The Why Watch That Talk: Recent TV Finales
The Deuce (s1, HBO)
Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, who also collaborated on HBO’s “The Wire” and “Treme,” the semifictional drama series “The Deuce” tells of the germination of the sex-trade industry in the heart of New York’s Times Square. It’s the early 1970s, and the porn business begins a shift from organized crime-backed parlors to a legitimate, culturally accepted enterprise. A cast of barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police and nightlife seekers centers around twins Vincent and Frankie Martino (James Franco, in a dual role), who navigate the sex business after meeting well-connected mobster Rudy Pipilo. Their storyline, among others, merges with that of prostitute Candy, whose ambition and intelligence lead her to a more prominent role in the industry.
Liar: Season Finale: (s1, Sundance)
Created and written by BAFTA- and Golden Globe-nominated producers and screenwriters Harry and Jack Williams, and featuring “Downton Abbey” star Joanne Froggatt and “Fantastic Four” actor Ioan Guffard, “Liar” tells the story of two people whose initial attraction leads to far-reaching consequences for them and their friends and families. Laura Nielson, a smart and capable teacher in the middle of a breakup, is set up on a date with recently widowed surgeon Andrew Earlham. However, the day after it is apparent that something has gone wrong, and the subsequent fallout rapidly spirals out of control, exposing the power of truth, deception and trust.
(Released on Fri., 11/3):
Fearless (s1, all 6 total, Amazon)
Human rights lawyer Emma Banville takes up the defense of convicted killer Kevin Russell, who’s serving a life sentence for the murder of a schoolgirl 14 years earlier.
Vice Principals: Series Finale : (s2, HBO)
“Eastbound & Down” creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill team again for a dark comedy series — no surprise there! — that may place high school administrators in a wholly different light. McBride and Walton Goggins co-star as vice principals at North Jackson High School, which becomes ground zero for a major power struggle when the principal retires. The rival administrators set their sights on the vacated top spot — only to see English teacher Dr. Belinda Brown enter the picture. Putting their mutual hate aside, the bitter antagonists form an unholy alliance to bring down the outsider by any means necessary.
Star Trek: Discovery : Mid-Season Finale : (s1, e09, 15 total, CBS All Access; Chapter Two includes the remaining 6 episodes that launch in January)
Created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman for CBS All Access, the story of “Star Trek: Discovery” begins roughly a decade before Captain Kirk’s five-year mission — as portrayed in the original “Star Trek” from the 1960s — and a century before the events of “Star Trek: Enterprise.” The series follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they encounter new worlds and civilizations, delving into familiar themes and expanding upon an incident that has been talked about within the franchise’s universe, but never fully explored.
Better Things: Season Finale: (s2, FX)
Sam Fox is an actress, who is also a single mother raising three daughters — teenager Max, eccentric middle child Frankie, and spicy youngest daughter Duke — in Los Angeles. She also helps to care for her mother, Phil, who lives across the street. In addition to looking after her family, Sam tries to earn a living in the difficult acting industry while having time to have fun with friends and, occasionally, get in some private time with potential mates. In addition to starring as Sam, Emmy winner Pamela Adlon is a co-creator of the comedy series, along with former “Lucky Louie” co-star Louis C.K.
(Released on Fri., 11/17):
Marvel’s The Punisher (s1, Netflix)
After exacting revenge on the people responsible for the deaths of his wife and children, Frank Castle uncovers a conspiracy that runs deeper than New York’s criminal underworld. Now known as the Punisher, he must dig deep into the conspiracy to discover the truth about injustices that affect more than just him and his family. Assisting the vigilante in his quest to fight criminals are best friend Billy Russo, who runs private military corporation Anvil, and former NSA analyst Micro, who shares common enemies with Castle and helps him as part of a so-called marriage of convenience.
Poldark (s3, PBS)
This all-new version of the vintage Masterpiece series stars Aidan Turner as Capt. Ross Poldark, a redcoat returning to Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War, only to find his father dead and his true love about to marry someone else. A Mammoth Screen production, the series is packed with action, adventure and romance. Also featured are Eleanor Tomlinson as servant Demelza, Warren Clarke as Uncle Charles, and Heida Reed as Elizabeth Chenoweth. Robin Ellis, who portrayed Ross Poldark in the original adaptation 40 years ago, appears here as Reverend Halse.