Industry, season 1

Shame on me, I suppose, for searching for characters with redeemable qualities in a show set in the world of finance.

“Industry” is sort of like “Succession: The Next Generation.” But unlike “Succession,” the performances on “Industry” don’t crackle enough and the settings aren’t absurd enough to hide the nihilism at the heart of this show. Everyone on “Industry” is an asshole. Everyone drinks too much and screws too much. And the main lesson appears to be “kill them before they kill you.”

I understand the need for characters to show the depth of their flaws. Yet, there’s no one to root for if all we ever see are the flaws. There are no moments of lasting levity or decency on “Industry,” which makes the show a slog to binge (it gets bleak). The show doesn’t accept that inconsistent and avaricious 22-year-olds have the capacity for occasional kindness and humor. To borrow a bit of wisdom from “Guardians of the Galaxy:” It’s hard to believe anyone is “100% a dick."

I don’t know what this show is trying to say: There are attempts within season one to show repercussions when men behave badly, but those repercussion [minor spoiler] are temporary. There are also attempts to show how a corporation can respond to a tragedy with empathy, but that empathy is quickly revealed as a PR tool. And any character that appeals to a greater good or a higher ideal is soon unmasked as a brazen opportunist. The show’s creators either believe social justice and inclusion are fads (I hope that’s not what they think), or their execution isn’t deft enough to land the real message.