Tues­day The Deuce 10pm, Sky At­lantic

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - TELEVISION & RADIO -

LAST week’s pi­lot did an ex­cel­lent job of lay­ing out the seedy Times Square 1971 mi­lieu and in­tro­duc­ing a raft of characters, but with episode two, David Si­mon’s se­ries be­gins to fo­cus, and re­ally be­gins to flow. The main sub­ject – the rise of the pornog­ra­phy in­dus­try – comes into view, as the women work­ing the street have brushes with the still-il­le­gal blue movie business, and Candy/ Eileen (Mag­gie Gyl­len­hall) gets ideas as she glimpses her first porn set. Mean­while, some of Si­mon’s abid­ing themes – the plights and rights of the worker; the way money works to change a city – emerge, as her story is par­al­leled with a So­pra­nos-es­que plot that sees bar man­ager Vin­cent (James Franco) hatch a scheme be­tween local labour­ers and the mob. Lit­tered with beau­ti­ful/gritty mo­ments and burst­ing with dif­fi­cult ideas, this is the most fas­ci­nat­ing drama be­ing made any­where at the mo­ment. And if there’s an actor do­ing bet­ter and braver work than Gyl­len­haal right now, they’re do­ing a good job keeping it se­cret.

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