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Showtime Renews Billions for Season 3 – March 8, 2017

Showtime Renews Billions for Season 3

by Tim Surette – TV Guide – March 8, 2017

The struggle of the hedge-fund manager will continue on Showtime.

Source: Showtime

The network today announced that it has renewed its Wall Street drama Billions for a third season. Showtime didn’t announce an episode count or an estimated premiere date, but history says that the renewal will be for 12 episodes and Season 3 will premiere early next year.

Currently three episodes into its second season, Billions stars Damian Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, a filthy rich hedge fund manager who skirts financial laws to add to his ever-increasing coffers. Paul Giamatti plays Chuck Rhoades, a U.S. Attorney bent on taking Axe and the rest of the Wall Street weasels down, but who has some issues of his own.

Continue reading Showtime Renews Billions for Season 3 – March 8, 2017

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Billions: The Show So Smart it Makes The West Wing Look Slow – Feb 21, 2017

Billions: The Show So Smart it Makes The West Wing Look Slow

As the Damian Lewis v Paul Giamatti epic returns, we salute a fast world where risky behaviour rules – and which will only get more gripping by the week

by Mark Lawson – The Guardian – February 21, 2017

Source: Showtime

For the makers of a TV drama, there are two potential disasters at the end of a first season: not being renewed, and being renewed. Disappointing as cancellation is, it at least leaves the possibility that one day the show will come to be regarded as an unfairly truncated lost classic. But get a second run and screw it up, and the successful first year will be weakened by the failure of the next.

But, in approaching Difficult Second Series Syndrome, Billions has more going for it than most contenders. The Showtime series – which returned in the US on Sunday and resumes in the UK on Tuesday – started from a scenario that has long and energetic legs.

The mutual obsession with each other’s destruction between US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund maverick Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) left many places to go and grow from the former’s attempt to charge the financier with corruption in the first run. Manic pursuit has the potential to play out over a long time, which is why Tom & Jerry has survived for almost 80 years and Moby-Dick is 600 pages long.

Source: Showtime

Cultural allusions are a big part of the Billions shtick, so it seems no accident that Rhoades – bearded, damaged, bordering insanity in his desire to bring his quarry in – has many similarities with Captain Ahab, Herman Melville’s whale-hunter, as well as Ahab’s premier literary descendant, JM Barrie’s crocodile-obsessed Captain Hook. Giamatti would be natural casting for either sailor.

References to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon may be less intentional, although, like the mouse Jerry, Damian Lewis’s mega-rich banker is often, counter-intuitively, the more attractive of the central duo. As in the animation, the viewer is sometimes surprised to feel pleased when the latest hot iron dropped by the enforcer of order lands scaldingly on his own foot while the rodent slithers away.

But, whereas Tom & Jerry came from a TV era in which it was believed that the key to success involved repeating the same situation to infinity, Billions knows it must adapt to survive. Season two cleverly flips the plot, so Axelrod becomes more the hunter, with Rhoades now the one under investigation for inappropriate behaviour.

Continue reading Billions: The Show So Smart it Makes The West Wing Look Slow – Feb 21, 2017

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Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti Explain Why Billions Season 2 is More Relevant Than Ever – Feb 20, 2017

Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti Explain Why ‘Billions’ Season 2 is More Relevant Than Ever

by Nikolay Nikolov – Mashable – February 20, 2017

Source: Showtime

When Billions first aired on TV in January 2016, the main takeaway was that in the hunt for power and money, you sometimes have to break a few rules. It was a Machiavellian world set on the stage of a more familiar Wall Street.

Continue reading Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti Explain Why Billions Season 2 is More Relevant Than Ever – Feb 20, 2017

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Billions Won’t Be Political Commentary in Season 2 – Jan 9, 2017

Billions Won’t Be Political Commentary in Season 2

by Malcolm Venable  – TV Guide – January 9, 2017

Source: Showtime

You may have heard that there’s a new adminstration coming to Washington, D.C., pretty soon — a regime that, in many people’s eyes, is much more friendly to billionaires and business and their not-always warm and fuzzy ways. And although Billions, Showtime’s gritty drama about U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and his battle with hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), is about big ballers dodging government officials, don’t look for it to be a statement on the new world order when it returns for Season 2 in February.

“Although it’s not specifically about the incoming administration, the world was shifting when writing and we were aware of that,” executive producer Brian Koppelman said at the Television Critics Association winter previews Monday.

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The New Showtime Drama ‘Billions’ Shows Us Two Different Kinds of Power – Jan 13, 2016

The New Showtime Drama ‘Billions’ Shows Us Two Different Kinds of Power

Paths to Power – Wall Street vs. The Justice System

Business Insider – January 13, 2016

“Billions,” the new original drama from SHOWTIME®, stars Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis as two opposing forces in the very different worlds of the Justice System and Wall Street. See the infographic below to find out more about the power that each side brings to the table.

Photo: BI Studios – Sponsored by Showtime®

Read the original article at Business Insider


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‘Billions’ on Showtime Profits Off Our Fixation on Money – Jan 8, 2016

‘Billions’ on Showtime Profits Off Our Fixation on Money

by David Zurawik – The Baltimore Sun – January 8, 2016

Great TV always scratches some deeper itch in the culture. And, in the last three decades at least, that itch has often been connected to money.

“The Sopranos” explored the gangster soul of capitalism and the profound emptiness even in its winner’s circle. “The Wire” showed how the drug trade in Baltimore was not that different from the business done on Wall Street. “Breaking Bad” started from the premise of a middle-class teacher who turned to making illegal drugs to provide for his family after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Given that history and the six hours I have seen of Showtime’s new Sunday-night series “Billions,” which premieres Jan. 17, I’m feeling like we might be looking at greatness here.

The drama about a ferociously ambitious U.S. attorney and a high-flying, regulation-breaking hedge fund king features two great actors in Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. Giamatti plays the attorney, Chuck Rhoades, who sees the prosecution of Lewis’ character, Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, as his ticket to higher office.

As the chief federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, Rhoades has enormous power over the great financial institutions of American life. And while he speaks in the high-minded rhetoric of civic reform and “servant of the people,” he comes from a world of privilege and lives a life of compromises, contradictions and look-the-other-way lies.

His arrogance in the workplace is unbounded. If he’s the good guy here, he’s not a very likable one.

“When I bring an action, it’s not some county or even state,” he warns. “It’s the United States versus. Don’t give me a reason.”

Or how about this lovely quote: “My father always taught me ‘mercy’ was a word p—— used when they couldn’t take the pain.”

He revels in his power, except in the bedroom, where he’s the “M” partner in an S&M marriage.

The series opens on one of the most intense and graphic S&M scenes I’ve ever seen on mainstream TV — even premium cable. But in its exploration of sex as power, it is artistically righteous. I was rooting for “Billions” from the opening bell for going there so fearlessly.

Rhoades’ wife, Wendy (Maggie Siff), is just as complex a character. She works as an in-house performance coach at Axelrod’s Axe Capital firm. She goes way back with Axelrod and is one of the few people in his uber-competitive boiler room in whom he seems able to confide.

Siff is superb as an ambitious professional using her psychological training to carve out her own territory of control as she navigates between these two male combatants. You might remember her as Rachel Menken, the department store heiress and Don Draper love interest in “Mad Men,” another great drama that was all about money, power and desire.

“Knowing isn’t enough,” Wendy Rhoades says. “You’ve got to exercise control.”

And she does.

In the hands of lesser dramatists, the obvious conflicts of interests involving this marriage might derail the series.

I can imagine someone reading this and saying, “Wouldn’t she have to quit her job?” Or, perhaps, “Given her job, wouldn’t Rhoades have to recuse himself from the case his office is trying to build against Axelrod?”

Both questions are valid. There are wisely scripted and convincingly played scenes in which those questions are raised, debated, worried over, and raged against at work and home. This being a very, very contemporary marriage, Mr. and Ms. Rhoades throw the conflict in each other’s face when it suits them.

It’s great stuff. But Bobby Axelrod is the character you can’t take your eyes off of.

“Axe is no ordinary billionaire,” Rhoades says. “He’s an icon of the wealth of our age. And he’s a fraud. So when he falls, he’ll hit the ground hard.”

Given the anger that remains over how few of the men and women who drove the economy off the cliff in 2008 were ever prosecuted, it would have been easy for the producers to make Axelrod the target of all that enmity.

But that would make for a polemic, not drama.

Continue reading ‘Billions’ on Showtime Profits Off Our Fixation on Money – Jan 8, 2016

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Wall Street Gets Its First TV Show with ‘Billions’ – Dec 31, 2015

Wall Street Gets Its First TV Show with ‘Billions’

by Serena Elavia –  FOXBusiness – December 31, 2015 

In an age where political shows like ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Madame Secretary’ dominate television, it seems that a Wall Street plot has been ignored by the small screen. On January 1, 2016, Showtime Networks (CBS) aired an early showing of ‘Billions’ starring ‘Homeland’s’ Damian Lewis playing hedge fund manager Bobby “Axe” Axelrod and Oscar nominated superstar Paul Giamatti playing the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Chuck Rhoades.

Viewers can guarantee that the show will have plenty of insight into the financial world as the series is produced and written by Andrew Ross Sorkin, the leading financial reporter for The New York Times (NYT) and Brian Koppelman and David Levien, co-writers of ‘Ocean’s Thirteen.’

Continue reading Wall Street Gets Its First TV Show with ‘Billions’ – Dec 31, 2015