HBO has ordered up a second season of the period drama The Deuce from co-creators David Simon and George Pelecanos. The Deuce stars James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gary Carr, Dominique Fishback, Margarita Levieva, Emily Meade, Method Man and a host of others in a sprawling depiction of the rise of the porn industry beginning in New York of the early ’70s.
Episode 1 of The Deuce season 1 introduced us to its diverse cast of characters, including ambitious bar manager Vince and his reckless brother Frankie (both played by a mustachioed James Franco), freelancing prostitute Candy (Gyllenhaal), ruthless pimp C.C. (Carr), restless college student Abby (Levieva) and many others. In episode 2, we got our first taste of where the show is headed when a cash-strapped Candy took her initial tentative (and potato-soup-splashed) steps into the world of pornographic filmmaking, while Vince became involved with mobsters in hopes of earning cash to pay back Frankie’s mounting gambling debts.
There are six episodes left in season 1, and now HBO has confirmed that The Deuce will continue on at least into season 2, giving David Simon and George Pelecanos a chance to continue unwinding their multi-faceted depiction of the porn industry and the gritty, crime-ridden 1970s New York hellhole that spawned it. HBO programming president Casey Bloys had this to say about the network renewing The Deuce for a second season:
“We are thrilled to continue our creative collaboration with master storytellers David Simon and George Pelecanos. Their unique gift for immersing the audience in their dark and edgy worlds brings a brilliant verisimilitude unlike any other. With the remarkably talented Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco leading an exceptional cast, we look forward to delving deeper as this captivating story evolves.”
A second season is huge for The Deuce, a show that like David Simon’s classic The Wire needs time to slowly and gradually play out its intertwining storylines involving multiple characters, allowing the full picture to painstakingly reveal itself. What exactly that picture will be in the case of The Deuce is not entirely clear yet, but the show certainly has many of the same preoccupations as The Wire, including the eternal tension between the individual struggling to survive in the urban jungle and the faceless powers-that-be who ultimately decide their fate. Like The Wire, The Deuce has space to encompass all sorts of different perspectives, showing its setting through the eyes of cops, prostitutes, pimps, honest businessmen, dishonest businessmen, mobsters, college students, reporters and a multitude of others.
Among other things, The Deuce is proving itself to be a compelling workplace drama, as it depicts the various sometimes unsavory occupations of its numerous survival-minded characters. Episode 2 began getting into the messier details of shooting pornographic films, an endeavor that in its early days was mostly undertaken by untrained amateurs employing simple technology and cheap-and-very-dirty techniques. It will be fascinating to see where David Simon and George Pelecanos take their story from here.
The Deuce continues with ‘The Principle Is All’ on Sunday, September 24th.
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