Our Stories Are Driving Us Off a Cliff

Why we don’t need any more heroes, or their journeys

Anna Mercury
7 min readMay 5, 2023
Photo by TK on Unsplash

After years of taking no notice of it, I’ve finally been bitten by the Succession bug. It was always going to happen eventually. It’s a beautiful-shot, perfectly-acted masterpiece that feels like a hollowed-out, Trump-era-dystopia take on an Aaron Sorkin show. The writing is superb, the characters are painfully realistic, and the social commentary is infused subtly enough to keep the effect interesting.

It’s funny getting so obsessed with a show where I don’t like a single character. At the same time, I find myself pulled towards empathy with nearly all of them, again and again, my allegiances shifting as fluidly as allegiances shift on the show.

The show has its villain — Logan Roy standing in as a flawless embodiment of the show’s real villain, unfettered capitalism — but it doesn’t really have any heroes. It just has characters: messed-up, traumatized, struggling people with their own pitfalls and strengths, each occasionally lighting up in brief moments of glory that are quickly smothered by the realities of living a cutthroat life. There’s tension and there’s change, but there aren’t many dramatic character arcs. We’re halfway through the last season and so far, (spoiler alert) no one has really redeemed themselves.