I stopped watching halfway through the pilot, but gave it another shot in part because of this thread, and also because i noticed user reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes were improving as the season went on.
This show is excellent through two episodes. I only have one complaint. I would expect a movie about Russian mobsters and bankers to have them acting like lunatics and basically just having more fun. The main character, Alex, is playing a good looking banker in his early 30's living in London. He should be making rock stars jealous with his partying, but he always seems bored and kind of miserable. Same with basically every character but his uncle and his sister. My gut is that a little comedy is really hard to write with characters like this, so the writers didn't try it. There should be a couple of Ralph Cipharettos and Christopher Moltisantis in the group, and there aren't.
That is my only complaint. The plot is excellent, and I actually don't want to binge watch it because I want to think about the story a little more. There was even a Sean Bean moment at the end of the first episode that came out of nowhere with a character I expected to be around for the whole season.
Wrapped it up. I liked it, didn't love it. I will start with the bad:
1) ending was kind of predictable.
2) everyone is too serious. Russian Mafia should have the same scary tension that the Sopranos did, where it can go from fun to terrifying in seconds. There is no fun anywhere in this show.
3) Something is a little off about the lead. Maybe it is just that he is too serious, or maybe he gets up the curve on being a mobster a little too quickly, but something is not quite right about him.
1) Well written, entertaining. Nothing stupid happens like in some other mob shows.
2) I like the secondary characters more than the lead. The mom and dad are very interesting. I like Vadim's Consigliere.
3) There were some very interesting plot twists throughout the first season, several of which I did not see coming.