What Is That 'Manhattan' TV Series About? 5 Reasons To Give The Manhattan Project Show A Chance
Cigarettes. Radios. Frustrated sighs. War propaganda. Dust whipping in the wind. Red lipstick. Pearls and cardigans. Men in suits. Men in uniforms. If you love hearing or reading or watching or listening or talking about anything World War II-related, then Manhattan will probably be your jam. However, it should be noted that there are two big differences between the usual take on World War II-inspired TV shows and films and WGN America's new series: It's set in 1943 Los Alamos, New Mexico, not 1943 Europe, and the star of the show isn't the war, it's the science behind the war.
The show follows the going-ons of the Manhattan Project — you know, the U.S. government's secret mission to build the world's first atomic bomb — and the genius scientists who can't tell their wives or families what the hell they're all doing in the middle of nowhere. At the base camp where they live and work, there are two competing teams attempting to build the bomb. One team is a high-brow, elitist group of men, which includes the young, doe-eyed Harvard grad Charlie Isaacs (played by Ashley Zukerman) who, based on the fear in his eyes, is most definitely going to have troubles stomaching the project. The other team is made up of a hodgepodge group of goofy-yet-brilliant men (who we will inevitably be rooting for), and is led by Frank Winter (played by John Benjamin Hickey), who is basically a mad scientist with an ego problem (a la Walter White) and a man who sees life as inspiration for his work (a la Don Draper). However, time will tell if Frank's holier-than-thou and self-destructive attitude will earn him the affection from the audience that Draper and White have achieved.
Still not sold? Check out the reasons you should give this summer series a chance:
1. The leading women are forces to be reckoned with
The series features Olivia Williams (Dollhouse, The Sixth Sense) as Frank's Ph.D.-holding and strong-willed wife, Liza Winters; Rachel Brosnahan (she plays Rachel Posner in House of Cards ) as Charlie's doting and displaced wife, Abby Isaacs; and newcomer Katja Herbers as Helen Prins, the only female scientist working with Frank's team (we haven't seen much of her yet, but hopefully she'll have a bigger part as the series rolls on).
2. Thomas Schlamme is executive producing (and directing three episodes)
Schlamme is the executive producer behind The West Wing and Pan Am, so we have confidence that he can pull off a visually entertaining show.
3. There's an insane moral dilemma
From night terrors to pure guilt, it will be interesting to see how each character handles the stress of the atomic bomb.
4. There are so many secrets
You just know that one of the scientists is going to break and eventually tell his wife what they're all so diligently working on. Oh, and it's totally going to be Charlie.
5. It's a period piece, which means ...
... fun costumes, hair, and make-up.
Images: WGN America (2); Getty Images; WGN America (3)