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Billions is Back and Still More Fun Than Your Favorite Peak TV Drama – March 27, 2018

“Exceptionally well-plotted, well-acted, and gloriously, hilariously unbridled”

by Winston Cook-Wilson | Spin | March 26, 2018

Source: Showtime

The opening aerial shot of Manhattan, the throbbing electronic soundtrack that eerily fades in–suddenly, my troubles disappear like a dirty million wired to an offshore bank account. It is time for a new episode of Billions, the most enjoyable show on television if you enjoy things like it. The Showtime series–a bro-finance melodrama in the rich tradition of Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Boiler Room–isn’t exemplary because of its innovativeness or depth of artistic vision, but it perfects the basic elements. It’s exceptionally well-plotted, well-acted, and gloriously, hilariously unbridled. It takes the thematic trappings of prestige TV as loving source material without deifying them too much. The result is a kind of platonic ideal of the average premium-cable hour-long drama in an age where there are far, far too many of them.

The key to Billions’ appeal is that it is both complicated in its particulars and, on an overarching level, deadly simple. The show feels dense in the moment, given the fact that the majority of the dialogue steeped in trader jargon, legalese, and outlandish extended metaphors. It provides the same uphill battle to figure out what the fuck anyone is talking about that makes the first few episodes of The Wire or Deadwood a hard sell for some. But the conflict is compellingly meat-and-potatoes at its core: The plot revolves around a long face-off between two impetuous and powerful men.

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New ‘Billions’ Season: The Show About Power And Money You Should Be Watching – March 27, 2018

“Billions is TV’s most compelling fable about wealth and power in modern life”

by Eric Deggans | NPR | March 27, 2018

Be warned: The review below contains plenty of spoilers about past and present episodes of Billions.

The biggest problem Showtime’s Billions has: It’s a show that is way too easy to underestimate.

At a time when income inequality and the struggles of the middle class are front-page news, it’s tough to lionize a show about a millionaire U.S. attorney in an all-consuming personal and professional grudge match with a billionaire hedge fund owner.

One guy, billionaire “hedgie” Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), is a ruthless, self-made business titan who jumps on a private plane with his buddies to hang out with the band before a Metallica concert. The other guy, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti), is a scion of old New York money who bunks at the Yale Club when his marriage is on the rocks.

This seems like the definition of 1 percenters’ problems dressed up as a TV series.

And yet, Billions succeeds, not only because it’s a great drama about compelling characters, but also because it’s the TV show about power in America that we all should be watching right now. Continue reading New ‘Billions’ Season: The Show About Power And Money You Should Be Watching – March 27, 2018

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Billions Recap Reality Index: Season 3, Episode 1 ‘Tie Goes To The Runner’ – March 27, 2018

Reality Index

by Staff | Comfortably Smug | March 26, 2018

Source: Showtime – Photo Illustration: Jaclyn Kessel

The recap is back! Welcome back to the Billions Recap Reality Index, where we tally a list of events from each episode and rank on a scale of too real to fail or as fake as a toxic asset’s triple A rating, scored on our wholly subjective point system.

This week we provide you with due diligence on the first episode of Season 3, “Tie Goes To The Runner.”

When we last saw Axe and Chuck, they were both crawling from the rubble of Chuck’s pyrrhic victory of vaporizing his father’s portfolio and his own trust to lure Bobby into shorting the Ice Juice IPO. With his fund under federal investigation, his marriage in shambles, and future completely uncertain, we begin season three with Axe at his lowest point, and Chuck working to make sure this time there’s no escape for Axelrod.

THE BILLIONS RECAP REALITY INDEX:

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Billions Season 3 Premiere Recap: The Teaser & The Stud – March 26, 2018

Just How ‘Woke’ Billions Wants Us to Believe Axe Capital Is

by Molly Stout | Refinery 29 | March 26, 2018

After two full seasons of Billions, we are still no closer to choosing sides. In this extravagant chess match between Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis), we’re somehow still rooting for both of them to knock over the other’s king-sized ego. Or, as Axe suggested in the thrilling season 2 finale, for both of them to end up in check. Since the show’s beginning, we’ve found qualities to admire in each man: Bobby’s scrappy Yonkers childhood and ability to turn a stadium’s lights off with the God-like snap of his fingers, and Chuck’s gastrophile trivia and love of Winston Churchill first-editions. And neither man is evil enough for us to pledge allegiance to the other.

Even the characters we used to unabashedly cheer for are giving us pause. Lara Axelrod (Malin Akerman) has always made it clear, to Axe and to viewers, that she isn’t a trophy wife. She enjoys the money and the power Axe’s career has given her and the boys, but she’s still just a working-class girl at heart who loved Bobby long before he made his first million. But last season, Lara told Bobby that she wouldn’t run from the government with him. She even tried to buy off Orrin Bach (Glenn Fleshler) to counsel her on what she would get in a divorce. Then there’s Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon). It’s hard not to like the efficient, confident Taylor, but they ultimately chose the dark side of private planes, $26,000-a-month penthouses, and climbing the dirty corporate ladder, eventually telling Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) that they don’t believe in souls. Even Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), our favorite overpriced therapist, gave two distinctly different hugs to the men in her life last season. The one with Axe felt real, yet she returned home to Chuck.

Continue reading Billions Season 3 Premiere Recap: The Teaser & The Stud – March 26, 2018

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Billions Premiere Recap: ‘Tie Goes to the Runner’ – March 26, 2018

“Billions is still very much intact, but what’s exciting is how things are changing.”

by Kyle Fowle | Entertainment Weekly | March 26, 2018

Source: Showtime

Every time a TV show returns for a new season there’s the question of whether it can sustain the momentum of its previous years. Billions crafted something special in its second season, really clarifying its vision in a way that felt exciting. Naturally, that leads to questions for season 3. Was the second season just a fluke? Can the show continue to craft something that’s unlike anything else on TV? Will the dialogue, characters, and ludicrous power plays start to lose their luster? The season 3 premiere, “Tie Goes to the Runner,” is a welcome affirmation that Billions isn’t slowing down any time soon.

The opening scene is, on its own, enough to quell any doubts about a slump for this show. Chuck, riding high on his takedown of Axe Capital and his run for governor, walks into a meeting with the Attorney General in Washington, DC. Billions doesn’t bother easing into the season, instead immediately giving us a scene of pumped-up macho dialogue. The AG, who’s interested in having Chuck lay off of his prosecution of various Wall Street types, presumably because he’s getting paid somewhere along the line, goes on a lengthy tangent about being from “horse country” and “baseball country” in West Texas. The man is a walking cliché, all Texas bluster and salt-of-the-earth metaphors that barely make any sense. He’s the type of guy who considers himself a cowboy or an outlaw despite his comfy seat at the head of the capitalist table.

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Billions Season 3 Premiere: The Next Big Thing – March 26, 2018

“Amusement-Park Ride of a Financial Drama”

by Sean T. Collins | The New York Times | March 26, 2018

Season 3, Episode 1: ‘Tie Goes to the Runner’

Source: Spoiler TV

“There’s a new sheriff in town,” drawls Attorney General Waylon Jeffcoat to an assemblage of United States attorneys now under his employ, “and you are my deputies. Gonna be one hell of a turkey shoot!”

Well, yes and no. After watching the Season 3 premiere of “Billions,” Showtime’s amusement-park ride of a financial drama, it is clear that the show’s creators and characters are indeed coming out guns blazing. But the new sheriff, known as Jock, hasn’t changed the series’s old winning ways. A boots-on-the-desk Texan played by the dulcet-toned character actor Clancy Brown, Jock Jeffcoat announces he’s pulling the Justice Department away from Wall Street’s white-collar crimes. Elsewhere, the revelation that the unctuous hedge-fund creep Todd Krakow (Danny Strong), previously the show’s comic-relief antagonist, has been named Treasury Secretary is perhaps the best gag of the episode, in that funny-because-it’s-true sort of way.

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Billions Season 3 Premiere Review: Looming Consequences Keep The Series Grounded – March 26, 2018

“Tie Goes to the Runner’ steps up and delivers an assured opening that upsets the balance of things in compelling way”

by Kevin Yeoman | Screen Rant | March 26, 2018

Source: Showwtime

The central conflict of Showtime’s Billions lies in the battle between Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades, but the series is admittedly limited in how far it can take that struggle without undoing the tension that essentially fuels the show’s drama. Thankfully, and much to the enjoyment of those who love the show for reasons that go well beyond the financial cat-and-mouse game played by its two leads, the series has proven adept at creating situations outside the Axe-Chuck conflict to keep things entertaining. Over the past two seasons, the show has demonstrated a willingness to become outrageous and, when coupled with some surprisingly hilarious dialogue — often delivered by David Costabile’s irascible Mike ‘Wags’ Wagner, but not exclusively so, as demonstrated by the brilliant “where we’re going, we need Rhoades” line Chuck offered up last season — those ingredients have effectively come to define Billions.

Continue reading Billions Season 3 Premiere Review: Looming Consequences Keep The Series Grounded – March 26, 2018