What I’ve Been Watching: The Knick, Season 1

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the knick season 1I’d been interested in this Steven Soderbergh/Clive Owen period doctor/hospital drama when it came out, but not enough to subscribe to Cinemax, where it originally aired, or to buy it from iTunes. So, when it popped up briefly on HBO Go, I was glad to devour it. And man, is it up my alley. I mean, if you want a house of horrors, The Knick makes a good case that there’s no location more fitting of that title than a hospital in 1900 New York City.

It’s amazing to see how often people in hospitals would have been covered in blood, how common it was to go into a hospital and not come out. And consider the horrors of modern life then. Perhaps the best such example is a woman whose philandering husband infected her with syphilis; her nose has entirely rotted away, leaving behind two nostrils dug out of her face and a nightmarish visage. And that was real life, not fantasy.

It’s a compelling show: a medical drama, a low-key horror show, an examination of racial attitudes at the turn of the century, steeped in science (plus, it turns out, that my grandfather did his dental residency in a later version of The Knick in the 1940s, presumably moved to a new address, as discussed at the end of this season). I can’t wait for Season 2.

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