Categories Billions Print Media Review

Billions: The Ultimate World of…Dog Eat Dog – May 11, 2019

Billions is a Top Rate Show. Period!

by Rahul Gupta | Pen News | May 11, 2019

The TV Show “Billions” is possibly a landmark when it comes to depiction of the hard wired, hardcore, brutal world of clashes between the administrative machinery and the large scale Wall Street brokerage firms. In fact, “Billions” has nothing much to write home about the words synonymous with Billions such as Palatial Homes (there are some yes), Swanky Cars (Yes), Super Luxury Lifestyles (Yes) but in more than 90% of the narrative of the 4 seasons, it is far more than just money. Its an in depth look at the flora and fauna of wealth creation on a large scale. It looks at collateral damage repeatedly…. it may be people, it may be families, it may be companies but the show goes out of the way to make you realize that building Billions has a lot of accompaniments.

So, if you as a person are ready to eschew these virtues, you might want to tread a path of caution and be nimble footed every step of the way. What makes Billions a treat to watch is the kind of nasty dogfights its main protagonists enter every now and then. Be it Bobby’s outing with a child of one of his former employee who had been college funded by Axe Cap and who is refusing to work with him is led onto Bobby’s private boat and then left in an unmanned parking area with no supplies so that he given in to Bobby’s demand to work with him, Be his wife Lara who strong arms her kids school principals, fellow gym mates on a daily basis to impress upon her affluence and power are all reminders of the “Dog Eat Dog” syndrome depicted in all the seasons of “Billions” till date.

This essay aims to give an indepth look at the world of “Billions” and its lead characters, the various themes it explores and the broader message behind a show like this.

Continue reading Billions: The Ultimate World of…Dog Eat Dog – May 11, 2019

Categories Billions Print Media Review

Billions is Chilling, Inventive, and Shows No Signs of Losing Its Wit – March 27, 2019

“The drama about the power politics at the top of New York City finance is enhanced immeasurably by the charms of Damian Lewis”

by Sarah Hughes | iNews | March 27, 2019

From the grubby graspers of Succession to the chilly plotters of MotherFatherSon, the glittering worlds of the super-rich are very much in vogue on TV. Sky Atlantic’s Billions, now in its fourth season chronicling the power politics at the top of New York City’s financial district, was the first of the lot. Thankfully, the inventive, addictive, and, yes, ever so slightly schlocky drama shows no sign of losing its grip or, more importantly, its wit.

The plotting can sometimes give you whiplash: hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, was once the sworn enemy of high-flying US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). Now the men are working together because Chuck has lost his job and thus, temporarily, his power, and Axe has been betrayed by non-binary protégé Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) who made off with a huge chunk of the firm’s clients and set up on their own with the aid of a Russian oligarch/criminal (John Malkovich having as much fun as you might imagine, redeploying his Russian accent from Rounders).

Continue reading Billions is Chilling, Inventive, and Shows No Signs of Losing Its Wit – March 27, 2019

Categories Billions Print Media Review

Big Time: The Flashy Pleasures of Billions – March 25, 2019

“Over the course of four seasons, the Showtime series has shown a rare capacity to evolve, pivoting, niftily, like a company under S.E.C. investigation.”

by Emily Nussbaum | The New Yorker | March 25, 2019

Showtime’s “Billions,” a late-night snack of an antihero drama, set among finance weasels in New York and Connecticut, is the rare series that the term “guilty pleasure” suits nicely. The show has barbed dialogue and a blind-item documentary interest in the lives of the ultra-wealthy, but at heart it’s a pleasingly amoral caper series, a Wall Street fever dream, scored to ironic pop songs—more pulp than grit, with a streak of camp. Last week, in the San Francisco Chronicle, the critic Allie Pape called the show “prestige trash,” which pretty much nails the tone: it’s dirty fun, without the self-seriousness that drags down so many of its cable-drama peers.

Over the course of four seasons, “Billions,” which was created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, has also shown a rare capacity to evolve, pivoting, niftily, like a company under S.E.C. investigation. The first season set a simple formula, a Coyote-versus-Road Runner duel between two styles of male ambition: in one corner, the alpha hedge-funder Bobby (Axe) Axelrod (Damian Lewis), using his saintly post-9/11 reputation as a cover for insider trading; in the other, Chuck Rhoades, the politically ambitious prosecutor (played with high dudgeon by Paul Giamatti), a resentful beta who is eager to send Axe to jail. Rhoades is the Ivy-educated son of a blue blood, while Axe has clawed his way up from nothing, a.k.a. Yonkers. There is plenty of kinky sex, too, with Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades, a therapist, who—ridiculously but entertainingly—is both Chuck’s wife/dominatrix and Axe’s employee, guru, and maybe soul mate. It all felt very Showtime: gimmicky and lurid, but also witty and well paced, and good at making Wall Street transactions comprehensible to English majors.

The show’s signature attraction is Axe, a fit, hyper-strategic market genius who has glimmers of conscience but at one point barks, “I’m not human. I am a machine. I’m a fucking Terminator.” His need for control is what we identify with and get off on. It’s much harder to fantasize about being Chuck, a sharply drawn and performed but more earthbound character, even when he begins to break bad: he’s too grumpy, too tormented, to be our avatar. Axe, in contrast, is a vision of pure meritocratic transcendence, of being so good at your job that the world just lets you do it, no matter whom you hurt. That’s what distinguishes “Billions” from HBO’s “Succession,” another darkly funny series about Manhattan élites, but one with a more subversive theme: its characters are fools, entitled dummies deluded about their own potential. If “Succession” is a show about Jared Kushner, “Billions” is the show that Kushner would write about himself.

Continue reading Big Time: The Flashy Pleasures of Billions – March 25, 2019

Categories Audio Billions Review

All The Chess Pieces Are On The Move In Season 4 Of Billions – March 22, 2019

“Billions is television at it’s best. Attention must be paid!

by David Bianculli | NPR’s Fresh Air | March 22, 2019

Showtime’s drama about wealthy New York power players features writing, acting and directing that have gotten better with each season. Critic David Bianculli calls the show “astoundingly relevant.”


Categories Billions Print Media Review

Billions Is Spending Its ‘F— You Money’ in Season 4 – March 19, 2019

After earning a fortune of goodwill over three seasons, the latest from Brian Koppelman and David Levien is cashing in on some fast fun.

by Ben Travers | IndieWire | March 18, 2019

The greatest “Billions” line in a long history of great lines is the one that started it all: “What’s the point of having ‘fuck you money,’ if you never say ‘fuck you’?” In Showtime’s series premiere, hedge fund billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) was mocking the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), in the first of many verbal smackdowns between sworn enemies. The two men’s vitriol for one another ran both professional and personal — Chuck’s wife, Wendy (Maggie Siff), is also Bobby’s in-house therapist — and fueled the series through multiple hoodwinks, betrayals, pranks, gambits, and a very dicey bit of business involving poisoned juice.

That was then, this is now: Having been kicked out of office, Chuck is at his wit’s end. Bobby, who lost his wife (Lara, played by Malin Akerman) and nearly went to prison, isn’t far behind. So at the end of Season 3, with a little coaxing from Wendy, the two team up. And with that, “Billions” started spending the fuck you money its been hoarding for three increasingly impressive seasons — and, boy, is it going places in Season 4.

Continue reading Billions Is Spending Its ‘F— You Money’ in Season 4 – March 19, 2019