The Deuce Season 1 is One of The Best Shows of 2017 & Has Potential to Surpass The Wire (Blu-ray Review)

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The Deuce Season 1 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray! From HBO and executive producers David SimonRichard PriceJames FrancoMichelle MacLarenGeorge Pelecanos and Nina Kostroff Noble, the series will return for season 2 in Fall, 2018 and stars James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva, Chris Coy, Emily Meade, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Chris Baur, Michael Rispoli and Dominique Fishback.

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Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, who also collaborated on HBO’s “The Wire” and “Treme,” the semifictional drama series “The Deuce” tells of the germination of the sex-trade industry in the heart of New York’s Times Square. It’s the early 1970s, and the porn business begins a shift from organized crime-backed parlors to a legitimate, culturally accepted enterprise. A cast of barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police and nightlife seekers centers around twins Vincent and Frankie Martino (James Franco, in a dual role), who navigate the sex business after meeting well-connected mobster Rudy Pipilo. Their storyline, among others, merges with that of prostitute Candy, whose ambition and intelligence lead her to a more prominent role in the industry.


Review

David Simon and George Pelecanos (The Wire) have created something truly special and extremely authentic with The Deuce. The gritty HBO series follows several New Yorkers who frequent the nightlife and sex industry of 1970’s Times Square. James Franco plays twins, one of whom winds up running a nightclub managed by the mafia, while his brother gets into trouble repeatedly with debt collectors. Say what you will about Franco and the controversy that damned him from the Oscars this year, but he puts on one helluva performance TWICE here and each brother is distinctly different from the other in several ways. Maggie Gyllenhall plays Candy the prostitute who winds up expressing a vested interest in pornography, in order to get off the dangerous streets. I realise the show is all about sex – but there’s nothing erotic about any of the content. Which I think was by design – this is work – this is life and it isn’t glamorous no matter how far you go in the industry.

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There are heart-breaking episodes in The Deuce season one. I was very upset at what happens to some of these women. No matter what job you have – noone deserves to get beaten to shit or even worse – murdered for trying to make a living that doesn’t involve hurting other people. While The Deuce can be sad at times (and shocking – holy shit those final two episodes….), it’s also hilarious and fascinating. I now know more about pimping hoes than I ever would have just listening to Snoop Dogg albums. The Deuce goes DEEP into the world of pimps and how they run their businesses. You’ll see how the police dealt with the sex trade, how the women survived such horrible “working conditions” and so much more than you ever bargained for.

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Everyone loves The Wire. People hail it as the best drama of all time. I watched The Wire – I thought it was fantastic. But The Deuce may have the potential; to surpass The Wire – there is not one character I don’t like spending time with. I love the mafia guys, I love the pimps, their hookers, the police, everyone – every single performer has a chance to shine this season because the showrunners and directors give them time to chew up the scenery. The dialog is incredible – and it has to be, because The Deuce is a slow burn – there isn’t a helluva lot of action but when there is — it is jaw-dropping and occasionally devastating. There’s a scene in the diner late in the season where I literally yelled “holy shit” as loud as I could – several times.

The Deuce is Scorsese-quality TV – the music, the performances, the writing, the direction – everything was damn near flawless and if I had seen The Deuce in 2017 when it aired – it easily would have been in my top 5 shows of the year. It’s that good.

“If people stopped for a moment and realised what they looked like during sex, they’d lose it. If it wasn’t fun, it’d be ridiculous” – Abby

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Special Features

  • Inside The Episode (1-8)
  • The Wild West: New York in the Early ’70’s
  • The Deuce In Focus
  • Audio Commentary on Episode 8 with George Pelecanos (Co-Creator / Executive Producer), Michelle MacLaren (Director) and James Franco (Actor / Executive Producer)

Two features (The Wild West and The Deuce in Focus) pack in some great interviews with every single director who shot episodes this first season and I really liked how they did that. It’s always cool seeing Michelle MacLaren talk about how she operates because the woman is one of the best filmmakers working in TV today (check out her groundbreaking work on Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead). These both run around a half hour in total which isn’t much but I loved seeing how some of the stories this season were based on REAL PEOPLE. They even went so far as to tell fans how Thunder Thighs (aka Ruby) was based on a real prostitute who would put a traffic light in her window (Green was open for business, yellow was with a client and red was closed). It’s just one more interesting aspect of this culture in 1970’s New York that blows my mind. The inside the episode segments all clock in around 2 minutes long and I watched every single one right after the episodes ended — I recommend you do the same because even though they’re short – they’re all definitely worth your time.

Rating:

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