The rise of porn culture: The Deuce
The early 1970s were a critical turning point in the adult industry, where sex evolved into a billion-dollar business. Ground zero for this movement was New York City's Times Square, nicknamed "The Deuce." The series The Deuce stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco, above, and follows the rise of porn culture from the early 1970s through the mid '80s. Gyllenhaal plays an independent sex worker who refuses to work under any of the numerous pimps who control much of Eighth and Ninth avenues. Her independence and ambition lead her to the burgeoning porn industry. Franco plays a successful bar owner who finds himself entrenched in the local sex trade by way of a well-connected mob boss. Franco also plays his character Vincent's twin brother, Frankie. The new HBO series is less about gratuitous sleaze than it is about power and money in an industry transitioning from its grimy underground beginnings to being a permanent aspect of modern culture. 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO.
She has to go back: Outlander
At the end of the last season, Outlander viewers were treated to the heartbreaking scene of Claire saying goodbye to Jamie and traveling back to her own time period through the stones at Craigh na Dun. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, put Outlander at the top of your watch list ASAP. The breathtaking period drama on Starz, based on the bestselling novels by Diana Gabaldon, is part period epic and part sweeping romantic drama. Caitriona Balfe plays Claire, a World War II nurse who accidentally travels back to 1743 Scotland. There she meets a young highlander outlaw, Jamie (Sam Heughan) who helps transform her views about love and herself. Now heading into Season 3, Claire makes the decision to travel back through the stones 20 years later when she finds out Jamie didn't die at the Battle of Culloden. No other show will make you as interested in the 1700s Jacobite risings. 8 p.m. Sunday, Starz.
Engage: The Orville
The next trick for the mastermind behind Family Guy, American Dad and Ted is The Orville, a parody sci-fi comedy on Fox. Seth MacFarlane plays Captain Ed Mercer, who finally succeeds in getting a ship of his own, the USS Orville, a mid-level exploratory spaceship. The catch: His ex-wife (Adrianne Palicki) becomes his first officer. The crew of both humans and aliens gets to experience the wonders of space while also dealing with the awkwardness of everyday life. The Orville isn't like MacFarlane's other comedy series; it's clearly an homage to the original Star Trek with the tiniest hints of Star Wars. But it's definitely doing something different than what we are seeing in other sci-fi series. It may not be the best new geek series of the year, but it might win over some disgruntled sci-fi fans. 8 p.m. Sunday, Fox.
Who is she? Top of the Lake: China Girl
Sundance's Australian crime series Top of the Lake is back for a second season, bringing back Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss). In the first season, Griffin investigated the case of a missing pregnant 12-year-old in New Zealand. This time, she's searching for the identity of an Asian girl who washed up in a suitcase on the shores of Bondi Beach. Like in any good crime drama, Griffin is haunted by her past, specifically the daughter she gave up at birth. But this series excels with its award-winning cast, including Golden Globe winner Moss, Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie. 9 p.m. Sunday, Sundance.
Upcoming streaming releases
Friday: Bojack Horseman Season 4 (Netflix), The Walking Dead Season 7 (Netflix)
Tuesday: The Mindy Project Season 6 premiere (Hulu)
Sept. 15: American Vandal (Netflix)
Sept. 22: Fuller House Season 3 (Netflix)
Sept. 29: The Magic School Bus Rides Again (Netflix)
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.