TV Time for Financial Folks

It's time to fill up that Netflix queue.

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Dan gives a breakdown of the best TV shows for folks in financial services to watch over the holiday break.

The holidays are almost here, which means one thing: Plenty of free time to binge-watch television shows. Fortunately for us, we live in an era where it has never been easier to sit on the couch and watch countless hours of programming.

A few decades ago that endeavor might not have been as appealing, but the quality of television shows currently available is comparable to that of feature films. And honestly, what else would you do with your time off from work? Spend time with family? Who wants to do that?

So go ahead and log in to your Netflix, HBO GO, Showtime Anytime and Amazon Prime accounts. You've got some TV to watch.

Billions

Of all the TV shows currently out there, this one hits closest to home for those in finance. For the uninformed, the Showtime series chronicles the battle between a famous Connecticut hedge fund manager and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Rumor has it Bobby "Axe" Axelrod is based on an actual hedge fund manager.

And while the dialogue can be a bit cheesy—David Costabile's character, the COO of Axe's fund, sounds ridiculous at times—it is usually spot on. Financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of "Too Big to Fail," is one of the creators of the show, so it's not complete Hollywood BS. Only one season is in the books, so it's not much of a time commitment.

Mr. Robot

What "Billions" is for financial folks "Mr. Robot" is for tech heads. People weren't as keen on the second season as the first, but I liked them both. The show provides an interesting look at hacking and cybersecurity. We so often hear about hacks and bad actors, but to put an actual face to the name of the often-anonymous (pun intended) hacker gives a different perspective.

I'd like to tell you more, but I don't want to spoil anything, as it's a show full of twists. I'll just say it's worth the two-season commitment, if only for Rami Malek's portrayal of the protagonist, Elliot Anderson.

Westworld

This one has gotten some mixed reviews, but I found it fascinating. Based on the 1973 movie of the same name, the concept of the show is an amusement park populated with robots that interact with guests. Naturally, this hits close to home for financial technology, as artificial intelligence is one of the hottest topics in the space right now.

Part of the fun of the show was discussing potential spoilers with my colleagues in the office the Monday after every episode. However, it might be just as fun to go in with a clean slate and not read up on any of the conspiracy theories. Either way, it's worth a watch.

Black Mirror

This might be the most interesting show on the entire list. A television show in name only, each episode is completely independent of the others. Think of them as short movies. The only theme linking all three seasons together is the impact technology has on our lives. Artificial intelligence. Virtual reality. Cybersecurity. All sorts of innovative, new-wave technologies are covered in the episodes.

The first episode will catch your attention. I can guarantee that. Skip the second one and go straight to episode three. Robert Downey Jr. actually bought the rights to it to make a movie out of it, which doesn't quite make sense considering it's already basically a movie, but here we are.

Silicon Valley

If you want a laugh, look no further than this HBO comedy. There are few shows that make me actually laugh out loud while watching them, but this is one of them ("Veep" is also on the list, but that's a story for another column). There also is a fair amount of tech talk and, from what I've heard, it's pretty accurate depicting what life is like at a startup.

The season one finale has one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen. There is no way I can describe it without immediately getting fired, so I'll just leave it to your imagination until you get to see for yourself.

Editor's Note: This is the final editor's letter of 2016. The column will return January 4. In the meantime, be sure to check back with WatersTechnology and Sell-Side Technology every day during the holidays for our year-end recaps.

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