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To anyone who has stumbled into this part of an obscure website, I say this: Congratulations. What you have accomplished is akin to solving Rubik's Cube without even trying. But it occurs to me that you may have noticed all of my television rants that remain posted seem to be say negative things about movies and programs I have watched on HBO, which prompts me to say that some of my favorite series — including what I consider the best program ever done for television — were HBO presentations, including "The Sopranos," "Band of Brothers," "Deadwood," and the best one of them all, "The Wire."

I begin on a positive note because I am once again puzzled by the praise heaped upon another HBO series, "Succession," supposedly inspired by media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family. The character around which the drama swirls — vomits and occasionally urinates — is named Logan Roy, played by Scotland-born actor Brian Cox, the original Hannibal Lecktor in the 1986 film, "Manhunter." Since then, he has popped up in so many films and television series that he seems to be everywhere.

Some have called "Succession" the best dramatic series on television, which it may well be, because we grade on the curve, and there is not much competition. I'm certain few people will agree when I say "Succession" is a contemporary version of "Dallas," with the print, television and Internet media replacing the oil and cattle businesses. Also, Logan Roy's feud is with the world at large, while "Dallas" began with Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) at the center, always filled with hatred for his one-time friend, wildcatter Digger Barnes (David Wayne; later Keenan Wynn). Since Jock's youngest son, Bobby, married Digger's daughter, Pamela, "Dallas" was often likened to "Romeo and Juliet," but mostly it was about two of Jock's sons vying to succeed him at head of Ewing Oil.

Jock's son, John Ross (J. R.) Ewing, was the villain of the piece, and the role turned Larry Hagman into a TV superstar. Even at his worst, however, J. R. was more likable than the four emotionally crippled Roy children, played by Alan Ruck, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin.

Ruck's Connor Roy is the oldest, and the only one clearly out of the running to succeed his aging, erratic father. Connor Roy has never actually had a real job, but now, probably in his mid-40s, he has decided to run for president. Well, if Donald Trump could succeed, why not another man whose mind resides on a different planet?

Jeremy Strong, as cocaine-sniffing Kendall Roy, was the designated heir when this series began a year ago, but so many of his decision have backfired, including his attempt at a hostile takeover of his father's company, that he's pretty much in the dog house, though you can tell his father still loves him in that peculiar way of his because the leash he put around Kendall's neck is rather long. Strong's performance makes Kendall more of a robot than human, and it may be the actor's style rather than something the role calls for. The only other time I recall seeing Strong, he was similarly robotic.

Sarah Snook, as the only Roy daughter, Siobhan ("Shiv." for short), has emerged this season as the heir (heiress?) apparent, but anyone old enough to have seen "Dallas" knows that when carrots get dangled in front of other children, it's usually the father's way of spurring his favorite — in this case, Kendall — into action.

Shiv's most obvious weakness is her tendency to sleep around even while engaged, then married to Tom Wambsgans (Matthew McFadyen), one of the weirder characters ever to come to life on a television show. Wambsgans is a demented suck-up who says and does so many outrageous things that he ought to be institutionalized. His immediate underling is Greg Hirsch, Logan Roy's grandnephew, played by six-foot-six Nicholas Braun, an opportunistic gopher who goes through life pretending he's much dumber than he really is. Greg and Tom are an often amusing couple, though the joke has been stretched dangerously thin.

Which leaves Roman Roy, the youngest son of Logan Roy, and also the most obnoxious, though he gets to say most of the show's memorable lines. He's played by Kieran Culkin, brother of Macauley Culkin, and an actor who specializes in doing characters you'd like to jam into a wood chipper. He's a ne'er-do-well who so far this season has, surprisingly, been given some responsibility by his father. You just know he'll eventually fall through a trap door.

I'm not sure why I watch "Succession," except that I love its quirky theme song, which features some piano-pounding that reminds me how I must have sounded to my parents during my five fruitless years of lessons.

My sense is the characters in this show will go around and around, always winding up back at square one at the end of each short season. Half the time I don't know what they're talking about, since they speak in what I assume are cute, pop culture cliches. References to the companies that make up Logan Roy's media empire are, to me, so vague as to be meaningless.

In the second episode this season Kendall, following his father's orders, torpedoed a company that Logan Roy bought on Kendall's recommendation, then realized he had been conned. The name of the company is Vaulter, and is described as "a media website," as though that's all we need to know.

At least, when the fight was over oil wells we could understand the financial implications. Oh, I know how Amazon makes its billions of dollars, but I'm not sure how most Internet-related companies do it, or, in Vaulter's case, how a room full of young people cranking out nonsense on a website can generate much money, unless it comes from companies stupid enough to advertise.

But that's my feeling in general about the Internet. It may be today's version of "The Emperor's New Clothes."

And my feeling about "Succession" is that it offers a strong argument to watch less television and do more reading.

 
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