Sunday, October 30, 2016

I'm hooked....on BILLIONS

Like you, I'm disgusted with the current presidential election.  Finding a good diversion from politics is hard.  Take television.  Very little TV is worth watching and that's why I was delighted to discover a SHOWTIME series called Billions
SHOWTIME image / Wikipedia

Ironically, I watched my first episodes while in-flight to a hedge fund conference attended by (far) smaller asset managers than the fictional character in this series -- based upon a billionaire hedge fund manager and a shrewd U.S. District Attorney.  Within a week, I devoured the entire twelve episodes from season one.  Happily, the show is coming back for a second season.

The two principal characters: U.S. Attorney, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and billionaire investor, Bobby Axelrod aka "Axe" (Damien Lewis), are spellbinding. An outstanding supporting cast includes...


Billions writers per Wikipedia
Jeffrey DeMunn (as Charles Rhoades Sr), David Costabile (as Mike Wagner), Maggie Siff (as Wendy Rhoades), Malin Akerman (as Lara Axelrod) and Glenn Fleshler (as Orrin Bach).

Due to the care and talent of the writers (see list at right >>) and a brilliant cast that brings their work to life, these characters -- like people in real life -- are multi-dimensional. No reasonable person could completely love or loathe any of them.  

While a certain amount of salaciousness is expected in a high stakes drama, some scenes in Billions are implausible or gratuitous.  Examples include Chuck Rhodes' reckless sadomasochistic sex scenes (some might argue that Eliot Spitzer's record with prostitutes is sufficient historical precedent) and Wendy Rhoades' willingness to slip into a bath -- naked with Axe -- to have a completely platonic business conversation.  Yes, that happens all the time.

These are minor quibbles.  I haven't been so excited about a television production in years. Watch the trailer by clicking here  >>>  or , if you are pressed for time, check out this short YouTube video....