The Showtime series is one of the best dramas on television. So where the fuck is its Emmy?
by Eve Peyser | Vice | July 12, 2018
On Thursday morning, the nominees for the 2018 Emmy Awards were announced, and sadly for anyone who cares about honoring the art of television, Billions was once again snubbed. The Showtime drama, which just wrapped up its third season, stars the legendary Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who is hellbent on bringing down Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), a billionaire hedge fund manager who unapologetically plays dirty. The twist? Rhoades’s wife, Wendy, works for Axelrod as a performance coach, a therapist who works at his firm whose job is to help the employees earn as much as they can through psychoanalysis.
Billions is the story of two ruthless geniuses and their intricate scheming as they bend the law in order to settle personal feuds. Full of poetic and scholarly dialogue, the show ascends above the average TV drama because the writing is as smart as the characters. Giamatti’s performance is ferocious, and his character often speaks in grandiose allegories. His dialogue is iconic, overwrought in the way only the best, highest-shelf prestige TV dialogue is overwrought: “A good matador doesn’t try to kill a fresh bull. You wait until he’s been stuck a few times,” Rhoades explains in the pilot. “Calculation is not something to be scoffed at. It’s a tool. A tactic. And I use it proudly and often,” he says in season three.
Continue reading When Will Billions Get the Emmy It Deserves? – July 12, 2018
From Billions to an ‘Atlanta’ MVP – The Most WTF Snubs in this Year’s Emmys Nominations
by Brian Tallerico | Rolling Stone | July 12, 2018
The annual Emmy square dance is here – per usual, it’s a routine of three steps forward, two steps back.
This year even allowed more room than usual for the unexpected as several major players from last year – Veep, Master of None, Better Call Saul, House of Cards – took this awards season off.
And to be sure, the Television Academy has undeniably improved in their taste as a voting body over the years. Still, they still had us scratching our heads a few times. Where the hell is Will and Grace? And Bojack Horseman? And Brendan Fraser in Trust? And … and…
So with all 122 (!!) categories announced, let’s pick out the most notable snubs of the year. From Billions to Alison Brie, these were the M.I.A. nominees that shoulda been contenders.
Showtime had a rough morning. Sure, Shameless star William H. Macy got in again, but regular nominees like Homeland‘s Claire Danes and Ray Donovan‘s Liev Schreiber will have to save their sound bites. (See also: our Twin Peaks entry) But the real crime was completely ignoring the chance to finally invite Billions to the party. With shows like Better Call Saulmissing from the ballot, why not turn to a show that’s only gotten better each year, turning in its best season to date earlier in 2018? Even just a single nod or two for great performers like Damian Lewis and Asia Kate Dillon could have opened a few doors for more nominations in the future. Get this one right, next year, Emmys. It’s starting to get embarrassing.
Continue reading Emmys 2018: 10 Biggest Snubs – July 12, 2018
Billions: A Show With Great Scripts and a Fine Cast
by Megan McArdle | Washington Post | June 15, 2018
The temptation of writing about culture is always to find something to pan. Critical reviews flow easily from the fingertips, while applause involves the hard labor of finding 16 synonyms for “good.” But I ate my Wheaties this morning, and I’m looking for a challenge. So let’s talk about good shows — great shows, even. Shows that more people should be watching. People like you.
Another show with great scripts and a fine cast. (You may be sensing a theme here). This is high-finance as revenge-drama. The first three seasons portray a long-running cat-and-mouse game between hedge-fund titan Bobby Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, and U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti. But the showrunners haven’t given into the temptation to make Axelrod the bad guy and Rhoades the hero. Instead, we have twin protagonists — both badly flawed, but also deeply appealing.
The cast is terrific, the writing reminiscent of a less-manic Aaron Sorkin, and thanks to a different Sorkin (Andrew Ross, longtime finance reporter for the New York Times, and no relation to the creator of “The West Wing”), “Billions” is even a reasonably realistic portrayal of both finance and securities law. I suspect it isn’t getting the audience it deserves because people think finance is dull, but trust me, in the hands of this team, it never is.
Read the rest of the original article at Washington Post
Where Does Your Loyalty Lie?
by Lady Trader | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis
Is this it? Can this really be the last “From the Trader’s Desk” for this season? Sadly, the answer is yes. I have enjoyed writing about Billions from the “Wall Street” side of the things, and hope you’ve enjoyed my posts as well. I also hope I helped with the “fin-speak” and in understanding the world of finance. On a personal note: I didn’t know if I would be able to contribute to FanFun when Billions started in March, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last summer. But, not only did I contribute almost every week, I feel I have done some of my best writing. Thank you Damianista, and everyone who reads our blog for helping me get back to normal!
Instead of a basic recap, I’ll look at the two relationships that were the backbone (from the financial side anyway) of this episode: Axe-Taylor and Taylor-Wendy. I know there was a flurry of “fin-speak” at the Spartan-Ives Capital Introduction Event at CitiField (my second home on many Saturdays!), but I won’t go into details about it. I don’t think they were relevant to the overall episode (as opposed to other times when it was the meat of the story). I have updated the Billions:Glossary with all the definitions, and as always, if there is something you’d like me to explain or give examples of, please let me know.
Continue reading From The Trader’s Desk: Recapping S3E12 ‘Elmsley Count’ – June 15, 2018
The Showtime Drama is Built for Speed – and All the Better For It
by Alan Speinwall | RollingStone | June 14, 2018
The midpoint of Billions Season 3 featured a huge moment for the series to date: the Showtime drama’s arch-rivals, U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund mogul Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis), facing each other across a dining room table and, with the help of Chuck’s wife/Axe’s therapist Wendy (Maggie Siff), acknowledging that they needed to join forces against a common enemy.
In today’s ultra-serialized drama landscape, it’s the kind of scene that almost any other show would have saved for the very end of its season finale, or the penultimate episode at the latest. Billions actually repeated this dynamic in its own finale, which we’ll get back to, but that it happened as early as Episode 6 was striking. Too many other shows that consider each season “a 13-hour movie” would have built the whole thing around that meeting, throwing complication after complication at Chuck, Wendy and Axe so that it would happen as close to the end of the year as possible, and that sense of wheel-spinning would have been palpable.
Continue reading What the Rest of TV Can Learn from Billions – July 14, 2018