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I can’t quit you, ‘Billions’

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Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades in Showtime’s “Billions.”Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

Billions Sunday at 10 p.m., Showtime

I keep waiting for "Billions" to stop being so thoroughly over-the-top and ridiculous, but it just keeps moving further and further into absurdity, with farcical professional situations (a US attorney's wife works for his biggest target) and an attention-getting BDSM marriage (to add an "Eyes Wide Shut"-like exoticism to Paul Giamatti) and absurd time schemes (everything in the episode revolving around Donnie's funeral) and a terminally miscast lead actor (Damian Lewis as a scrappy outer boroughs boy? I don't think so) and a tone that idles at a heavy boil (with Giamatti running the risk of self-parody with his endless growling) and forced plot points awkwardly manufactured to keep the show's essential cat-and-mouse game alive (Giamatti's Rhoades showing up at Donnie's funeral and greeting Lewis's Axe) and the poor writing for Axe's wife (played by Malin Akerman) and yet, and yet, I keep watching, and watching voraciously, hooked at this point on just how nutso and bold the show is and how eye-candyish the sets and New York City look and how interesting supporting actor Toby Leonard Moore (as Bryan Connerty) has become and the fact that the actor who plays "Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin) is the very same actor who plays Pastor Tim on "The Americans" and how there are scenes (such as the one when Axe and Dollar Bill pretend to fight) that are too much fun to resist, and I actually think that I will miss the show for the next few months, since it closes for the season on Sunday night.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.