something other than annoying, then *buzzer sound*, fail. Why do people keep hiring Ruck? What has he got on them? I'm pretty sure that Ruck's character in "Succession" is meant to be hideous: we see him bragging at the birthday party about how much water is under his land out west, and telling a little girl that soon people will be killing each other for water, but he will have plenty of it. The thing is, though: it's Alan Ruck, so no matter how the character is written, the result will be hideous. Having Ruck play a hideous character is hideous overkill. Please, Mr Ruck, for the good of drama and comedy, and in the name of all that is holy, retire.
I'm not sure whether "Succession" is intended to be drama or comedy or both, but it's neither dramatic nor funny, just dreary and yucky, far worse than Alan Ruck, alone, could make any show be. I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. I just winced.