Monday, July 22, 2024

TV Review: “Billions” Is Back in the Nick of Time with a Newly Svelte Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis and their Cunning Crew


The best thing about this Labor Day weekend for TV lovers? “Billions” is back this Sunday Sept 5th at 9 pm on Showtime.

The press has gotten the first two episodes and Showtime has asked that we refrain from any spoilers, so I won’t divulge any. But the first two chapters in the season that was halted by the pandemic are twisty and snarky. The cunning crew of white collar sociopaths make up one of the best ensemble casts on TV.

“Billions” gleefully begins without missing a step. The only thing missing is a lot of Paul Giamatti as he has lost a considerable amount of weight and looks “refreshed,” as any of the Bravo Housewives often say. Giamatti plays the brilliant beleaguered and way screwed up state attorney Chuck Rhodes, still pining for his ex-wife, the brilliant Maggie Siff.

Chuck’s forever nemesis, Bobby Axelrod, played with delight by Damian Lewis, is still plotting to destroy his enemies. Chuck’s right-hand woman, Kate Sacker, is also back in the person of Condola Rashad — loyal but always questioning. Asia Kate Dillon, Ben Shenkman, Jeffrey DeMunn, they are all perfection. Adding to that billionaire Mike Prince, played by the always terrific Corey Stoll, returns. David Costabile as Wags, Axe’s aide de camp, remains a delicious favorite.

Why this addictive, sleek series is not more lauded with Emmy’s and every award out there is one of the great mysteries of the current Universe.It makes no sense. The scripts are written with dozens of film references, mini riffs, Easter eggs. Brian Koppelman and David Levien are making magic with every corporate hiccup. “Billions” could be a modern day “Dallas” except it lacks one thing– sex.

It’s time for the Koppelman and Levien to start bringing back some of these characters. What happened to Malin Akerman as Bobby’s wife, Laura? And where oh where is Nina Arianda, who literally stole Season 4?  They do it with Daniel Cosgrove’s pitiable lackey Dan Margolis in the first new episode, and boy, he is something to behold.

Welcome back, “Billions.”


with Roger Friedman

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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