Unless you're one of The Knick's 600,000 viewers, you're missing out on the best show on TV. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and bolstered by exceptional writing and acting, The Knick stars Clive Owen as the tortured but brilliant Dr. John Thackery, who heads an ensemble of characters that make up the staff of New York's Knickerbocker hospital during the turn of the 20th century. The show is critically acclaimed, has already been picked up for a second season and is one of the most nuanced shows on television. It is gory and gross, and breathtakingly beautiful, sometimes in the same moment.
Every episode pulses with a fierce energy, yet for some reason the audience buzz is fairly quiet. In fact, it seems to have been written off by many as either a snobby critical darling or a boring costume drama. But it's different from anything on television before it. If you give it one episode, just one episode, you're sure to get pulled in.
Some of the audience resistance to The Knick likely stems from the idea that it's another stodgy period drama; the kind of costume piece that's adored by critics, while eliciting yawns from everyone else. But while historical context is an important part of The Knick, the period doesn't bore. On the contrary, it breathes unexpected life into the show. "Like True Detective, The Knick benefits from a consistent vision and stellar cinematography," writes Sara Smith at the Kansas City Star. "Its turn-of-the-century sets and costuming will transport viewers into the past more vividly than any stuffy sitting room in Downton Abbey."
True Detective is an apt comparison, in that it was also the work of a select few. Creator Nic Pizzolatto wrote the entire first season of True Detective, all of which was directed by the Emmy-winning Cary Fukunaga. Similarly, only one episode of The Knick so far wasn't written by creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, and all have been directed by Soderbergh, making it an exciting entry in the growing trend of cinematic television.