Posters and adverts for this new drama on Sky 1 were everywhere earlier this month, and I mean everywhere – inside my fridge next to the milk, printed as little bibs on neighbourhood cats and dogs, tattooed on a loved-ones face and once, disturbingly, on the inside of my eyelids.
So how did I miss it? I have absolutely no idea.
But miss it I did, and before the advent of catch-up, watch it whenever you fancy tv I would have been screwed. I’d have to plug my ears whenever people spoke about it, dodge spoilers on the internet and wait and wonder if it was good enough to buy on DVD.
Thank goodness for catch-up then. It started on Sky 1 in the UK on 12th May and immediately after the first episode finished the whole series was available on catch-up. How frightfully modern! Sky is encouraging us to sit on the sofa and binge watch their imports instead of turning over to Netflix because we want five episodes in a row.
A few minutes in to the pilot I realised a nagging concern that I wouldn’t understand what was going on with the hedge fund investment plot at all, which is what the whole series revolves around (Oh God, there’s graphs on the screen and someone is talking in percentage points!). But I was swept along in the story of the warring sides of American finance, the gladiators circling each other, sizing each other up before they take a swing.
Our combatants are Damian Lewis (of Homeland fame) as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, a cocky billionaire from the wrong side of the tracks and the ever-wonderful Paul Giamatti as Charles Rhoades, the US Attorney hell-bent on catching him for insider trading. And with actors like that you know you’re in for a bit of a masterclass (I predict howls of rage, malevolent stares and cheeky grins from both leading men).
They certainly *ahem* rope you in with the opening sex-play moments, but as it’s Showtime Mr H said “You won’t see any boobs. It’s not HBO” and how right he was. But high finance is a (rich, educated, white) man’s world so boobs covered or uncovered it was good to see there’s some space for female characters. Mrs Rhoades seems to be in an uncomfortable position (working for Bobby but married to Charles)… rather like her husband in the opening moments.
The question is, will we keep watching. It’s high-finance and gambling on Wall Street – about the very people who took the world economy to the brink of total collapse in 2008. Can the viewers have sympathy for the Devil? Charles has got it right when he calls Bobby out on playing the 9-11 card for the millionth time. Fine, we understand that if you worked in the World Trade Centre terrible things happened to you, and your friends and colleagues died. But you’ve done alright for yourself since mate. Sympathy doesn’t exclude you from justice. It seems Damian Lewis can’t escape terrorism – it’ll be interesting to see how shell-shocked and confused Brody will inspire his performance as Bobby.
I’ll watch this in anticipation of the twisty-turns these men will dance around each other, doing my best to let all the graphs and big numbers wash over me.