I’m starting to think I have weird taste in TV. These days, I’m drawn to a mishmash of soapy Virgin River, tear-soaked This Is Us, and six movies set on submarines.
The latest weirdness: I’m deep into a combo-binge, because a mono-binge just isn’t enough for me now that the pandemic has taught me how to watch seven seasons of Alone in snappy fashion.
I’ve pretty much got a Comparative Literature course going, watching three television series that are all the same story: sons overcoming the tyranny and abuse and expectation of their fathers.
Billions. Damian Lewis is the hedge fund scoundrel trying to escape the legacy of his brutal father.
Succession. AKA Billions only smarter. Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin (and Sarah Snook and that other brother who’s fecklessly running for president) try to curry favor with their bonkers media mogul father Brian Cox, who has tried to escape the legacy of his horrible father. Tragedy and comedy all day long.
Yellowstone. AKA Succession on a horse. Everybody’s trying to get the patriarch of a ranch the size of Rhode Island to love them. Kevin Costner looks fantastic, wears his Carhartt like a boss, but the guy’s a mess. All he wants is to keep his promise to his long-dead daddy not to lose the ranch, so his real estate strategy is to destroy anybody coming after his 200,000 acres. While simultaneously sitting alone at the grand dining room every morning feeling sad that nobody will have eggs with him. (The trailer up top is hilariously over the top and 100% accurate.)
When you watch these three series simultaneously, it starts to feel like nobody ever had a good dad, ever in the world. The women are all over the place, dealing with men who are basically out of their minds with ambition, greed, and anger. It’s hard to know whom to root for, so I guess I’m just rooting for justice to prevail? Throw the bums out, all of ’em!
There’s lots of transportation porn—black SUVs, black sports cars doled out like birthday cards, black helicopters standing at the ready any time of day or night. The black Dodge Ram pickup trucks at the Dutton Ranch are never dirty. Rich folks love a black vehicle, turns out.
Also: it gets tricky to keep all the boardrooms straight. Billions: all glass. Succession: all glass. Yellowstone: what a boardroom would look like if Sundance Catalog got hold of it.
Curious to hear what you all think of these shows. Please don’t mention any spoilers, which I realize is basically impossible as I write this post. I can’t even read Twitter when a new episode of these shows is on!