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Season one of “The Knick” to expire this October

Clive+Owen+plays+Dr.+John+W.+Thackery+in+Cinemax%27s+original+series+%22The+Knick%22
Clive Owen plays Dr. John W. Thackery in Cinemax's original series

Clive Owen plays Dr. John W. Thackery in Cinemax's original series "The Knick"

Photo by www.news.directv.com

Photo by www.news.directv.com

Clive Owen plays Dr. John W. Thackery in Cinemax's original series "The Knick"

Dennis Tracy, A&E Reporter

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The scene opens in the 1900s when scientists discovered more about the human body in the previous five years than the last 500. Dr. John W. Thackery (Clive Owen) and Dr. J. M. Christiansen (Matt Frewer) walk into the operating room to save a woman and her child suffering from placenta praevia, a complication during pregnancy which causes blood loss. The operation fails, and Dr. Christiansen dies shortly afterward, making Dr. Thackery the new lead surgeon of New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital. It’s only 10 minutes into the first episode and already Cinemax’s “The Knick” is establishing itself as a confident historical and medical drama.

Steve Soderbergh, the executive producer and director of season one, has provided a fascinating look at the early 1900s, as various doctors continuously race to make medical discoveries. Originally the series was in development at HBO, but shifted over to Cinemax in an effort to branch out into original programming. “The Knick” continues Cinemax’s streak of the quality dramas produced over the last couple of years and fits right in next to “Strike Back” and “Banshee”.

One of the best features of the show is its cinematography. Soderbergh often shot a series of tracking shots and followed the characters from room to room without an edit to the next shot. This smooth editing makes the show visually appealing and entertaining to watch. Even if the plot suddenly slows down, the fantastic camera movement always provides an occurrence to capture the viewer’s attention.

The set, music and unique color usage gives “The Knick” a truly strange feel that works to its benefit. Soderbergh originally wanted to make this a black-and-white series. Instead, set designer Howard Cummings found a way to make the hospital look like an old black-and-white photograph while keeping the show in color. Composer Cliff Martinez, known for his work as a drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, created superb music. Every piece of the soundtrack highlights the appropriate feeling of Soderbergh’s work. During operation scenes the music becomes creepy and nerve-wracking, reflecting the doctors’ feelings of fear and worry. The music also compliments the lighter scenes, such as the scene where Dr. Thackery learns how to ride a bike. Here, the music helps the audience feel cheery and gives the impression that things will be alright.

The limited use of color gives the series the perfect dark atmosphere for working and operating in a hospital. Take Dr. Thackery for example, he appears before his peers as a skilled surgeon with an unusual amount of energy. He wants to be the best surgeon in the area, and will do whatever it takes to show his skill. Thackery’s high energy stems from his cocaine addiction. He often steals supplies from the Knickerbocker Hospital and spends the majority of his free time hanging out in a Chinatown opium den. Using shades of yellow, brown and white, the visuals highlight a depressing time in Dr. Thackery’s life. His drug addiction eventually leads him into a journey of madness.

Thackery’s cocaine addiction and the loss of his mentor and friend start to take over his life and eventually affect the hospital staff members and patients. Patients agitate him, he feels sick whenever he goes off the drug for long periods of time, and he turns to the nurses to find a hospital that has cocaine in stock just to keep him going. Shows such as “Orange is the New Black” and “The Sopranos” deal with characters struggling with drug addictions, but in “The Knick,” this part of the story line functions as a devastating necessity to the main character and highlights terrific acting moments from Owen.

Cinemax is not a channel that everyone receives, so as a way to build hype for the upcoming second season, HBO Go is offering its subscribers the opportunity to catch up. These episodes expire October 25, so make “The Knick” your next binge-watched show. Every episode is a thrilling experience that keeps you on your toes. When great historical narratives like “The Knick” come around, viewers gain a greater appreciation for how far we have come as a society.

This is a very graphic series. Unlike “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scrubs” or even “ER” where they do not show the doctors actually performing the operations, “The Knick” series doesn’t shy away from the gore. The audience sees the doctors covered in blood and taking out organs, which might not make it the best show to watch on your lunch break.

 

 

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About the Writer
Dennis Tracy, MUTV Executive Entertainment Producer

Dennis Tracy is a digital media major from Palatine, IL. He has previously worked as a production volunteer for MUTV before becoming an entertainment producer his junior year. When he’s not busy editing videos, he can be found writing about pop culture on Letterboxd or the A&E section of the Wire. He’s also on a quest to convince folks that R.E.M. was the greatest rock band of all time.

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