Saturday, 14 November 2015

TV21: MANH(A)TTAN



I’ve only had a chance to see one season of MANH(A)TTAN (which premiered in 2014), but that first season was very impressive.

MANH(A)TTAN uses fictional characters to tell the story of the people stuck in the middle of nowhere (a military base in New Mexico) in 1944 whose responsibility it is to come up with a working atomic bomb. They called it The Manhattan Project to keep its purpose secret. For the families of those working on the project, it’s known simply as a ‘gadget’ that will help end the war.

The show begins with the arrival of a genius physicist named Charlie Isaaks (Ashley Zuckerman) and his wife Abby (Rachel Brosnahan). Charlie is assigned to one of the two teams working on the project, the one getting most of the funding and personnel and led by Col. Alden Cox (Mark Moses). The other team, struggling to work with limited means but convinced they have the only workable solution, is led by Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey). Winter’s wife, Liza (Olivia Williams), is a frustrated botanist struggling to keep her sanity in this crazy little town.

MANH(A)TTAN introduces us to many more characters whose lives are put on hold during these intense months, giving us a picture of the life of everyone in the town rather than just focusing on the work being done there. Created by Sam Shaw and directed by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), MANH(A)TTAN is top-notch serial television, featuring great writing, acting and cinematography and telling a fascinating story that is based on true events.

MANH(A)TTAN is not in the same league as Rectify, but it also gets **** and is definitely worth your time. My mug is up.

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