Television and Film

Why You Should Be Watching Billions This Season

Season One of Billions was pretty exciting.  The setup was interesting, but not particularly bold.  A semi-sleazy one percenter hedge fund manager and a seemingly altruistic District Attorney do battle.  The twist is that the DA’s wife is employed by the hedge fund dude as performance psychologist. Things like that don’t happen in real life for sure, but it’s TV. 

You could dismiss this series as The Wolf of Wall Street for the NPR crowd.  And you’d be right and that’s why this show is so much more interesting.  It’s a battle of wills, a chess game of stamina and a moral dilemma for the viewer to decide who really is the worst person.  It’s worth getting Showtime added to your package.

Toss in the kinky sex life of DA Chuck Rhodes and his wife Wendy and you’re off to rousing start.  There are clearly somethings you just can’t unsee.  

The battle of these two alpha dogs in season one is pretty predictable.  The DA tries everything he can do trap the Hedge Fund Dude in a criminal act.  Everything–even to the point of destroying his marriage.  Which he pretty much does.

But it’s season two where the storytelling take off.  It’s much more of a mystery show for the viewer.  The clues and hidden agendas are in plain site, but you have to put your damn phone down and pay attention, even rewind it to get it all straight.

The introduction of Taylor, a gender fluid analytics and investing whiz, retells the story of a good person making their journey into a world they never thought they would become a part of and how it changes them.  At first I concerned that Billions was jumping the Trans-Pop bandwagon.  But I was wrong, this is the singularly most interesting retelling of character moving from good to morally compromised since Darth Vader.  Now will Taylor complete the journey to the Dark Side?  Don’t know, but the finale is this Sunday.

Now I could go off for another 300 words about Billions. But I won’t.  Just binge the first and second seasons this Memorial Day.  You’ll love it.

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Stephen Yasko

Stephen Yasko is a Public Radio and Media Executive and Nonprofit Executive Director. Yasko is the Founding General Manager of WTMD 89.7 FM in Baltimore where he took a neglected asset to a top 10 NPR Music radio station. He moved WTMD from a basement hovel to a state of the art Broadcast facility located in the center of Towson, MD.