Review: ‘Billions’ Delivers a Dose of Charisma to Hedge Fund Titans
by Heather Havrilesky – The New York Times – January 15, 2016
Men who make lots of money and growl at one another about profits and margins and winning and losing. Remember them?
Americans used to love watching stories about those guys, in the years before the excesses of Wall Street spawned a great recession and before Bernie Madoff brought abject fear back to personal investing. Once their shortsighted shell games toppled the world economy, though, it was a little harder to get into that high-capitalist gambling spirit.
But if anyone can save hedge fund billionaires from the cultural penalty box, it’s Showtime, the premium cable channel for skin-deep splashiness (see also: “The Affair,” “Californication”). That’s not to mention Damian Lewis. Just as he saved the C.I.A. melodrama “Homeland” from its own histrionic urges, Mr. Lewis pulls “Billions,” which begins on Sunday, back from the brink of macho outlandishness with his natural gravitas. As the hedge fund titan Bobby Axelrod, Mr. Lewis might spend most of his on-screen time spitting out cocksure zingers, but he’s that rare TV actor with the self-possession to make even overdramatic lines sound organic.
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