April 23, 2021

TV Beat: Manhattan TV series on WGN

Everybody seems to be getting into the tv show producing game including our very own Chicago station, WGN (dubbed World’s Greatest Newspaper from its Chicago Tribune connection.) The network’s first original series was the witch-filled series “Salem.” One critic summed up the lukewarm response: “It’s like watching the cast of “One Tree Hill” put on a production of “The Crucible.”
WGN has fared much better with their second original offering, “Manhattan,” a dramatic series about the creation of the atomic bomb in New Mexico during World War II. We watch the scientists and their families try to balance personal lives with their life or death work environment. Allies and enemies are made in work and play as the characters deal with secrecy, rationing, deadlines and professional rivalries. John Benjamin Hickey has previously played Laura Linney’s quirky homeless brother on “The Big C” and eccentric internet Chum Hum founder Neil Gross on “The Good Wife,” so this new role as physicist Frank Winter gives him center stage albeit with a raging temper and an obsessive sensitivity to noise. His wife is played by Brit Olivia Williams whom some may remember from “Dollhouse” or “Terriers.” The script and acting are decent, the cinematography featuring the desert landscape is scenic and the plot keeps chugging along. We know how the story ends; we just don’t know how it gets there.
Fingers crossed that the show continues to engage and entertain as the season progresses.

Recently broadcast episodes available at: hulu.com
Clips can be viewed at: http://wgnamerica.com/shows/manhattan

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