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The 2-year wait is almost over — HBO's 'Succession' is back on Sunday


All right, all you fans out there of HBO's "Succession," your two-year wait is almost over. And if you haven't watched the first and second seasons yet, clear your calendar, people, because you've got until Sunday. The drama's Emmy-winning second season ended with media super-mogul Logan Roy getting publicly challenged by one of his sons in an explosive press conference. That's where we last left off, and now this Sunday night, we get to see what happens next. NPR's Linda Holmes is here with us to give us a preview of what HBO is dishing up for Season 3. Hey, Linda.


CHANG: Hey. OK, so you have already seen the new episode, so don't give away too much, but just tantalize me. What's going to happen?

HOLMES: I would never. I would never spoil anything. I will just tell you that we are coming back to this very wealthy, super-powerful family. They own a cable news network, and now you have to see what the fallout is from this press conference where Kendall, the son, challenged his father and came out and made a bunch of accusations. And now we have to see what happens.

CHANG: OK, so for people who have not seen "Succession," like, how would you sum it up?

HOLMES: Well, it is this story about wealth and power. Logan has these four kids, three sons and a daughter. Everybody's kind of jostling for control of the empire. Logan can't live forever, you know? He has had some health scares. So succession refers to kind of succession to power.

CHANG: Right, exactly. What do you think has made the show, like, so loved by its audience? Because if you want to be honest, everyone on this show is kind of a jerk, right?

HOLMES: Yes, they're terrible.

CHANG: (Laughter).

HOLMES: I think it helps a lot that while "Succession" is a drama - it can be a very affecting drama - but it's also really a dark comedy. And some of the characters, including kind of a hanger-on cousin named Greg, are more comedic than they are, I think, dramatic. Greg is played, by the way, by Nicholas Braun, who's the very tall guy you may have seen in some of the pre-season coverage. Everybody loves cousin Greg. I want to play you, in terms of comedy, one of the things that's in one of the trailers for this season - so not a spoiler - which is Logan trying to threaten his son, Kendall. They're passing messages on the phone through Kendall's assistant.


BRIAN COX: (As Logan Roy) You tell him, I'm going to grind his [expletive] bones to make my bread.

JULIANA CANFIELD: (As Jess) He says he's going to grind your bones to make his bread.

JEREMY STRONG: (As Kendall Roy) OK, tell him that I'm going to run up off the [expletive] beanstalk.

CHANG: (Laughter) Oh, man. Yeah, a lot of family love there.

HOLMES: Yeah. So what I think makes the show is that it doesn't take these people entirely seriously. But at the same time, it's a serious show about a pretty vivid picture of both giant powerful companies and giant rich families as being funny but also a pretty tragic phenomenon.

CHANG: Yeah. Well, as we said, we're going to be avoiding spoilers, but the show's been pretty public about some major actors who will be showing up this season. Who should we be looking for?

HOLMES: Yeah. In the premiere, you'll see Sanaa Lathan, who's going to be playing a lawyer - later in the season, people like Adrien Brody, Alexander Skarsgard, even Hope Davis, who - I don't want to tell you what she does, but she's sort of connected to a character you already know. But it is, I will say, really still a show about this family. It's tightly focused on this family, and there's nothing that's going to distract you from that.

CHANG: Linda Holmes is the host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Thank you so much, Linda.

HOLMES: Thank you, Ailsa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.