Great stories are made of great characters. Of which, they need fulfill two essential elements:
- They’re multifaceted and have depth (i.e., not the usual shallow monstrosities you typically see).
- They have desire. As Vonnegut once said, “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”
Set in and around The NY Knickerbocker hospital of Manhattan circa early 1900s, this show has these characters in spades and, I guarantee, will immediately draw you in. The cast is simply amazing. Most notable of which are Clive Owen and Andre Holland. This may just yet be Clive’s piece de resistance in his role as Chief Surgeon Dr. John Thackery, a coke-addicted yet absolutely brilliant and endlessly driven doctor. Andre Holland is cast as Assistant Chief Surgeon Dr. Algernon Edwards, a pioneering African-American doctor, who addresses the racist obstacles of the day head on (with both mental and physical muster). There’s Tom Cleary, the hard-drinking ambulance driver, Sister Harriet, the abortion-performing nun, Herman Barrow, the fund-pocketing snake-like hospital manager, and Cornelia Robertson, the strong willed head of the hospital’s social welfare office (and daughter to the Knick’s main benefactor Captain August Robertson).
Not for the faint of heart, there’s a fair amount of gore (especially in the operating theatre). Steven Soderbergh excels in his double duty as both director and cinematographer (the latter under his pseudonym Peter Andrews). The sound scape is gorgeous. Rather than opting for tracks of the time, they’ve chosen Cliff Martinez’ very modern scoring style (whose previous works include The Limey, Traffic, Solaris, and Contagion) and is simply sublime. It’s already been picked up for a second season and I cannot wait to see where it goes.
For those who have Cinemax, WATCH IT NOW. For those without, be on the lookout as it becomes available on other “platforms”. The first episode was being offered for free regardless of subscription and may still be dependent on whether you’ve got FIOS or Time Warner.
The Knick airs on Cinemax every Friday, 10PM EST and available On Demand.