What they're saying about 'The Deuce,' David Simon's new show
The Baltmiore Sun|
Sep 11, 2017 | 5:25 PM
As hard as it is to imagine a more searing critique of capitalism than "The Wire." David Simon does that in "The Deuce."
"The Deuce," the new HBO show from Baltimorean and "The Wire" creator David Simon, officially premiered Sunday (though it's been available for HBO Go to stream since August). Here's what critics are saying about the drama, which stars James Franco and chronicles the rise of the porn industry in 1970s New York.
"'The Deuce'" is a series that at the very least will make Sunday nights a most entertaining place to be for HBO subscribers. But, in the bargain, it will also offer anyone willing to go on this journey with Simon and [co-creator George] Pelecanos a chance to understand in a visceral way some of the forces that have rigged the system in the favor of a few and ruthlessly exploited many others.
"It's in the scope of its story and the complexity of its characters that The Deuce (created by Simon and George Pelecanos) comes the closest to Simon's earlier masterpiece. It's about the sex trade, but also about the weirdness of human sexuality; there are Mafiosi gangsters, and corrupt cops, and selfish journalists, and new pornographers. The playing field is different but the game—and the rules—are the same."
"It's impeccably acted, written, and directed, and no matter how ridiculous 'a series about the 1970s porn industry with two James Francos' might sound to you, this is somehow not just the best possible execution of that idea, but the most thoughtful one, too. It's the best show of the fall, by a wide, wide margin."
"Despite the best efforts of the writing staff and [Maggie] Gyllenhaal (who became a producer on the series partly to make sure that her character was well served), there are moments when The Deuce seems to lose its grip on the leash of its worldview and the situations take on a hypnotic power that is presumably not meant to be exploitative but comes across that way anyhow."
"Potential viewers take warning — there are some scenes here which will offend many and shock others. But get past those (if possible), and 'The Deuce' is largely excellent. The story lags, but the cast never does."
"Every character is given such a vivid inner life, and the show pulses with such energy, that it — like 'The Wire' (and, to a lesser degree, 'Tremé') before it — manages to get away with various indulgences that have dragged down too many other recent dramas that have aspired to follow in Simon's footsteps.
"With its smattering of stock characters and tidy narrative arcs, 'The Deuce' is Simon's soapiest series to date. But that doesn't make it any less inquisitive or enriching. The show's survey of the sex trade—from the women working the street all the way to the mob guys pulling the strings at a distance—is transfixing, nourishing entertainment, a surprisingly good-hearted ensemble study that yields gentle, slow-burn rewards."