ry “Lodge 49” fan has their own way of answering what the show is “actually about.” Some will point to the logline of a wayward surf and pool enthusiast who stumbles across a secret society. Others will point to the show’s subtle critiques of capitalism and how a money-dominated society slowly grinds down everyone caught within it.
One of the magical things about this AMC series is that, even when you have a pretty firm grasp on what the show is going for, it will happily keep you on your toes. That’s how you end up with an eminently fascinating minute of television like the one that opens up Season 2.
Opening on a suddenly replenished Dud Dudley Wyatt Russell offering a singsong Spanish phrase while nestled in his seat on board a plane heading to who knows where, the camera pulls back to reveal Ernie Brent Jennings, clad in a mariachi bolero jacket. Then things really start to take off.
There’s a character throughout “Lodge 49” that only exists as an audiobook narrator. For those who are unfamiliar with who plays this mysterious, heretofore-unseen figure, you’re in for a real surprise in the scene below.
In its own artful way, “Lodge 49” usually raises more questions than it answers. If the flaming globe head and typewriter are total mysteries, Season 1 currently available on Hulu will help clarify that these aren’t exactly random conclusions.
So what comes next for this pair, with Ernie as a knight and Dud as his trusty squire? For those with the means of translating, “sueño” is the key word in Dud’s first line. But “Lodge 49” has a way of showing how dreams come in many different forms.
The first episode of “Lodge 49” Season 2 is available to stream via the AMC website. New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC
n the heels of scoring 5 Primetime Emmy nominations for its freshman run, including Outstanding Drama Series, HBO’s family saga Succession returned for a second season on Sunday to a series high 1.2 million premiere night viewers across HBO's linear network and digital platforms.
That was up +32% from the viewership for Succession‘s series premiere night 918,000 viewers and +22% from the nightly audience for the Season 1 finale 997,000 viewers.
The Season 2 opener averaged 612,000 viewers at 9 PM on HBO, up +5% from the Season 1 premiere, indicating that most of the premiere night gains came from digital viewing. In linear Live+ same day premiere ratings, the series high mark still belongs to the Season 1 finale, 730,000 viewers
Created by Jesse Armstrong and executive produced by The Big Short's Adam McKay, Season 2 of Succession follows the Roy family as they struggle to retain control of their empire, and while the future looks increasingly uncertain, it is the past that threatens ultimately to destroy them.
The Season 2 cast includes Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Hiam Abbass, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Friedman, Rob Yang, J. Smith Cameron, Dagmara Dominczyk and Arian Moayed. Holly Hunter is recurring.
Succession is executive produced by Armstrong, McKay, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick, Will Ferrell, Jane Tranter, Mark Mylod and Tony Roche. Armstrong also serves as showrunner.
Succession attracted its biggest first-night audience ever with Sunday's second-season premiere.
Including replays and streaming, the show drew 1.2 million viewers, its biggest audience ever. That's a 22 percent improvement over the same figure for the first-season finale a year ago 997,000 and a 32 percent bump over the series debut in June 2018 918,000.
The on-air debut for Succession — which picked up with media mogul Logan Roy Brian Cox and his scheming family right after the events of the first-season finale — delivered 612,000 viewers. That's up from 582,000 for the series premiere and a little ahead of the season one average of 603,000. The second-season premiere ranks as just the fifth most-watched episode of the show when it first airs; the finale heads that list with 730,000 viewers.
As in increasingly the case for HBO and other premium cable series, however, the on-air audience for the premiere was only about half of the total on Sunday. Replays and streaming accounted for 588,000 viewers — a 96 percent gain on the initial audience.
The near doubling of the linear audience represents an even bigger gain than that of the Euphoria premiere, which rose by 70 percent from streaming and replays on its debut night.
Here's a pitch for “Lodge 49”: “Dud” Dudley is about as close to a real-life Paddington Bear as Peak TV is going to get. The merry rover of Long Beach, he's an idealistic character taken with the possibilities of adventure who, even though prone to errors and mistakes, brings some magical sense of wonder into the lives of everyone he comes across.
But even with Wyatt Russell's charming, cash-strapped hero as the ongoing inciting force binding new family and old together, AMC's undersung series has been quietly amassing one of the most compelling collections of characters anywhere in the TV landscape. Not content with making a universe that revolves around one figure trying to piece together the answers to some of life's biggest questions, “Lodge 49” has grown into a country-hopping, plane-transcending hangout with individuals of boundless depth.
Everyone in “Lodge 49” is searching for some sense of belonging. Sometimes it comes in the form of a job breakthrough. Other times it comes from the special kind of camaraderie that comes from hanging out on weeknights in a bar inside a drafty meeting place. As a result, the show delights in those inexplicable ways and intangible forces that can draw different people together, binding them to a common, shared experience.
Again using that kind of bond as a jumping off point, Season 2 plunges into the world of the metaphysical, all while being grounded in real world experiences. As the eccentric holistic medicine practitioner Blaise St. John — played to perfection by the inimitable David Pasquesi — tells Dud, those with his pursuit must learn to move in both the real and the mystical. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of a current TV show that manages to do the same. There can be real pain here when people are trying to parse out the mysteries of the past or suss out the possibilities of the future. In other cases, as with Dud's sister Liz Sonya Cassidy, there can be just as much frustration in not knowing why those quests never seem all that appealing in the first place.
And there's a growing mythology to the otherwise-ordinary goings-on at the Long Beach-area fraternal order that gives the show its title. Tying into a long tradition of adventure stories, “Lodge 49” is deceptive in its scope, even as its central players catch flights and hop in vans to far-flung locations. To fully explain the chain of events that leads Lodge 49 members like Ernie Brent Jennings and Connie Linda Emond on their respective Season 2 excursions is possible, but the more important takeaway from these new episodes is that the show recognizes what its characters don't always manage: There's no special lesson that will unlock the secrets of the spheres that human connection won't otherwise bring about.
While “Lodge 49” sets in motion these vast pursuits and grand unifications, it also continues to explore the anxiety that comes with loss. Death hangs over multiple characters in the series, whether they facing the possibility of experiencing it themselves or are still wrestling with the inexplicable ways that people have been removed from their own lives. “Lodge 49” is gradually expanding its scope, even while some of the people within them still hold themselves back out of fear of regret.
For as fully realized as these core Lodge folks remain — it's a joy to watch performers like Eric Allan Kramer add new layers to characters like Scott with each passing episode — it can make the more transitory figures in this story feel all the more fleeting, like when Season 2 brings new tenants to the retail space once occupied by the Dudley's family pool supply company. But when those people get to stick around, like with Dud's enigmatic new legal representative Daphne Mary Elizabeth Ellis or El Confidente Cheech Marin, who fits into the series' framework into some unexpected ways, they not only get their chance to be more than just a single characteristic presented in human form, they help the show fulfill the journey that enmeshes so many of its characters.
Even when the show dips into its bag of visual tricks, it's never presented in a way that feels outside of the “Lodge 49” viewpoint. A pair of sequences at the top of the Season 2 premiere — a literary-induced hallucination and a kaleidoscopic refresher on each of the protagonist's singular pursuits — still fit into how Dud or Ernie or Connie or anyone else see the world. It's a tricky task for a show to maintain a consistent overall atmosphere while allowing for some out-of-this-world diversions. But such is the mystery of the Lodge.
On top of everything else, this show is as funny as it is ambitious. Spreading its ensemble to various corners of the globe brings with it plenty of opportunities for these people to realize the tiny absurdities that come in what they're searching for. “Lodge 49” jokes don't just come from the fact that people try to use produce as currency or that office managers have amateur poetry aspirations, it's that those choices follow naturally within the grounded logic of the show. As much Season 2 plays with the true meaning of “alchemy,” this show seems to already know the secret.
Warning: Profane spoilers for The Boys will be found below.
The Boys, the depraved and wickedly fun joyride of a TV series that skewers superheroes, has already become IMDB’s top-rated Amazon Original series ever. Based upon Garth Ennis’ ultraviolent and ultrasexual comic book series of the same name, the show’s already filming season two, mere weeks after the series premiere. Showrunner Eric Kripke knows that he has a hit on his hands, and he doesn’t plan on fixing what isn’t broken, so it sure doesn’t look like he plans on omitting any necessary ingredients moving forward.
At least, that’s what people can gather from Kripke’s first-look photo as revealed on Twitter. “A small token for #TheBoysTV fans. World’s first pic of #Season2,” he wrote. “As you can see, we’re up to our old tricks. If you haven’t seen, JOIN US. Streaming now…”
A small token for #TheBoysTV fans. World's first pic of #Season2. As you can see, we're up to our old tricks. If you haven't seen, JOIN US. Streaming now on @PrimeVideo @TheBoysTV #TheBoys #SPN #SPNFamily #Timeless pic.twitter.com/3z29mVBfNl
— Eric Kripke @therealKripke August 10, 2019
Above, Kripke’s flanked by returning actors Tomer Capon as Frenchie; Karen Fukuhara as The Female; Jack Quaid as Hughie; and Laz Alonso as Mother’s Milk. And of course, everyone’s flipping the bird and largely drenched in blood. Naturally, this suggests a mystery because god only knows whose blood they’re all wearing any and all guesses are futile, but none of the Supes are present, nor is Karl Urban’s Butcher. This definitely isn’t a shot from the scene deemed too expensive for last season, which Kripke hopes to eventually bring to life. Or is it? We should feel sufficiently teased.
Leave it to Succession's Logan Roy to publicly dangle the future leadership of his media empire in front of his sons, only to swerve left and secretly make his daughter his heir.
That bait-and-switch formed the dramatic climax of Sunday's season-two premiere of the wicked HBO family drama, which kicked off with the return of Kendall Roy Jeremy Strong to the family business once he publicly disavows his previous attempt to take over his father's conglomerate, Waystar Royco. Faced with investors losing confidence in the future of his company — Kendall painted his father as an incompetent leader in the first season — Logan Brian Cox decides to stage a summit at his "summer palace" to name one of his children his successor and regain control. Each child is commanded to advise Logan on whether to resist or accept an investor takeover; and while both Kendall and Roman Kieran Culkin have been sparring for their father's affections in the office since the first season, his final, closed-door consultation with his one child outside of the business, political adviser Shiv Sarah Snook, proves to be the most successful. She advises her father on resisting a takeover and is secretly crowned his successor Roy promises to announce the promotion at a later date.
The revelation creates a much more pivotal role for Snook, who demonstrated her family's cutthroat instincts in the first season of Jesse Armstrong's show but ultimately seemed more destined for politics than Murdoch-like leadership. It also sets up deepening tensions with her new husband, Tom Matthew McFadyen, a sycophantic middle manager at Waystar Royco who has ambitions for a much larger leadership role, and her brothers, who Shiv sparred with mostly amiably in the first season. "Shiv is often sidelined for the sake of them, and so when the tables are turned, they don't like a taste of their own medicine," Snook says now.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter before the season-two premiere, Snook explained the significance of Shiv's entry into the family business, how she prepared for her emotional, climactic premiere scene with Brian Cox and what's in store for her character in the rest of the season.
To start off, tell me a little bit about what your immediate reaction was to reading the script for the season 2 premiere.
It's always exciting, really, to get reengaged with the characters and see where Jesseand the writers are going to take them in this new season. It was pretty exciting to see what direction Shiv is taking in the first episode already and the conflict that that sets up about whether she will remain in politics or become fully invested and put two feet into the family business.
How unexpected for you was the revelation that Shiv would be chosen as the heir to the Roy business? Did you ever suspect that might be the case?
Originally, Iwhen I got the role back in 2016, when we were shooting the pilot, but in conversations with Jesse, he quite explicitly said that Shiv doesn't want to be in the business, doesn't want to take over, that's not something she's looking for. I was like, "Oh, that's completely not what I thought, but okay, you're the writer, you know what's up, so I guess I'll not be invested in that idea." And so then when I came back for season two and that idea came crashing down, I was like " Wow. That's pretty cool."
The premiere hinges on a pivotal scene between you and Brian Cox. Tell me a little bit about what it took to get it right.
For me, I was terrified. It was an amazingly well-written scene and it's quite a pivotal moment for my character and I obviously wanted to do it justice. I wanted to do the scene andthe creatives, like Jesse and Mark, would be like, "You know what, I don't think she's ready for this storyline, maybe we should rewrite" and take the whole thing in a different direction. So I spent a whole lot of time fretting and ended up putting that into learning the lines, and deciding what she wanted in terms of objectives. And then by the time we got to that day, I just forgot it all and just listened to Brian and focused on being in the scene and in that world.
Did you end up doing any improvisation for the scene and if so, what was that?
We certainly did quite a lot of that. Mark works in a way in which we will do a certain amount of takes with this set-up with cameras and then once we feel we've got the scene, we'll do a freebie with that setup and then move the cameras around. And to be honest, you've seen more than I have, so I don't know what's made the final cut and how they decided to end the scene, how far they've taken it: there were various iterations of the ending of that scene. Some of them ended more of an eternal, very touching family moment, and others it was a little more transactional, so I don't know what they decided to go for in the final cut of the episode.
Jesse Armstrong has said in interviews that the Succession cast has input on the script. Did you provide any on the season's premiere?
Only insofar as asking where things are going for Shiv in the upcoming season. I think certainly in discussions of what Jesse has planned for Shiv and what we feel is the desired direction, I guess. That's the really great thing about Jesse as a showrunner: He's so open to collaboration and to alternate possibilities, seeing other sides to the person, that you may not have considered. Whether that makes the script or edit is different, but it always feels like a very smooth.
Looking ahead, how is Shiv's new knowledge has father has seemingly picked her to run the business going to change her dynamic with her brothers?
That's a really tricky one for her to have to navigate because she's not allowed to tell anybody and so desperately, of course, wants to. Finally it all really does come out, but it drives a bit of a wedge between them all where the brothers feel that they were sidelined. It's interesting, because for the most part I would say Shiv is often sidelined for the sake of them, and so when the tables are turned, they don't like a taste of their own medicine. It poses difficulties for not just her and her brothers, but her and Tom as well.
Along those lines, in the season-one finale, Shiv told Tom that she had an affair and they still got married. How will the effects of that revelation show up this season?
It's kind of a slow boil, I think, which is smart as well. Jesse's really interested in all the subtleties of human interaction and what those textures are. I think if we were maybe more inclined for a soapy pursuit of story then that would be front-and-center, but Jesse's class and taste in constructing a storyline, we encountered that relatively softly, I guess, but it's always simmering. Eventually by10, things blow up a bit.
How has Shiv's more pivotal role in the business this season changed your experience on set? Is it fun to the play the boss-to-be?
Oh, yeah, definitely. I feel like Shiv was always doing that anyway: That's her M.O. She doesn't know how not to be a bull in the china shop sometimes. The thing that I've been most interested in exploring are the ways in which Shiv and Logan are similar and how you can't escape being your father's daughter sometimes, and how long that lasts — that's been fun to play with, that dynamic.
What are we going to learn about Shiv this season that we didn't know previously?
I guess it's hinted at previously in episode 10 in season one, but we definitely get more of a sense of there having been a past where Shiv was maybe a little bit less in control of her emotions or feelings. There's been a situation in the past where she's been out of sorts and that both Logan and Tom were aware of. There's a history of something that's happened.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.