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”
May I just say I will miss Sunday nights? My typical Sunday evening runs like this: I watch the show at 10pm and take notes. Then I watch for a second time and take more notes. Then I sit down and write. I typically go to bed as the sun rises. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Writing for hours as if the world is waiting for my recap… But it is not about that… It is about the show and the thrill it gives me: WORTH IT! 😀 Besides, Billions is the ONLY show, other than Mad Men, to date, where I care about every single character. It does not mean I love them all, but I care about them all, which I think is the biggest achievement a show can ever have. I give standing ovation for all brilliant minds behind and in front of the camera and give special thanks to my husband for bearing with me for the last couple of months and letting me sleep until noon on Mondays.
Advance Warning: I have been on a less than 72-hour trip to London to see Damian on stage. Having come back only last night, I am probably doing a crazy thing right now pulling an all nighter to write my recap for this crazy good episode! I apologize in advance for anything that does not make sense 😀
Kings, Caesars, Mob Dons. When we think of these titles we may think of power, wealth, and loyalty. To a certain extent that is true. However, what they also have in common is the struggle to keep their place at the top, how they get there and how they fall. Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons all get to the top through violence, and usually end their reigns that way as well. Through the course of their reign, they often become distrustful of even their most loyal subjects and become deceitful in order to keep everyone off balance. In the end, they are paranoid, isolated, and alone.
What does that have to do with Billions? The titles and events of the previous two episodes “The Kingmaker” and “Sic Transit Imperium”, made me think of Axe in that light. He got to the top through violence; as we learn in “Boasts and Rails” his actions during the murder and devastation of 9/11 made Axe a lot of money, and the destruction of his former company lead to the opening of Axe Capital (I write about that here). He also has wealth, power, and from many of his employees, loyalty. However, he too is constantly fighting to stay at the top. He sees the Visigoths coming, whether in the form of the government (and Chuck in particular) or other fund managers, and he will fight them all. The Axe we see in “Sic Transit Imperium” is a tired, isolated, and reflective King, wondering if it is all worth it. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk” What does Axe have in common with Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons?”
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”