HBO has unveiled a new teaser for their upcoming series, The Deuce, which was created by The Wire's David Simon. The show, which stars James Frano in a dual role as a pair of twins, centers around the story of pornography and mob influence in New York, circa the early 1980s. Collaborating with Simon on this endeavor is crime novelist George Pelecanos, who wrote some of the best episodes The Wire had to offer. The Deuce represents Simon's latest expansive look at an American city, following Baltimore (The Wire), New Orleans (Treme) and Yonkers (the mini-series Show Me a Hero).
A teaser arrived back in the spring, featuring plenty of footage of the fabled sleazy Times Square of the pre-Giuliani years, as well as plenty of the two James Francos and the sounds of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up,” a song that was also featured once in a Wire episode. Now, we have a more detailed look at what we can expect from The Deuce when it arrives in September.
This new preview, lasting over a minute, shows us a bit more of the show’s world of crime, cops, pornography and much more, including a whole lot of familiar faces, as well as a familiar movie marquee.
We can gather from the trailer that the two James Franco characters are pornographers who are mobbed up, and that Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character is a Times Square prostitute with ambitions of being her own boss. We also see plenty of veterans from The Wire, including D’Angelo Barksdale (Larry Gilliard, Jr.), Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer) and Chris Portlow (Gbenga Akinnagba.) And, we see Deep Throat on a movie marquee.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about The Deuce. No showrunner on television can depict multifaceted urban crime stories the way Simon can, and tales of the Times Square of old haven't been told a whole lot, at least not in a modern context. If the series runs long enough, perhaps viewers will eventually see how Times Square became respectable, and the impact that had on all of these characters.
However, HBO’s last ambitious drama about the ‘70s, Vinyl, crashed and burned after one season. And great as the third season of Fargo ended up, the gimmick of twin Ewan MacGregors was one of its weaker elements. Additionally, none of Simon's post-Wire projects have had the cultural impact that series did, but hopefully things work out for the best here. The Deuce has a lot of appealing aspects on-paper, so fingers crossed it's another HBO hit.
The Deuce debuts on HBO September 10, 2017