Before Rudy Giuliani transformed Times Square into a saccharine, watered down tourist trap, it was the porn-addled central nervous system of New York City’s sleazy underbelly, where the denizens of the night went to make a quick buck, or in the case of HBO’s upcoming show The Deuce, build an empire.
Created by The Wire mastermind David Simon, The Deuce is being billed as a sprawling chronicle of the rise (and fall) of the porn scene in seventies-era New York. At the heart of it all are twin brothers and bar owners Vincent and Frankie Martino, who are played by James Franco and James Franco. We got our first glimpse at the polymath’s attempt at pulling double duty back in May with the show’s first teaser, but weren’t offered much beyond a perfunctory introduction to their world.
That’s not the case for the newly released second teaser, which unveils a dizzying universe rich in detail, where crime and sex intersect with violent results. Think Boogie Nights by way of Taxi Driver. Starring alongside Franco’s mustachioed entrepreneurs are Maggie Gyllenhaal as a local prostitute, David Krumholtz as a seedy opportunist and Zoe Kazan as the wife of one of the Martino twins.
In one telling sequence, Franco’s character tells Kazan, “I’m the center of things now. I’m building something.” It’s the kind of bold declaration that will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever seen Goodfellas (or any crime saga for that matter). In other words, things don’t bode well for Franco #1 or Franco #2.
The same can’t be said for HBO, which looks to have found a worthy successor to Game of Thrones, whose seventh season will wrap up just as The Deuce gets underway. Though we’re not yet ready to declare The Deuce an automatic home run—after all, look what happened to HBO’s other sex, drugs and rock and roll period piece Vinyl—we do like its chances.
No one does urban decay quite like Simon, and with The Deuce expected to tackle a variety of social issues including the rise of H.I.V., the ravaging effects of the drug trade and the soaring prices of NYC real estate, The Deuce is shaping up as a spiritual sequel to The Wire, which depending on who you ask, is still the best show ever made. So yeah, it’s basically The Wire but with porn.
The Deuce is expected to take place across three eight-episode seasons, the first of which will air on September 10. Watch the new teaser below.