First trailer for HBO’s ‘The Deuce’ deals a double dose of James Franco

These days, there are just a few scattered remnants of the seedy, crime-ridden 42nd Street of the 1970s and 1980s-era New York City. Today, just a few of the sex shops and strip joints that once lined the street are still standing and the area has been largely transformed into a commercialized, family-friendly hub of wholesome activity. In other words — along with Manhattan at large — it has developed some “community standards.” The neighborhood’s “bad” old days, however, are the subject of an upcoming HBO show from The Wire creator David Simon called The Deuce, and the sex, violence, and corruption that defined the area are on full display in the first trailer for the series.

The spot was released on Sunday and it seems to fit somewhere between a teaser and a full trailer — the network is calling it an “official tease.” Semantics aside, there is a decent amount to chew on, here, but it is all in the form of bite-sized tidbits. Here are a few takeaways: James Franco looks right at home in the ‘70s/’80s and will be playing twin porn magnates Vincent and Frankie Martino; Fans of The Wire will recognize several alums, including Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer), Melvin ‘Cheese’ Wagstaff (Method Man), and D’Angelo Barksdale (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.); Maggie Gyllenhaal could be scene and/or show-stealing as enterprising prostitute Eileen ‘Candy’ Merrell.

HBO released a teaser (below) for The Deuce in early June, but the spot was shorter than the one above and featured no actual dialogue. This time around, we get to meet some of the show’s principles and we’re now even more excited for this series than we already were.

George Pelecanos co-created the show and it looks like it will employ a similar formula to other series he has worked on (The Wire, Treme) by casting the city where the action takes place as the main “character.” We will have to wait and see if what worked so well with Baltimore and New Orleans will bear fruit in The Big Apple.

Apart from those mentioned above, The Deuce stars Gary Carr (Downton Abbey), Margarita Levieva (Sleeping with Other People), Emily Meade (Nerve, Money Monster), and Dominique Fishback (Show Me a Hero). It is set to premiere on HBO on September 10.