Credit - HBO (2), Netflix, Everett Collection (2)
On May 28, Succession will conclude after four seasons of scheming, jostling, and maneuvering by a trio (quartet? sorry, Con) of greedy, emotionally stunted, and generally morally bankrupt siblings. As we bid them goodbye, we lose one of the few remaining water-cooler shows, the kind that turns Sunday-night Twitter into a treacherous terrain of spoilers and Monday-morning Instagram into a delightful parade of memes. Whether or not all our questions are answered, whether it’s Kendall or Tom or heck, even Greg who succeeds Logan Roy, it won’t be long until we’ll be looking to fill the daddy issue-shaped hole in our Sunday night streaming diets.
We’ll always have the Roys (or, with all the madness that has been Warner Bros. Discovery’s rebranding of its streaming platform, will we?), but here are some other families, workplaces, and corporate empires to spend your time with next. Some will scratch the Succession itch while others offer soothing counter-programming. So grab your can of lemon La Croix and get watching.
They may not be blood-related, but the power dynamics at play between ad agency creative director Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his secretary-turned-protégé Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) are just as thorny and heart-wrenching as the bonds between any of the Roys. A prestige workplace drama with a healthy dose of familial friction, Mad Men is the 1960s New York period foil of Succession. Parallels between the two shows abound—see the tragically embarrassing spectacles of both Don and Kendall’s 40th birthday parties, for one.
Better Call Saul
Strife between two brothers who love each other but can’t reconcile wildly different outlooks on how the world should work sets in motion the events of Better Call Saul—a plotline that should sound familiar to anyone who just watched Succession‘s penultimate episode. The Breaking Bad prequel series (best viewed after completing its predecessor, though it’s not necessary) traces the steady devolution of down-on-his-luck lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) into morally bankrupt con man Saul Goodman. The AMC drama is a study in the terrible lengths that people will go to for money and power—and what happens to those they betray along the way.
La Casa De Las Flores
If you are looking for another show about dysfunctional families, we can’t recommend La Casa De Las Flores enough. The Netflix show revolves around a wealthy family in Mexico that has built a sprawling empire out of their flower business. An event in the first episode sends their life into a downward spiral, and throughout three seasons, one special, and a movie, viewers watch as family members try to keep their lives from spinning out of control. (The optimal viewing order is the first season, the funeral special, the second and third seasons, then the movie).
Shameless is one of the most stressful shows available to watch on Netflix, but it’s also a fun one from start to finish—interspersed with heartfelt moments and phenomenal acting throughout from William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Cameron Monaghan, and Jeremy Allen White (yes, from The Bear). The show follows the children of the Gallagher family in Southside Chicago as they navigate all of life’s trials and tribulations in addition to their drunken mess of a father, Frank (Macy). Eldest daughter Fiona (Rossum) bears the brunt of responsibility in keeping the family in check.
Succession is about white privilege to the nth degree—mostly in Manhattan (and the Hamptons, and other locales reachable by helicopter). But if you happen to be looking for a satirical dramedy centered around white privilege in Brooklyn, then Search Party is the show for you. It follows Dory (Alia Shawkat), a 20-something living in New York City who realizes her life is at a standstill. She seeks meaning by joining the search party for a woman she barely knew from college who’s gone missing. She drags her boyfriend Drew (John Paul Reynolds), and friends Elliot (John Early), and Portia (Meredith Hagner) into her mess as her life, and the series, devolves into chaos.
Industry has a similar volume of backstabbing, lies, and deceit as Succession, if not more. Instead of following a family media dynasty, the series is based on the lives of interns working at an investment bank in London. Harper (Myha’la Herrold), the story’s protagonist (or antagonist, depending on how you look at it) will do anything to prove her place. Her hunger to succeed is on full display throughout the first season, which follows the main characters through the days leading up to a RIF (reduction in force). The second season reveals who made it through, and how all of the characters are handling their fates.
Succession creator Jesse Armstrong wrote an episode of this political comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus with longtime collaborator and Veep creator Armadno Iannucci. Just as Succession skewers the business world, Veep takes aim at the absurdity of politics. It’s more comedy than drama—think of what the White House would look like if everyone working there was as incompetent and awkward as Greg.
The Thick of It
Another Iannucci-Armstrong collaboration (along with Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche), this political satire (and its award-winning follow-up film In the Loop) centers, like Succession, on the idea that a few fools in a room can change the course of history. Zanier than the rather depressing election episode of Succession, but equally as biting, the British series The Thick of It laid the groundwork for Veep and, eventually, Succession.
Here we have another saga about a rich and powerful family, just placed in a radically different setting: the American West. Currently the most popular show on TV, it stars Kevin Costner as the head of the Dutton family and head honcho of their lucrative cattle ranch. Instead of the Roys battling each other in board rooms, the Duttons wrangle over the family fortune while on horseback.
An ailing patriarch must decide which of his three very different children, all disappointing in their own way, to entrust with the world-famous business he’s spent his life building. Sound familiar? Well, before it was the premise of Succession, this contemporary approximation of King Lear was the premise of this hip-hop soap from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. A massive hit upon its debut in 2015, Empire fizzled out pretty early in its run. But the first season is pure sudsy, addictive pleasure, and Taraji P. Henson’s performance as the tough-as-nails queen to Terrence Howard’s king alone is worth the price of admission.
Conheads, take note: Alan Ruck has an extremely fun guest arc in Hulu’s dramatization of the rise and fall of Theranos, as perhaps the most endearing in a long line of older white men eager to buy a piece of the big nothing Elizabeth Holmes is selling. Best of all, he delivers two stunning renditions of Katy Perry’s “Firework.” Ruck aside, from its dark humor and note-perfect performances to its business intrigue and wise insights into the rich and personality-disordered, The Dropout should check a lot of boxes for those in Succession withdrawal.
After watching four seasons of emotionally closed off family members fight to the finish, couldn’t we all use a hug? Enter: the Braverman family. Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, and Erika Christensen star as four close-knit adult siblings at the center of NBC’s Parenthood. The Bravermans are nothing like the Roys. They are constantly telling each other their most vulnerable feelings. They give each other parenting advice. They say things like “I love you” probably once an episode. Imagine if the Roy children treated each other with kindness? This could be that alternate history. (Beware: it gets very weepy).
Oh, you think the Roys are dysfunctional? The Bluths might just have them beat. After his real estate developer father (Jeffrey Tambor) is sent to prison, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) returns home to run his business and bring the family back together. He’s the straight man among his hilariously materialistic and vain siblings and mother—and often gets dragged into their ridiculous antics. Come for the downfall of a once very wealthy family, stay for the late Jessica Walter’s iconic performance as relentlessly narcissistic matriarch Lucille Bluth.
I Hate Suzie
Co-created by Lucy Prebble, a writer and co-executive producer on Succession, I Hate Suzie stars Billie Piper as a former teen pop star turned television actor whose life is ruined when her phone is hacked and her nudes are leaked. Like Succession, it’s a dark comedy about life in the public eye, though this one is much more focused on the trauma Suzie endures as she navigates what to do in the aftermath.
Brothers and Sisters
Brothers and Sisters, the ABC drama from the late 2000s, is basically the soap opera version of Succession, if WayStar Royco were actually a winery in Ojai and Rob Lowe were playing Tom. There’s familial strife between adult siblings, power plays over money, and a consequential death of a complicated patriarch (though this happens in the pilot). Plus, Sally Field! This is Succession for people with waning attention spans.