Written By GingersnapComments Off on Billions Series Finale: Creators Explain Ending, Pop Culture Analogies and Why Axe Didn’t Hook Up With Wendy
by Lynette Rice | Deadline | October 27, 2023
It’s the end of the road for Bobby Axelrod and his team: the drama created by Brian Koppelman and David Levien ended its seven-season run Oct. 27 with a tidy finale that keeps Axe (Damian Lewis) in the game of making money.
Here, Koppelman and Levien reflect on the finale, how the writers strike impacted production on the finale, and why they couldn’t say goodbye without including a few more pop culture analogies (like Phil Spector with River Deep!) in the episode.
Sadly, questions about Billions spinoffs were verboten.
In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and t-shirt of a metal band that are Axe’s favorites. (Even an Axe-less Season 6 featured Mötley Crüe’s “Wild Side“.)
The writers of Billions make purposeful choices with music placement, so we know that these decisions are made to tell a story, shine a light on who the character is, or to set a tone. (Gingersnap and I are still holding out Season 7 will finally be the year of Iron Maiden but it’s getting close to the wire!!)
So, let’s take a look back at a man and his music, and maybe make some predictions!
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Billions & Bangers: Showtime’s High Finance Drama is a Stealth Love Letter to Music – May 3, 2020
Becoming Fluent in the Musical Language of Billions
by Al Shipley | Complex | May 3, 2020
At a time when TV prestige dramas often have 90-second opening credits with an epic theme song and lavish visuals, Billions on Showtime has an unusually short and simple title sequence: an ominous aerial view of Manhattan, soundtracked by a queasy low electronic pulse, in and out in about 15 seconds. The show’s score and theme music is by Eskmo, an electronic producer associated with labels like Ninja Tune and Warp Records, who puts moody, unobtrusive beds of sound under the dialogue-heavy show about powerful hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod, his company Axe Capital, and the public officials trying to catch them breaking the law. But Billions, which returns with the Season 5 premiere on May 3, has gotten increasingly flashy with its nods to music since the Season 2 scene that featured a lengthy discussion of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett’s creative chemistry in Wilco.
Increasingly, Billions has been rife with moments where music didn’t just provide an emotional backdrop but memorable dialogue. “Dollar” Bill Stern (Kelly AuCoin) belted out the opening verse of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” when Axe Capital hatched a plan involving “the chicken man” who sets prices in the poultry industry. Politician Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti) air drummed to Al Green and offered a critical breakdown of 1977’s The Belle Album. And when Attorney General Waylon Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) tried to intimidate Rhodes’s corrupt father into a confession, he said that he has a witness “singin’ like Hank Williams the elder, tellin’ us all about your cheatin’ heart.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Showtime’s Billions Shows Heavy Rock Quotient in First Three Seasons – Feb 22, 2019
Why the Use of Rock Music in Billions Feels Right
by Dodie Miller-Gould | Lemonwire | February 22, 2019
A series about stockbrokers and hedge fund managers is perhaps the last place certain audiences would expect to find scenes that have been enlivened by rock music, particularly that from the 1980s and 1990s. But that is exactly what happens in Billions.
Though set in contemporary times, the music has a classic rock and grunge bent. Largely it is the music that galvanizes billionaire hedge fund manager, Robert “Bobby” Axelrod. As the easily angered, but often in legal trouble Axelrod, Damian Lewis dons the shirts of his favorite bands, and shortly thereafter, the songs play. It doesn’t always that way, but it does for Metallica and Megadeth.
Some of the best songs from the show include “Debaser” by The Pixies, “Next Big Thing” by the Dictators, and “Master of Puppets” by Metallica.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on The Best TV Shows of 2018 – Dec 13, 2018
Billions Makes the List!
by Ben Yakas | The Gothamist | December 13, 2018
In 2016, over 400 television shows were aired or released. In 2018, that number has jumped to at least 555, which we know thanks to this handy spreadsheet made by Liz Shannon Miller. The Netflix-ification of television is truly upon us: the networks have a desperate desire to compete with the streaming giant, and they’re doing so either by throwing every idea against the wall and hoping it finds an audience, or by launching their own streaming services… with limitless capacities for more content.
And television isn’t just exponentially growing with new programming—any show with any sort of core fanbase could be brought back to life as a reboot (Murphy Brown, Charmed, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), spin-off (The Connors, Young Sheldon), or whatever hybrid monstronsity Kevin Can Wait turned into became before it was mercifully cancelled. There are over 20 more such zombie shows coming in the next year, with unlikely reboots of Conan the Barbarian, Gone Baby Gone and…The Bone Collector? Like the Greyjoys are found of saying: “What Is Dead May Never Die” (also, “Shut Up, Theon”).
Written By GingersnapComments Off on How Billions Creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien Use Music as an Emotional Accelerator on the Show – May 24, 2018
NPR’s All Songs Considered, Music Pods, Sound Opinions, Spotify Discover Weekly and Twitter Solicitation Beacons: Discovering Music for Billions
by Caitlin White | Uproxx | May 24, 2018
Last fall over the holidays I was desperately trying to avoid reality. Looking for an escape, I turned to a popular TV show called Billions because I’d noticed one of my favorite Uproxx TV writers, Brian Grubb, writing a love letter to it earlier in the year. It looked just far enough away from my own life to distract from the stupid minutia of what was bothering me, the characters were strong, powerful, and self-assured — but they were also caught up in tough situations, unfair portrayals, and pesky mistakes.
The plot was thick and moved with deftness, there was not one but two strong, badass female characters, there was a subplot involving a nonbinary character working in the midst of the boys club, and the whole thing swung on an unholy rivalry that was a thrill to watch. This all made for great, addictive TV, but as a music editor, what stopped me in my tracks was the soundtrack. Unexpectedly, I found old folk and indie rock favorites like Andrew Bird cropping up alongside a guest appearance from the rock gods themselves, Metallica!
Written By GingersnapComments Off on The Fashion and Style of Bobby Axelrod in Billions Seasons 1 Thru 5, Plus Season 7
Bobby Axelrod: The CASHmere King
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | May 4, 2018 (updated October 23, 2023)
You would think Damian Lewis and Bobby Axelrod couldn’t dress more differently but diving a little deeper, I found some commonalities. However, if we were to simplify, Damian typically dresses up with spurts of leisure whereas Axe dresses down with spurts of formality. Svelte Damian can wear a suit like a coat hanger and Axe can wear a hoodie like a dope Bankster. As Billions costume designer Eric Daman has said, “Damian looks like he just walked off a men‘s catwalk in Italy” so when “Axe does wear a suit, it’s like a punch to the face.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Billions Season 2: Where It Left Off and Where It’s Headed – Feb 17, 2017
Billions Season 2: Where It Left Off and Where It’s Headed
by Tim Surette – TV Guide – February 17, 2017
Showtime’s Billions came onto the scene last year as a reaction to the topsy-turvy world of power finance that spun out of control into one of the worst monetary disasters the United States ever saw. Wrists were slapped and we recovered, sort of, but the high-wire act of hedge funds continues to threaten to topple over on the middle and lower classes at any moment while the money bags pile up precariously.
But Billions‘ Wall Street backdrop is really just a setting for what the show is actually about: a pair of grade-A A-holes going after each other until one cries “uncle” or is dead — preferably both, in their eyes. And Wall Street is also just an avenue for some incredible acting. Damian Lewis plays Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, an arrogant CEO of a hedge-fund management company who dabbles in less-than-legal ways to get an edge and make an extra billion. Paul Giamatti plays Chuck Rhoades, a curmudgeonly U.S. Attorney who gets off on crushing finance playboys (and S&M play, as we learned early on in the series).