What Make The Critics Of Steven Soderbergh’s 1900 New York Cinemax Hospital Series??
The prolific Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion,” “Traffic,” “Side Effects,” “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Out of Sight,” “The Limey,” “Erin Brockovich,” “Ocean’s 11” and its sequels, “The Informant!” “Haywire,” “Magic Mike”), who claims to have retired from film directing, directed all 10 first-season hours of “The Knick,” which stars Clive Owen as John Thackery, a pioneering, opiate-addicted chief surgeon in pre-antibiotic 1900 New York. Matt Frewer (“Doctor Doctor,” “Orphan Black”) plays Thackery’s mentor.
This is far from Soderbergh’s first foray into television, or even pay cable. He previously directed last year’s acclaimed TV-movie “Behind The Candelabra” for HBO and all 10 episodes of HBO’s John Slattery/Mary McCormack 2003 D.C. lobbyist series “K Street.”
Cinemax has already greenlighted a second season of “The Knick.”
Though Soderbergh has written a fair number of the movies he’s directed, he did not take an on-screen writing credit for this project. “The Knick” was created by sitcom vets Jack Amiel and Michael Begler (“The Tony Danza Show,” “Malcolm in the Middle”), whose big-screen credits include 2004’s “Raising Helen,” 2006’s “The Shaggy Dog,” and the 2012 whale-rescue adventure “Big Miracle”).
... could give its network the same artistic upgrade that the Deadwood generation of dramas gave that channel. It doesn’t have the distinctive voice and language that David Milch gave Deadwood, though, and the writing isn’t always up to the distinctive direction and performances. (At one point, it triple-underlines a ripped-from-history plot about a typhoid outbreak being traced back to the kitchen worker Mary Mallon by having a character wonder aloud, “Where are you, Typhoid Mary?”) The show grows on you, though, or it did on me; Cinemax sent seven episodes and though I squirmed early on, I found myself happily bingeing them. …
... In a time of abundant greatness, [“The Knick”] is very good — and gorgeously shot — but it's not as revolutionary as the men and women whose work it depicts. …
... Like a shot of adrenaline to the heart, "The Knick" arrives just in time to save us from the summer doldrums …
... unusual and very good. … a fascinated and fascinating look at New York in 1900.
... As one episode after another failed to thrill me, I thought I could subsist on “The Knick’s” attention to details, as I have with so many other period pieces. But sooner rather than later, “The Knick” felt like a rerun, and the symptoms of déjà vu hadn’t improved by Episode 5. …
... there’s not much new under the dim sun in “The Knick.” Even a brief description of Thackery – brilliant but troubled doctor with addiction issues and racist tendencies – reads like a TV trope. …
... an astonishing new medical drama that has the potential to be one of the year’s best and most talked-about shows …
... absorbing … filled with promise and pleasure … It isn't quaint. It's also never dull. Close your eyes and you may feel like you've heard The Knick before. Open them, and Soderbergh makes sure you've never seen anything quite like it.
... Yes, the barbaric nature of medicine — evolving though it was — remains grisly stuff, but once that point’s made (and made again), it’s tough to see what breakthroughs “The Knick” has left to offer. … Healthcare, obviously, remains much in the news, and the series is notable for capturing how far we’ve come in little more than a century from what looks like the Dark Ages. That said, there’s simply not much at “The Knick” to justify the visit, even if someone else is springing for the co-payment.
... This is a series that makes no rush to win support during its pilot, then audaciously walks the audience through another two hours of medical bleakness before arriving, in episode four, almost fully formed. That’s the HBO model to a scientific description, but in this case “almost” is an apt qualifier, because the series really arrives at its most important milestone by the sixth episode. By then, The Knick has fully enthralled with its merits. …
10 p.m. Friday. Cinemax.
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