DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

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Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

GERALD JORDAN

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

MONIQUE NAZARETH

DAVID SICILIA

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
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THE DEUCE
September 10, 2017  | By David Bianculli

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

 
SERIES PREMIERE: The newest series from David Simon and company, once again, examines a specific place, time, and set of political and social circumstances, while following a generously large contingent of well-realized, seldom-presented characters. It’s the basic formula – big ideas, large issues, street-level people – utilized so brilliantly in The Wire and other Simon projects. For The Deuce, the setting is 1971 Times Square, and the “big picture” topic is how the encroachment of a new, more “acceptable” type of pornography made its way into the city and the culture. The story is smartly researched and very well written – Simon’s collaborators here include the powerhouse writers George Pelecanos and Richard Price – and you really do get to know this world, and its characters, very well, even before the times, and Times Square, begin to change. James Franco plays twins (it’s not a gimmick, and is based on twin brothers who ended up as key players in the transformation of the two-block 42nd Street stretch known as “the Deuce”), and the anchor of this series is Maggie Gyllenhaal, playing a streetwise hooker named Candy who’s very wise even when she’s not on the street. For my full review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, visit the Fresh Air website. And for other full reviews by TVWW contributors, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower and Ed Bark's Uncle Barky's Bytes.
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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