Submitted by sammybunsy t3_126puw1 in television

Don't get me wrong, I love the show. I think it comfortably sits in the top three lineup of best shows currently airing. However, there's something about the dialogue that strikes me as too snappy, ornate, and referential for it to resonate with me as deeply as the greats from TV's golden age (The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.).

Personally, I like dialogue that manages to achieve its aims without going overboard on flowery language. Whether a line is intended to be profound, comedic, or incisive, I'll always take leanness over showiness. And I think Succession often finds itself stepping over the line that separates "great writing" from "overwriting."

The show doesn't always do this, though. There are some ultra-memorable and poignant lines like Logan's "it's a fight for a knife in the mud," and the eminently quotable, "you can't make a Tomlette without breaking a few Greggs." But for every five of those, there are one or two lines stuffed with obscure media references, unrealistically sharp metaphors, and thesaurus-laden verbiage.

All that said, I do still love the show and can appreciate even the lines I find to be a bit grating. Wondering what your thoughts are.

TLDR: Succession is great, but sometimes I think it's a bit overwritten.



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Guyver0 t1_jeaictf wrote

Writing isn't just dialogue btw.


sammybunsy OP t1_jeaikaw wrote

Yeah I understand that. Maybe should’ve clarified that in the title but throughout the post I make it clear that I’m speaking specifically about the dialogue, not other elements of the writing.


b1gmouth t1_jea7w0x wrote

Yes. The writing is outstanding. The dialog can sometimes be a bit florid but it rarely feels inappropriate for the show or the speaker. Also, keep in mind that dialog is just one element of good writing. The characterization, in particular, is also superlative.


sammybunsy OP t1_jea82b2 wrote

I won’t argue with that at all. Very true. That’s what makes me love the show so much. They’re all such memorable characters with unique motivations.


b1gmouth t1_jea98x0 wrote

Indeed. Very sharply drawn. All that said, I do share your preference for dialog that's more spare.


Chataboutgames t1_jeaaars wrote

It's funny to effectively ask "everyone" is something is as "everyone" says it is


sammybunsy OP t1_jeaf2rl wrote

Well, you know what I mean lol. It’s widely considered to have incredible, next-level writing. I even agree with that sentiment to an extent. Just being a bit hyperbolic for the sake of the post.


TheFlabbs t1_jecbhrr wrote

I’m convinced that anybody who thinks Succession has next-level writing hasn’t actually watched or paid attention to a drama that’s actually good and well-written lmao. People who think that it’s next-level to dabble in the concept of money and its moral ambiguities must be incredibly boring, that’s some real surface level shit


[deleted] t1_jea68yi wrote

I think the writing on Succession is generally very good but it's not without its flaws. While the show has some truly memorable lines and moments, there are also times when the dialogue feels a bit too ornate and referential. As one critic put it Succession is a show that loves to show off its vocabulary, and it can be a bit much at times.

At its best the writing on Succession is sharp witty and full of insight. But at its worst, it can be a bit too showy and self-indulgent. I think it's a great show, but it's not quite on the same level as the all-time greats like The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad.


sammybunsy OP t1_jea6ucu wrote

Yeah 100% agree


sammybunsy OP t1_jec5h1s wrote

Lmao it’s hilarious that this person basically said exactly what I said in my OP but in different words, then I say I agree, and I get downvoted but they don’t. OP backlash is such a weird phenomenon.


OG-Mate23 t1_jedajez wrote

It's Jesse Armstrongs usual tropes of using political reality, social issues and historical references in a comical and inappropriate manner while enhancing or giving the characters their witty banter. Look at his writings in the Thick of It which if you're not a fan can be little jarring and very on the nose as it progress


PetyrDayne t1_jeaewfe wrote

Does the top church man shit in the woods?


anasui1 t1_jebbqup wrote

yes, the dialogue alone is tops; on another kind of show like, say, Law and Order, it would sound pretentious but on a show where everyone is obviously very smart but also borderline psychotic it sounds appropriate


OG-Mate23 t1_jedaprs wrote

Very smart is not how you will describe the main characters in this show. Maybe backstabbers and power lust morons


kugglaw t1_jeaxasc wrote

Succession is a brilliant TV show. It’s also vastly overrated. Same goes for a lot of current prestige television, to be honest.


sammybunsy OP t1_jeaxutd wrote

What other shows are you thinking of?


kugglaw t1_jeazdag wrote

The Last of Us. Atlanta. Yellowjackets. All shows that are pretty great all in all, but massively overhyped by the press and their respective fandoms. Nothing can live up to the insane amount of praise people load on to good television these days.


sammybunsy OP t1_jeb1x8e wrote

I’ve only seen Last of Us out of that group. Heard good thing about the other two though.

I feel like tLoU had a couple amazing episodes and a couple pretty subpar episodes. It was basically 50/50 whether I was going to like the show that week. But episode three I thought was potentially one of the best single episodes of tv I’ve seen in years. What a goddamn story, what moving writing, what touching performances. Just perfect. I was genuinely pissed when Ellie and Joel came back into the picture and was like “wait wtf I wanna still hang out with those guys…” lol


TheFlabbs t1_jecb3hj wrote

All of these shows are really average at best and I think the praise people give them is some kind of attempt at accrediting this new era of television when really none of it even comes close to some of the best dramas of the 2000s. It’s so sad to watch people praise these shows when we’ve had so much better


wednesdayware t1_jeacpi7 wrote

The writing is often great, and the show is top notch, but if we're being honest, sometimes it does go up its own ass. Those moments of brilliance and excitement tend be surrounded by endless conversations that cover the same ground over and over.


PMMeRyukoMatoiSMILES t1_jead4xs wrote

No, it's that same dumb HBO style dialogue of meaningless cursing more meant for pop culture memes than how real people actually talk that displays no introspection, offhandedly or otherwise, and is laughably cliched whenever it actually does try to be serious. Compare it to the dialogue of Woody Allen or Cassavettes. There's nothing even at the depth of a Steve McQueen in Hunger/12 Years A Slave, and he's a director known for silence, not dialogue.

Look at the lines you quote. One is a barely-witty comment and the other a half-funny pun. The 'great lines' people quote are just funny jokes at best, not the layered characterization/thematically meaningful of "God is a luxury I can't afford." or "Your problem is you always think you're gonna be the one to make them different". Even "Karl Marx was wrong when he said religion was the opium of the people; money is."

I legitimately don't think HBO has ever made a show with great writing. Maybe The Wire?


LGBT2QPLUS t1_jeafv3a wrote

> Even "Karl Marx was wrong when he said religion was the opium of the people; money is."

You are using quotation marks wrong. Also the world runs on money, it doesn't run on opium. So that doesn't make sense.

Or were you quoting Logan Roy or something? I could see him saying something like that.