On Wednesday, January 24, Showtime released new promotional material for Billions season three. Are there spoilers, clues and hints hidden in the poster art and logo? I immediately began scrutinizing the photos for suggestion and significance. I mean, after all, it is instinctive to analyze everything since I have a degree in that field and do it for a living. It’s second nature. When dissecting the details of the promo material, you’ll never guess what I found. So come with me on a deep dive and see if we can come up with an indication of what’s to come.
Let’s start with the logo.
Ominous, is it not? Dark slate grey background of metal with exposed rivets. Reminds me of a war ship and we know the Billions‘ writers like to reference historical battles and cannon fodder. Is that grey metal iron? In some biblical meanings, natural iron is a symbol of natural, rational truth. Will the truth come out that Wendy violated her contract to warn Chuck about Ice Juice and will Dake discover that she shorted the Ice Juice stock? This scenario is definitely a favorite of mine and my fellow blogger/partner in crime, Damianista, and she talks about it here. Oh, and I’ll come back to biblical references in a few paragraphs below, even though it seems like it’s out of left field at the moment. Stick with me kid, it will make sense in a bit. Continue reading “Analyzing the New Billions Season 3 Poster Art and Logo”
It is a pleasure to see, in this golden age of television, new TV-focused festivals are popping up around us every year. IFC Center in New York recently launched its Split Screens Festival celebrating the art of television with a program curated by Matt Zoller Seitz, the editor-in-chief at rogerebert.com as well as critic for New York Magazine and vulture.com. The long-week festival had appearances by stars, producers, directors and show runners of several popular TV shows, including Billions!
Lewisto and I attended Close-Up: Asia Kate Dillon in Billions panel to see the brilliant Asia Kate Dillon, who brings Taylor Mason to life in our favorite show, and show creators and show runners Brian Koppelman and David Levien discuss the first gender non-binary character on TV and much more.
The evening started with the most pleasant surprise for us: we ran into wonderful Kelly AuCoin aka Dollar Bill who was in the audience. Well, Kelly and I had “met” online and we have been Facebook friends for over a year, and he also very graciously gave us an interview, but I did not meet him until that evening. And, yes, he is a great actor but he is also a sweet, sweet guy! Continue reading “Billions at Split Screens TV Festival”
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.
I could not be happier that a game theory term makes it to the title of this week’s episode: Optimal Play. Optimal Play, also known as Best Response, is the strategy that produces the most favorable outcome for a player, taking the strategies of other players in the game as given.
Given that the entire hedge-fund industry is under siege and that he needs to adapt, Axe’s optimal play is to venture out of the city walls and straight into the NFL. We learn from his chat with NY Giants chairman Steve Tisch that Axe grew up with football on a “24-inch Trinitron knock-off” and his first ever football game in a stadium was in Tisch’s box. As Tisch shares with him that he needs to jump through quite a few hoops to impress the NFL, Axe is pretty confident about his bid and already trying to figure out where his seat will be at the stadium. Not here at MetLife Stadium, of course. NY Giants is not for sale 😀 Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 3: Optimal Play”