Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer 2014 TCA: Cinemax's The Knick

After the obligatory HBO Executive Session, Cinemax paneled The Knick, which will debut in less than a month and run ten episodes on Friday nights. The title comes from the setting of the drama, Knickerbocker Hospital in Lower Manhattan. The series films in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as a soundstage, and a second season has already been ordered. 

It's set in 1900, when medicine is still tricky business. There are high mortality rates (Lower Manhattan tenement buildings have deplorable living conditions!), no antibiotics, and ground is constantly breaking with new methodologies (like x-rays). Clive Owen plays Dr. John W. Thackery, whose addiction to cocaine and opium are just as famous as his medical discoveries. Another hot topic the characters will interact with is racism, as Dr. Algernon Edwards (played by Andre Holland) is a gifted black doctor with a Harvard education, but he stands out amongst the otherwise all-white hospital staff. By the way, other members of the staff include a greedy administrator, a naive young nurse, and a nun with a past. Throw in some corruption via an ambulance driver and a health department inspector, and there's a wide variety of issues that may arise!
Andre Holland, Michael Angarano, Clive Owen, Louis Butelli, Eve Hewson, Eric Johnson
Speaking of which, early storylines include staff shake-ups, disease outbreaks, and experimental procedures. Fortunately, historical accuracy is being taken very seriously, with co-creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler both speaking on working with a medical consultant and archivist to research the surgeries depicted, as well as the fact that they spent 4-5 months reading before outlining and writing the episodes. This really allowed them to gain a strong respect for technology of the time, and Amiel pointed out that "doctors were the new pioneers and the new heroes of America," which I think might just sum up why you should tune into this one.

Watch The Knick starting Friday, August 8th at 10pm ET/PT on Cinemax.
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