Why Showtime’s Billions Seems to Have Lost Its Luster

Showtime’s drama series, Billions, inched its way into our television screens and shortly into our hearts, as it captured us all with its innovative and stimulating storyline. The show is set in New York City, while its earlier seasons followed the nail-biting feud between billionaire hedge fund manager, Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, portrayed by Damian Lewis (Homeland) and the then-United States Attorney, Chuck Rhoades, portrayed by Paul Giamatti (John Adams). The two feisty characters battled head-on and left no stone unturned. The series set the bar so high, we never thought we would see the day our excitement turn into disappointment. The show has gone through a whole lot of changes the past six seasons— the biggest one being Lewis’ exit from the show. The dynamics between the old and new cast members might present something new, but it feels as if the void has magnified since. Here are five reasons why the series seems to have lost its luster:

5. The endless fight between Chuck and the wealthy is getting old

The confrontation scenes of Chuck and Axe made for television gold. The two characters were from opposite sides of the spectrum, but at the same time, were similar in a lot of ways. They did not take no for an answer, and were relentless in their pursuits. The characters were also portrayed by critically acclaimed actors who fit their roles to a T. Lewis’ departure sent shockwaves through the series. Axe was too big of a character to lose, and there was no better rival for Chuck. With Axe out of the picture, Chuck has also grown bolder in his methods to penalize wealthy businessmen for even the smallest of actions. This somehow feels hypocritical, since Chuck also comes also came from a well-to-do family. He lives in a high-end apartment in Manhattan and also got a huge amount of money from his divorce settlement with his wife Wendy, portrayed by Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy). There surely are other more interesting ways Chuck can put his power to good use.

4. We need to see more scenes involving Wendy

If there was a character who happened to get caught between the crossfires almost every single time, it was Wendy, a performance coach who used to work for Axe, and who was also the ex-wife of Chuck turned love interest of Axe before his untimely departure. Wendy is a badass character whose power should not be underestimated. She knows how to read through people and say the right things at the right time. People may call her transactional, but she definitely knows how to get things done on her terms. This is the reason why her character deserves to explore more interesting storylines, just like the ones she had in the earlier seasons of the show.

3. Mike Prince is the antithesis of Bobby Axelrod

Another billionaire in the persona of Mike Prince, portrayed by Cory Stoll (House of Cards) was introduced as a series regular after Axe’s exit. He was portrayed to be a billionaire who played by the rules, and who knew when to strike when the iron was hot. This was evident in the season five finale wherein he found a leeway and bought out Axe from his beloved company. Mike is the total opposite of Axe when it comes to getting things done. He is less impulsive and is more by the book. This took a lot of getting used to, as we always looked forward to Axe’s next unpredictable and unapologetic move. It feels though as if there is more to Mike than meets the eye. Beneath that composed and cool exterior probably lies a repressed personality ready to be unleashed. We hope to see more traction in Mike’s character, and for him to surprise us with whatever he’s been keeping on the down low all this time.

2. We miss the exciting conflicts and cliffhangers

Gone are the days when each episode seemed to contain a masterfully crafted twist and turn that easily blew our minds. The storyline was fast-paced, and the characters as sharp as can be. There were also various relevant issues that were tackled each time, which kept us on our toes while anticipating the character’s next move. All these are sorely missed, as the current set of conflicts seem to be shallow and redundant. Another highlight of the series come in the form of its witty dialogues and references. Although we are still gifted with a couple of memorable ones from time to time, they seem to be missing the oomph factor that was very visible in the earlier seasons of the show.

1. The overall storyline seems to be on a plateau

The past six season of the series have certainly been an epic ride. We were welcomed into the world of the upper 1% in society and the unscrupulous tactics of the elite. Stakes were always high and every move cost an arm and a leg. In short, it was best not to trust anyone and to always be prepared for a surprise attack. Axe was always an alpha leader who knew how to steer his wolfpack towards the perfect prey. Things feel different now with Mike at the helm of the ship. His pursuits haven’t been that exciting, and the bold moves we were so used to seeing seem to have sizzled down. The series’ glory days may have long passed, but it does not mean that it’s entirely a lost cause. If there’s one thing the show has taught us, it’s that a comeback can even be stronger than the setback.

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