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January 11, 2019 at 4:22 pm #1202730331
New trailer just dropped today here:
Premieres on Sunday, March 17, 2019 @ 9 PM ET on Showtime.
Starring Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff, Condola Rashad, Toby Leonard Moore, Jeffrey DeMunn, Malin Åkerman, Clancy Brown, Asia Kate Dillon, & David Costabile.
Special Guest Stars: Nina Arianda, Samantha Mathis, Kevin Pollak, & John Malkovich.
Discuss.March 13, 2019 at 1:03 pm #1202815325
Joint review of “Billions” & “The Good Fight,” but please focus on the former:
“Billions” and “The Good Fight” tackle Trump era in contrasting ways
by Brian Lowry, CNN
Posted at 9:54 AM ET, Tue March 12, 2019
(CNN) — Situated in worlds of politics and privilege, power and corruption, “Billions” and “The Good Fight” each play to top-of-mind liberal concerns in the Trump era. Yet the Showtime series feels more compelling by tangentially making its case, whereas the CBS All Access drama loses something by leaning directly into an anti-Trump stance, to the point of bashing the viewer over the head with it.
“Billions” is embarking on its fourth season, while “The Good Wife” spinoff begins its third. In essence, the “Billions” finale shuffled the show’s structure and loyalties, creating parallel battles for power while turning one-time adversaries Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis), the billionaire hedge fund manager, and former U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) into unlikely if slightly wary allies.
The new dynamic pits Axe against his former protégé Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon), in a high-stakes chess match that has seen Taylor enter into an alliance with a ruthless Russian oligarch, toothily played by John Malkovich. As for Chuck, his efforts to regain his perch lead him into politics, squaring off against his own former deputy (Toby Leonard Moore) as well as others in the process.
“Billions” is a brutal, seamy world of leverage, where “What have you done for me lately?” is the prevailing mantra and squeezing favors out of people is a practiced art. Everything about the show is juicy — starting with the key performances — and its sense of the current political moment is savvy without needing to be especially specific.
The writing produces some prescient flourishes, such as one of the characters being faced with what amounts to blackmail, in a story arc that can’t help but bring to mind how Amazon’s Jeff Bezos handled his recent run-in with the National Enquirer’s parent company.
Whatever else the series has to say about the current times and national mood, “Billions” works because the focus remains steadfastly on the characters. Occasionally funny and frequently profane, it provides commentary without being heavy-handed, and escapism by gliding through the serialized jockeying for power and advantage against a decadent backdrop of the lifestyles of the .001-percent bracket.
“The Good Fight,” by contrast, is also smart, but in its new season veers so far toward reality — into what’s basically a real-time version of historical fiction, mixing actual people with fictional ones — as to distract from its central storylines.
Set in a high-powered law firm, the new season finds attorney Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) again dealing with a woman who claims to have had an affair with President Trump, while another subplot — which discretely unfolds off screen — relates to the president’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric.
Separately, Diane begins actively working with a “resistance” group, while harboring doubts about its tactics. There’s also a strong sexual-harassment storyline, and a trial that involves the murder of a journalist, making a point about the hostile environment in which “reporters are being targeted by protestors all over the world.”
Producers Robert and Michelle King have always dealt with hot-button issues through their courtroom drama, and they clearly feel liberated by this premium-TV platform. That includes dropping in amusing little animated interstitials each week, explaining things like nondisclosure agreements, the late Roy Cohn and online troll farms via what amounts to a jaded form of “Schoolhouse Rock.”
The balancing act, however, occasionally goes haywire, invading reality in a manner that at best risks becoming too cute for its own good, and at worst borders on self-indulgence.
The show remains impeccably cast, and there are wonderful moments, such as Lucca (Cush Jumbo) wrestling with the vagaries of motherhood. A new player also includes the always-welcome addition of Michael Sheen as a positively bonkers and amoral defense attorney, who clashes with the firm’s Maia, played by Rose Leslie.
The distinction between these two premium shows, both airing on CBS-owned services, ultimately provides a useful lesson for dramatists in this polarized age. Because even if you support what the characters in “The Good Fight” are fighting for, when the satirical flourishes start to eclipse the drama, it’s not an especially good look.
“The Good Fight” returns March 14 on CBS All Access.
“Billions” returns March 17 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.March 17, 2019 at 6:17 pm #1202819869
Episode Title: “Chucky Rhoades’s Greatest Game”
Synopsis: Axe closes ranks, determined to destroy Taylor; no longer U.S. Attorney, Chuck struggles to regain power; Taylor does what it takes to keep their new company afloat.
Guest Star: John Malkovich
Discuss.March 18, 2019 at 5:39 am #1202820345
Lively season premiere. No big time jumps or radical departures, but right back in the middle of these characters’ lives and dilemmas. Giamatti and Lewis are as compelling as ever and completely Emmy-worthy. Love Maggie Siff, as always. Asia Kate Dillon is transfixing. John Malkovich lays it on a bit too thickly for my tastes with that ridiculous Russian accent of his, but whatever. Overly technical economic talk in stretches, but I kinda like that? All of Chuck’s favor-seeking was a lot. I wouldn’t have minded Wags being kidnapped by the Saudi guys longer, TBH lol. David Costabile can really overdo it on this show. It looks like this will be another thrilling season, and Chuck and Axe being allies is crazy-time. I genuinely wonder how long this “alliance” will last, and Wendy caught in the middle again.March 18, 2019 at 1:57 pm #1202820992
Ridiculous at moments, but an okay premiere. They need to get rid of a few terrible actors, though.March 24, 2019 at 3:33 am #1202827533
Episode Title: “Arousal Template”
Synopsis: Axe, still focused on wrecking Taylor and their new company, hits it off with a venture capitalist; Chuck sets his sights on a new position; Wendy asks Chuck to make a change.
Guest Star: Nina Arianda
Discuss.March 25, 2019 at 9:58 am #1202828801
Little of this episode made any sense, so I’ll likely have to watch it again. Nina Arianda made a good first impression. Anything’s better than Malin Akerman.March 31, 2019 at 2:42 am #1202834911
Episode Title: “Chickentown”
Synopsis: Axe has to step in when a tip from Dollar Bill goes south quickly; Chuck faces a threat to his new career aspirations; Wendy and Axe develop a plan to derail Taylor’s business; Taylor receives an important guest.
Guest Star: Kevin Pollak
Discuss.April 1, 2019 at 5:03 pm #1202836585
All the Arkansas scenes with the chicken farmer guy were pretty sick lol, but Kelly AuCoin was aces tonight. This was one of this most standout episodes on the series to date. Also notable was Kevin Pollak guest-starring as Taylor’s father. I had no idea he was slated to guest-star this season. Really into the Axe/Taylor wars and where all of that goes. I see the stage set for Chuck and Axe’s tentative “friendship” to be put to the test after this “deal with the devil” made between the two of them. Once Chuck is back in power again, Axe will call in for his favor, but what if Chuck can’t/won’t grant it? Does the war between them begin again, and Wendy caught in the middle? I’m also getting ominous vibes about Charles Sr. That whole “I’ll never die” at the Michael Bolton concert (lolll) was telling. I think I saw a funeral scene in the season previews after the premiere. Huge loss for the show if DeMunn leaves, but Chuck without his powerful dad around in an election race could be intriguing.April 2, 2019 at 3:32 am #1202837110
The weakest episode of the season so far. The whole chicken thing and Axe using an Israeli spy contraption outside Taylor’s office was just stupid.April 7, 2019 at 7:52 am #1202842943
Episode Title: “Overton Window”
Synopsis: Axe Cap suffers an attack at a crucial moment; Taylor considers going into business with an unexpected partner; Axe asks for Chuck’s help; Chuck makes a bold move to advance his own career.
Discuss.April 8, 2019 at 1:14 am #1202843755
Chuck Rhoades, bitches! My mouth just dropped to the damn floor! I read that episode four was the season game-changer, and sure enough, that’s exactly the case. I was halfway expecting Chuck to admit to the sadomasochism, but say that he did it outside the confines of his marriage. The public might not have “accepted” the sordid adultery, but at least Wendy might have been spared the ridicule. In this post-Trump landscape, I doubt that voters really care about any of the things we thought were career-enders anymore. As far-fetched as it is that Chuck actually won AG post-confession, it’s not all that surprising. People are gross. Superb episode!April 8, 2019 at 3:41 am #1202843837
Such a great episode especially when compared to the previous one. I’m getting the feeling that they are setting the stage for an Axe and Wendy relationship and thus for a respark of the Chuck/Axe feud. The enmity with Mason is not just as interesting and Grigor is out of the picture for now.
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