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Billions Season 3: TV Review – March 24, 2018

“TV’s Most Successful Penis-Free Depiction of Non-Stop Penis-Measuring”

by Daniel Feinberg | Hollywood Reporter | March 24, 2018

Source: Showtime – Photo by Jeff Neumann

Showtime’s wonderfully acted, frequently repetitive game of Manhattan cat-and-mouse doesn’t take another qualitative leap in its third season, but the drama remains high.

Skippable pre-credit filler on many shows, the “Previously on…” recap montage is mandatory viewing for Showtime’s Billions. While your typical series might use that clip package just to remind you of the previous episode’s cliffhanger, Billions typically jumps around for refreshers on a dozen minor characters, some unseen for 10 episodes or more. Yes, if you have a Marilu Henner memory, it’s a guaranteed spoiler for which long-buried plot points are returning, but if you’re a more normal viewer it’s practically the only way to resituate yourself in a narrative that remains deliciously twisted but weirdly forgettable.

That gets to the root of my general problem with Billions, returning for its third season on Sunday (March 25) night. Despite an ensemble cast that ranks among the best on TV playing characters who are usually colorful and quirky and fun, the ponderous repetitiveness of what the series does with them is all-too-frequently mechanical.

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What Billions Does Better Than Anybody Else – March 23, 2018

What Sets Billions Apart from a Lesser Show: The Performances & Characters

by Wenlei Ma | NT News | March 23, 2018

IF YOU’VE seen Wall Street or The Wolf of Wall Street, then you know the world of New York high finance is full of bros forever engaged in some kind of pissing contest.

And Billions certainly has its share of that though, happily, that’s not all it is.

The bigger the bank balance, the bigger the ego and hubris — like one character who says he’s under more pressure than Kennedy was during the Cuban missile crisis, and means it.

The toxic war between Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), a crazy smart, successful and scrappy banker, and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), a politically ambitious prosecutor not above his own Machiavellian schemes, provides the impetus for the show, back for its third season this weekend on Stan.

Billions’ arc usually goes something like this: Chuck goes after Axe but is thwarted by the rich man’s strategic foresight and conniving plan. Axe hits back at Chuck and overreaches, exposing himself to unnecessary risk. Billions has spent most of its first two seasons letting Chuck chase Axe, no fruit in sight, until the finale, when he finally manages to catch him.

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Billions is Still TV’s Most Addictive Show – March 23, 2018

…And its Sharpest Critique of Donald Trump

by Steven Hyden | Uproxx | March 23, 2018

Source: Twitter @KellyAuCoin77

What defines a great TV show? Acting, writing, cinematography — everybody knows you’re supposed to say those things, and each is undoubtedly important. But, on a practical level, what truly matters to the average viewer?

I propose a simple metric: How long does it take you to watch a new episode once it shows up on your DVR or favored streaming platform? If you let episodes of a show accumulate to the point where you actively feel guilty for not keeping up — even though the show is brilliantly acted, impeccably written, and exquisitely filmed — it does not satisfy this specific metric for greatness. It is “great” TV, but it might not necessarily be great viewing.

For me, the current champ at swiftly clearing out my “To Watch” queue is Billions. It’s not even close, really. I consume this show each week with the eagerness of Dollar Bill scooping up shady insider information. (That’s a Billions reference. Referencing pop culture while talking about Billions is a very Billions thing to do.)

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Billions Season 3 Finally Shows Real-World Consequences for What Its Bad People Do – March 23, 2018

“Billions Has Never Been Subtle”

by Liam Mathews | TV Guide  | March 23, 2018

Warning: There are light spoilers for Billions Season 3 ahead.

In its first two seasons, Billions — Showtime’s elevated soap opera about a crooked hedge fund billionaire and the U.S. Attorney determined to bring him down — was almost exclusively focused on the interpersonal manipulations of its characters. It avoided examining the larger world in which its titans played and how their petty feuds and reckless actions trickled down to the little people who bear the consequences of financial and political malfeasance.

There were brief flashes of it. Bobby Axelrod’s (Damian Lewis) brutal treatment of an already economically depressed town after his plan to build a casino there fell through is the most notable example, but mostly the show existed in a vacuum. It presented Bobby Axelrod as a bad guy because he’s a vindictive cheater and not for the real, broader reason, which is that the ruthless capitalism he engages in profits off the suffering of people he has the luxury of not thinking about.

That changes in Season 3, which premieres on Sunday, March 25. It’s not the Bernie Sanders Show all of a sudden, but it develops a political conscience it previously lacked. Which is good, because even though he’s a cool, smart guy who loves his kids, you’re not supposed to root for Bobby Axelrod.

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Your Spoiler-Filled Preview of the New Season of Billions – March 23, 2018

Axelroad and Rhoades Take a Break, Sort Of

by James Tarmy | Bloomberg | March 23, 2018

Source: Showtime

For filmmakers who want to dramatize the finance industry, one of Wall Street’s main appeals is that most people don’t understand how it works. In The Big Short, actress Margot Robbie explains subprime mortgages while sipping champagne in a bubble bath. Other movies—Margin Call and Wall Street come to mind—use fast-talking men in power suits screaming into cell phones to accomplish their exposition.

 Typically, very little of the actual mechanics of working in finance ever come into play.  (To be fair, it would be hard to dramatize an earnings call, and to be clear, nobody should try.)
 When Showtime’s Billions first aired two years ago, one of its initial draws was that it talked the talk. The story was woven around a surprisingly sophisticated debate about the parameters of insider trading, and the show gave a fairly accurate depiction of a hedge fund’s workplace culture, with analysts and traders and managers and compliance officers. There were even Bloomberg Terminals.

Continue reading Your Spoiler-Filled Preview of the New Season of Billions – March 23, 2018