“Billions” was back on Showtime Sunday night to the delight of its many fans.
It turns out those fans number 321,000, at least in its first viewing. It’s not great but not terrible either. This is the sixth season for the intelligent soap opera about money and power in New York. That number is consistent with last season. It’s hoped that there will be a 7th season to wrap up this story.
“Billions” did do one important thing: it beat “Euphoria” on HBO. “Euphoria” is a cult show and it’s on the border of being X rated. Zendaya, who’s a movie star, is the lead, and there is a lot of sex. (There’s almost none on “Billions.”)
I’ve seen five episodes of this season, and they just get better and better. Paul Giamatti deserves an Emmy, and frankly so does David Costabile.
“Euphoria” scored just 264,000 viewers on HBO Prime at 9pm. It may have scored more on HBO Max but there’s no reporting on that and HBO hasn’t issued any numbers since the premiere week. It’s a brutally unfunny show with no heart so I’m not surprised the audience on the main network is small. By contrast, “Succession” would be considered a comedy.
These aren’t big numbers for either HBO or Showtime. Attracting audiences to quality dramas on Sunday night isn’t easy. Last night, HBO premiered “The Gilded Age,” which was killed by the TV reviewers and rightly so. It looked like “Downton Abbey” translated into American.
Originally planned for NBC, “The Gilded Age” had network production values– shiny, coarse, and devoid of artistic endeavor. The acting was uniformly bad except for some notable players like Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald. Kristine Nielsen, one of my favorite actors, seemed to be playing Mrs. Patmore. Everyone had strange eyebrows. Carrie Coons was in the wrong show. I’ll have more about “The Gilded Age,” but I don’t think there will be more of it. A real shame.