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HBO's Succession Looks Like It's Funny, but Not a Joke

The barbed media biz drama's trailer looks pretty darn great

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Liam Mathews

The first teaser for HBO's Succession made it look like a very serious drama, which was kind of surprising, since it's written by The Thick of It's Jesse Armstrong and directed by Anchorman and Step Brothers' Adam McKay. Succession was obviously never going to be a Will Ferrell-type of endeavor, but McKay's previous drama film The Big Short still had a sense of humor, presenting the financial crisis from a "can you believe this sh--?" angle. And from the first full trailer for Succession, it looks like the upcoming HBO series is going to do the same for the media business, with a raised-eyebrows satirical streak.

Succession stars Brian Cox as a Rupert Murdoch-esque media mogul who's getting on in years and starting to act erratically. His children -- played by Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Alan Ruck -- are worried about his effect on the family business, so they start jockeying for position in replacing him.

Succession looks like it's going to be funny the way Billions is funny. The dialogue is witty and barbed, with Culkin calling Cox "Kim Jong-Pop" in response to his father's non-hypothetical question about why the company doesn't do "all the news." It sounds like Succession is inspired by Sinclair Broadcasting's devious tactics, too. At one point Cox pronounces even "sabotage" like Captain Kirk. These people are controlling the media, but they're as petty and inept as the crew from Veep, a show with which Succession shares an executive producer in Frank Rich.

Succession premieres Sunday, June 3 at 10/9c on HBO.