Wednesday, May 11, 2016

TV Show Review: Billions (Season 1)

Took me a while to get around to the end of this show but with convenient Showtime streaming, I managed to finish it recently. I thought the battle between District Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and big time billionaire investment banker Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) was a compelling piece of drama. I've been a fan of Lewis since Homeland, and Giamatti is ubiquitous to television and film so both great actors lead the show. 

Close behind them with equal skill were Maggie Siff and Malin Akerman. Siff plays Wendy Rhoades, wife to the District Attorney and talent manager for Axelrod. This dual role place her right int he middle of these two warring men. I've been a fan of her acting since her days as Tara in Sons of Anarchy and she shines in this role. Akerman hit my radar back when she was in Watchmen so it is good to see her getting a more prominent role outside of romantic comedies.

The battle is played behind the scenes and doesn't overload the viewer with images of wealth though there are times of ostentatious but like the billionaires, it isn't flashy or just there to show off. The political dealing are interesting and this plays out as both a legal drama and a crime drama and the crazy group of investors at Axe Captial try to outsmart those chasing after them.

The first season is certainly a set up season establishing the roles of each character and fleshing out the billionaire world with all that's at stake. Some issues arise but this season eschews any large confrontation. I did find the final scene between Giamatti and Lewis yelling at one another quite a payoff but overall the show is waiting to get deeper before it pulls any punches. I did like the inclusion of 9/11, many shows seems to stray away from that disaster but this show confronts it along with the specter of greed and the financial crisis. This show feels current to the political climate. There is also some interesting S&M scenes to illuminate the Rhoades's marriage. 

I have to triage television shows since this isn't my paying job at the moment but I do like to go back and finish shows I've started or introduced on this blog. I don't always get to them in a timely manner but this show did feel like one I'd like in the end. Showtime is known for putting out quality television so I'm glad I caught this one and hope to see where it goes in season two!

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