Billions on Showtime 2.04: The Oath

Boy, Billions is giving its stellar coterie of actors a lot more to do this season! While the plot has always remained tight and unpredictable, this show has always been character-driven, never more so than right at this moment.

You don’t have to read the business papers to hear the real world buzz around Preet Bharara’s recent firing as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY. In the fictional world of Billions, this is the very position occupied by Chuck. In Tuesday’s NYT, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s regular article Dealbook , quoted the so-called “sheriff of Wall Street” Bharara saying in another interview:

I have never said that insider trading is the crime of the century. It has not been my personal focus. It’s the focus of the press because there are a lot of wealthy people that like the reporting of it.

Indeed, in the world of Wall Street, and Billions, there is ethics and then there is the appearance of ethics. Prosecution is not always (or ever?) about beating the bad guy and scoring a victory for justice. A lot of the time it’s about beating a case that’s beatable and tantalizing to the press and the public. Sure, the practice of law is about setting precedent on good and bad, right and wrong, but a lot of the time (most of the time?) it’s about managing public perception of these lofty ideals. And it’s in the managing of perception where all the play happens. This theme runs throughout Billions, and is in particular focus in Episode 4 “The Oath.”

Something else notable for this episode: the virtual encyclopedia of pop culture references! A cynical person could snark it’s a good thing all the people of this world seem to have read the same books, seen the same movies, and listened to the same music. Writing about it was one rabbit hole after another and I can only imagine the fun from the actual writing of it.

Continue reading “Billions on Showtime 2.04: The Oath”

What were you doing in 1995? Cynthia’s Story

Hello all! Damianista here. Welcome to Fan Story Tuesday!

Those of you from Michigan may know Cynthia¬†from her program Stateside on Michigan Radio, part of the NPR digital network. Cynthia¬†has had work experience¬†in radio and TV for more than 35 years. ¬†She has been a popular radio host, a TV¬†news anchor, producer and a medical and consumer reporter. She has won a number of awards for her writing and reporting — including an Emmy! And, in addition to all this, Cynthia is¬†a Damian Lewis fan. Big thanks go to her for being one of the first to respond to our call for fan stories and sharing this very special story.

Without further ado: What were YOU doing in 1995? This is Cynthia’s story.

copyright: Cynthia Canty

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Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 4: The Oath

Just three episodes in and we have received terrific news that Showtime has renewed Billions for a third season! The news is not surprising given that Billions is the SMARTEST show on TV but still THIS WAS FAST! Congratulations to the entire cast and crew, we are over the moon for you and yeah, for us, too!

And who knew “Paulie Pennino” of Billions¬†would come back to direct Axe in Season 2 Episode 4? It is a true delight Noah Emmerich is directing this episode! I love him as Agent Beeman in The Americans!¬†And, hey, he is also directing Richard Thomas, who brings to life¬†Beeman’s boss Agent Gaad in The Americans and whom I loved as John-Boy in The Waltons as a little girl, in this episode!

source: @SHO_Billions

Axe is finally in the final three in his bid for the NFL team. Over lunch at Vaucluse, Mark Cuban tells Axe NFL does not like guys like them¬†because they did¬†come from nothing, earned their money calling bullshit openly and publicly and so they come across as people that can break¬†the etiquette. According to Cuban, Axe needs to hang up the gloves and focus on changing the “hearts and minds”¬†that will give him what¬†he wants. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 4: The Oath”

Previously on Billions: Season 2, Episode 3: “Optimal Play”

Bobby wants to buy a football team and is wondering where his seat will be.

Chuck and Wendy are at marriage counselling and the discussion is around the effect on the children. Kevin asked his dad to make vows with him, specifically not to leave Kevin and Eva and to get back together with mom. Chuck promised they would always love Kevin and Eva and put them first, but could not promise the latter, only that they would try. Wendy is clearly moved by the fact that Chuck is not making promises he can‚Äôt keep and will not us his children to get what he wants. The counsellor says ‚Äúthat is intimacy‚ÄĚ and you can feel it in the scene.¬†¬†Jania Jania was right in her ep review for Dead Cat Bounce‚Ķtheir marriage is stronger than they think. However, Chuck still has to get his own place and he is struggling with that because it makes the separation more permanent.

Source: Showtime

Wags is clean shaven, but Bobby seems to doubt he is clean elsewhere and tells him to take another shower. I don‚Äôt think we want to know! Just before that order, the two of them are talking about the upcoming poker game and the fact that Todd has been mouthing off on twitter about it. Wags says Todd is better than Bobby at poker and Bobby concedes the point.¬† Continue reading “Previously on Billions: Season 2, Episode 3: “Optimal Play””

Imagine the Unimaginable: A First Look at The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? *UPDATED*

‚ÄúFour decades after ‘Virginia Woolf’ sent shock waves through the mainstream theater, Mr. Albee still asks questions that no other major American dramatist dares to ask.‚ÄĚ

Ben Brantley, NY Times Critic, 2002

We are extremely thrilled Damian Lewis is making a wonderful comeback to stage in the West End revival of Edward Albee‚Äôs late masterpiece The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?¬†on March 24!¬†Damian is headlining the play as Martin Gray along with Sophie Okonedo playing Martin‚Äôs wife Stevie,¬†Archie Madekwe as his son Billy and Jason Hughes as his oldest friend Ross.¬†Tom Kirdahy Productions¬†is producing and¬†Ian Rickson, who served as the artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre from 1998 to 2006, is¬†directing the play. And as if¬†we needed another reason to get excited about it, The Guardian critic Michael Billington cites The Goat in his Unmissable Theatre of 2017 list! And Damian has recently been on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC2 Radio¬†to talk about his return to stage. You can hear the program¬†here¬†and Damian’s bit starts at around 1:40:00.

The Goat¬†is arguably the most provocative and controversial play by Albee who unfortunately passed away last September¬†at the age of 88. The play won all the major theater awards; namely¬†Tony, New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle, for Best New Play of the Year when it was first staged on Broadway in 2002. As we hope it will repeat that with Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo at the helm, it’s time for a first look, without any major spoiler, at The Goat!

Well, it’s time to meet The Grays!

Continue reading “Imagine the Unimaginable: A First Look at The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? *UPDATED*”

Damian Lewis on Stage: Pillars of the Community

We now have two weeks to go until Damian Lewis makes his return to the West End stage in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?¬†and we are continuing our countdown with Damian Lewis in Ibsen’s Pillars of the Community at the National Theatre. My story of finding out about this play is quite fun.

It all starts with a good colleague¬†with whom I share love for theater asking me to name my favorite male and female stage performances in¬†2015. Easy. It’s Lesley Manville in Ibsen’s Ghosts and Damian Lewis in Mamet’s American Buffalo (with Mark Strong in Miller’s A View From the Bridge as a close second). And what is it about these¬†performances that make me LOVE them?¬†¬†Just one word: Precision.

topperfs

Then I think about the heart-breaking performance Lesley Manville gives in Ghosts which, in fact, has brought her an Olivier Award in 2014 (I saw the play much later when it visited Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2015). I know Manville mostly from her work on big screen such as Secrets and Lies (1996), Vera Drake (2004), Another Year (2010) and Mr Turner (2014) all of which were some of my favorites in the year they were released. But I really do not know about her stage work. So I google her. And this is one of the first images I hit!

source: telegraph.co.uk
source: telegraph.co.uk

Ha! Small world. Have you heard of the¬†saying that Brits have 10 actors? I am about to believe that! ūüėÄ And it’s time we dig into the play! Continue reading “Damian Lewis on Stage: Pillars of the Community”