Succession – Final Season: Episode three. In the words of Alison as she texted me late Sunday night “Succession!” I think that about sums it up. For those of you who haven’t been watching this Emmy award winning series, the writing and acting have just been excellent. It is quite profane, but that is also part of the allure. There was intrigue building as the three adult children were looking to make a bid for a third party network that was in play, and Dad (with the help of other family members) was an opposing bidder. This was also the day for eldest adult child’s Connor’s wedding (the bearded one in the back, from the guy who played Ferris Bueller’s friend Cameron, and also the bus riding tourist in Speed).
The show’s latest episode has actually even made the mainstream news. I won’t say any more than that, but I will say that this has been a quality show from the beginning. A week ago I was spitballing ideas with Alison with her on how this final season was going to end and I am pretty proud of how prophetic it actually was. Relax, enjoy, let the drama unfold before you. This show may have been based loosely on the Rupert Murdoch family but I regard it as a Shakespearean tragedy, like King Lear.
Tetris: For those of you as old as I am, as well as those who enjoyed video games from back in the day when progress was being made away from “Pong” to more graphic ready devices, this movie may provide you with some background, which is way more involved and political then you could have ever imagined. For context as you watch this movie, Tetris was extremely popular and between the original release from 1989 for Nintendo and Game Boy handheld, and then later Electronic Arts has sold 143,000,000 copies, making it one of the top selling video games ever! This movie is also an Intellectual Property Lawyer’s dream, with the intrigue revolving around the license grant from the game’s creator, who happened to be Russian. For Nintendo and Game Boy this was the flagship app, which sold the device itself.
The intrigue involves the Russian government, which at the time was crumbling with the world watching and US President making pitches for Mikhail Gorbachev to “take this wall down”, referring to the Berlin Wall, but implying that the Soviet form of communism was teetering on destruction as well. Reagan was right. What this movie does well is showing the Russian government and the KGB minions are manipulating the situation with a successful video game with many interested suitors. Taron Egerton (formerly Elton John in Rocketman) plays Henk Rogers who is an American who sees the game at a trade show in Vegas and decides to purchase what he thinks are the Japanese rights to sell it for PCs and consoles. Henk learns however that the private deal between a London based rights purchaser and the sole Russian developer for $10,000 is in jeopardy. Very powerful people get involved, including now disgraced UK billionaire media mogul Robert Maxwell, and his son Kevin. Henk has mortgaged everything with his family in Japan and works diligently behind the scenes to craft the deal to support his own interests, despite not speaking any Russian. What becomes apparent is that the existing Russian government is scrambling to protect their own interests and believes the world is trying to steal their culture from under them. In hindsight it seems irrational, because there was a deal to be made to ensure that everyone could make a lot of money on this seemingly unimportant entertaining game. But they didn’t see it that way. So things unfold in ways expected and unexpected, but we all know as mentioned above that this became one of the top games of all time, and put Game Boys in the hands of millions of people. As a viewer we want to see that the young Russian developer and his wife and family were able to profit from his invention rather than those who decide to take what isn’t theirs. For me, this was entertaining because I lived through those years of playing the game and knowing the platforms on which it was played (Nintendo console, PC and the handheld). As a lawyer I am amazed at even in this instance where words matter and that if the grant isn’t made in the license (like handheld rights) then you don’t have them. Incidentally, Maxwell and his son are played out precisely as you would expect them to be played.