Amidst all the praise it’s been getting recently, I decided to check out Cinemax’s The Knick. And for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s beautiful, it’s got a great soundtrack, it’s got a great cast, it’s got character — and a ton of characters — and it’s slick.
But ignoring the smug preachiness that oozes throughout the show (we’re going to cure racism and sexism guys!), every now and then there would be this disquieting thought of: “Is this all some high school sophomore’s re-invention of House, camouflaged by really pretty decor?” because in all honesty, what do we actually have here?
We have an anti-hero who is a drug addicted genius that everyone admires despite the fact that he’s an asshole. But in 1900. Sound familiar?
Hello... Is it
me vicodin you’re looking for?
That’s not to say that The Knick can rise above this and become a truly great show of its’ own, but there’s definitely a lot of moments so far that lead me to believe that in all likely-hood, it will fall short:
- The camerawork. At times there are these awful shakeycam shots that completely baffle me, and cause me to ask myself if it was intentional, or if budget cuts forced them to take away the camera operators’ tripods. The cinematography seems to trounce all the effort they put in to setting up the shot (shoutout to the lighting department because they are doing a phenomenal job.)
- There’s the ham-fisted references to big figures from the time, characters such as Rockefeller and Edison appear briefly, and there are allusions to others. But with all it’s wink-wink nudge-nudging, The Typhoid Mary subplot was horrendous. Her accent was... like most of the “Irish” characters on this show it can be summed up with this picture:
- Then, worst of all, is the feeling like the people behind the show don’t actually care all that much. That, or they’re too busy studying their own assholes and thinking how wonderful they are than trying to innovate.
From the ending scene of the Season One finale that felt like one long pat on the back with a rack focus, to the beginning of Season Two with the incredibly lazy and cringy: “I’m just updating you on all the events that happened between the finale and now” letter. Whatever happened to show, don’t tell? You’re really going to skip what could’ve been some really interesting subplots and character building for a letter and some fairly boring establishing shots.
It sounds like they could take a page out of John Thackery’s book and shoot up some cocaine— I mean start innovating and making history.
P.S: I will never forgive the show for making the only Irish actress play a girl from West Virginia.
ETA: Changed Tennessee to W. Virginia.