Tuesday The Deuce 10pm, Sky Atlantic
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.