Arts & Entertainment, Film and TV

No show succeeded ‘Succession’ at the Emmys

With awards show season in full swing, the Arts & Entertainment team looks at some of the standout moments from this year’s Emmy Awards.

Genre Categories in a Genreless Age 

In the 2022–2023 television season, most viewers would probably say that they laughed more at Tom Wambsgans’ rant about a “ludicrously capacious bag” that a woman mistakenly brought to Logan Roy’s birthday party in Succession than the stress-inducing character interactions in The Bear. Despite this, these two shows—the most awarded of last week’s Emmys ceremony—were placed in the separate categories of comedy (The Bear) and drama (Succession).

Before the age of streaming, media genres seemed much clearer. Comedies ran for half an hour and rarely tackled serious issues. Dramas ran for an hour and, conversely, limited their moments of levity. However, with the advent of platforms like Netflix and Hulu, these rules have mostly gone out the window. Arbitrary runtimes no longer constrain television, and most shows enjoy increased budgets, all leading to an expectation that TV shows are grander and more impactful than they were 30 years ago. 

So what should the Emmys do in an age of television where there are far fewer rules? Getting rid of the genre-defined categories would result in fewer winners and would likely benefit dramas, which the Television Academy typically considers to be the most prestigious. However, award shows’ insistence on giving out prizes based on arbitrary definitions like “comedy” and “drama” makes shows choose a category and try to convince people that it is the box that they fit into best. There is no clear answer as to what award shows should do, and certainly challenges like renegotiating contracts amidst the writers’ strike is a larger problem. But with TV shows moving further away from conventional genre trappings, the Television Academy will have to deal with this issue sooner rather than later. 

Goodbye to the era of Succession sweeps

After a triumphant awards season, HBO’s Succession swept almost all of the major awards at this past week’s Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series, lauding the cast, crew, and producers for the final time after a mind-blowing fourth season. 

Succession centres on media mogul Logan Roy and his family, with the story being loosely based on Rupert Murdoch and his family’s corporation. In the Drama Series category, this year’s ceremony recognized cast members Kieran Culkin (Roman Roy) for Outstanding Lead Actor, Sarah Snook (Siobhan “Shiv” Roy) for Outstanding Lead Actress, and Matthew MacFadyen (Tom Wambsgans) for Outstanding Supporting Actor. Jesse Armstrong also took home his fourth trophy for Outstanding Writing—one for each season of the show. This year, it was for the show’s highest-rated and most heartbreaking episode ever, the season’s third episode, “Connor’s Wedding,” which is one of the best episodes of television ever. 

As someone who prides herself on being one of Succession’s biggest fans, I am beyond ecstatic with all of their wins. Snook won her first-ever Emmy, and though she has deserved it for years, this season really showed her embodying her role in a way we hadn’t seen before. Shiv’s marriage took a more central role in the plot, and she made her own final moves to secure a spot in her father’s company. While the show’s ‘star’ Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy), did not win Outstanding Lead Actor—which he won in 2020—Culkin won his first Emmy, which touched my heart after his incredible performance this season. 

While there are other shows that I would have loved to see take home an award—particularly Better Call Saul, which has never won an Emmy and now never will—I still strongly believe that Succession deserved all of the awards it received. Unlike many dramas that run past their prime, Succession ended on a perfect high note and won the awards to prove it.

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