Manhattan Finds The Drama In Creating The Atomic Bomb: This Week’s Sci-Fi Television

By David Wharton | 7 years ago

ManhattanThe gradual but steady advancement of the scientific method doesn’t always lend itself to the fast-paced needs of a TV show, but when the science in question is the development of the atomic bomb, that’ll tend to add a certain level of drama to the proceedings. At least in theory; this Sunday we’ll get the chance to see if that idea holds true for WGN’s Manhattan — as in “The Manhattan Project.” Created and written by Sam Shaw (Showtime’s Masters of Sex), Manhattan “enters the world of deception, danger and sacrifices that characterized one of the best-kept secrets of all time: the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb.” The pilot was directed by Emmy Award winner Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing).

Shows like Mad Men, Deadwood, and, yes, Masters of Sex have proven many times over that TV can do period drama really, really well, and Manhattan has certainly carved out a fascinating slice of history. Whether Manhattan will be another tick in the “awesome” column remains to be seen, but the show has definitely got my attention thanks to its amazing marketing campaign, which makes use of faux propaganda posters warning about the perils of loose lips and sneaky German spies. With only a few produced credits under his belt, Shaw is an unproven commodity, but Masters of Sex is certainly a promising bullet point on his CV. As for the network WGN America, Manhattan is the second show of their recent push into the realm of original scripted drama, following up on Salem.

Manhattan premieres Sunday night at 10/9c on WGN America.


Under the Dome (CBS, 10/9c) — “Revelation”

As conditions in Chester’s Mill worsen, Big Jim and Rebecca consider resorting to the extreme measure of population control, which drives a wedge between Barbie and Julia. Meanwhile, clues to Melanie’s past and her connection to the Dome are revealed.


Face Off (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Life and Death”

The theme is ‘Life and Death’ when Season 7 begins with 16 contestants learning they aren’t officially on the show until they survive one final audition; and makeup artist Lois Burwell is introduced as the newest member of the judging panel.

The Wil Wheaton Project (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Wilraiser: Revelations”

Kevin Smith and Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Sasha on The Walking Dead, join Wil Wheaton this week.


Extant (CBS, 9/8c) — “Wish You Were Here”

Molly has to decide if she is going to reveal her pregnancy to John after he confronts her about her distant behavior. Meanwhile, John and Molly face parents who are suspicious of Ethan when he goes to school for the first time.

How the Universe Works (Science, 9/8c) — “Jupiter”

A look at Jupiter.

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (Science, 10/9c) — “When Did Time Begin?”

We float along the river of time. But does that river have a source? Where did time come from? Some believe time and space are one thing, and the Big Bang started the cosmic clock. Others believe the universe existed for almost half a million ‘years’ before light could move and time began. Still others say time is older than our universe. But what if time itself is an illusion? Incredible new experiments may hold the answer. One groundbreaking experiment gives us the power to punch holes in time…and another may create a machine that operates outside time’s boundaries!


Defiance (Syfy, 8/7c) — “This Woman’s Work”

An Arkfall crash salvage mission led by Nolan leads to danger in the form of an alien race he has never encountered before; at the same time, Stahma makes a shocking power play after she’s admonished by church elders for her growing sense of female empowerment; and Irisa begins confessing her deep, dark secrets to Tommy.

MythBusters (Discovery, 9/8c) — “Commercial Myths”

Grant, Kari and Tory test whether you could really play a match of tennis while both players are standing on top of an airplane’s wing.


Phineas & Ferb: Star Wars (Disney, 9/8c)

Phineas and Ferb are living just one moisture farm over from Luke Skywalker on the planet of Tatooine when R2-D2 and the Death Star plans inadvertently fall into their speeder. Meanwhile, intergalactic chaos erupts on the Death Star when Perry the Rebelpus is trapped in carbonite while trying to stop Darthenshmirtz from using his new ‘Sith-inator.’


Falling Skies (TNT, 10/9c) — “Door Number Three”

After months apart, Tom finally reunites with his family and the 2nd Mass. But the joyous reunion is cut short as Lexi undergoes a health crisis tied to her hybrid DNA. The crisis pits family members against one another as they fight over how to deal with Lexi’s illness. Anne goes to great lengths to save her daughter.

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC, 10/9c) — “Up Helly AA”

Unforeseen opponents and new complications threaten to derail the Cardiff Electric team’s work at COMDEX.

The Last Ship (TNT, 9/8c) — “Lockdown”

After returning from the horrors of Nicaragua, panic begins to spread throughout the ship when Lt. Danny Green comes down with a mysterious illness that could be the virus. Losing faith in Rachel and her failing vaccine trials, Chandler now has to deal with a restive crew. If he fails to keep the crew together, the whole mission is in jeopardy.

The Leftovers (HBO, 10/9c) — “Gladys”

Laurie’s resolve is put to the test in the wake of a brutal hate crime. After his latest initiatives to maintain the peace in Mapleton fall short, Kevin turns down an outside offer to rid the town of its problems. Matt brings his pulpit to the street. Meg takes on a new role.

The Lottery (Lifetime, 10/9c) — “Rules of the Game”

Alison faces the aftermath of her actions; Vanessa, Darius and the president’s advisors debate the next steps of the lottery. Meanwhile, Kyle and Elvis seek refuge with an old friend, until Elvis suffers a diabetic attack that puts his life in danger and threatens to expose them.

Masters of Sex (Showtime, 10/9c) — “Fight”

Virginia unearths Masters’ troubled childhood during a secret rendezvous.

The Strain (FX, 10/9c) — “Gone Smooth”

Eph and Nora fight to save Captain Redfern’s life before coming face-to-face with the horrifying effects of the virus. A spike in rat attacks signals Fet that something inexplicable is happening deep below the city. Released from jail, Setrakian begins his own merciless plan to stop the spread of the disease.