A number of auteurs have dabbled in TV series, such as David Fincher with “House of Cards” and Martin Scorsese with “Vinyl”; but with “The Knick,” Steven Soderbergh becomes the first to hands-on direct every episode of a show from beginning to end. The result is a two-season arc of absolutely gripping television, now available on Hulu.jp.
Set in 1900, in a Manhattan hospital named The Knickerbocker, “The Knick” has Clive Owen playing the glory-driven, guilt-ridden chief surgeon John Thackery, heading a deep ensemble cast featuring Andre Holland, Juliet Rylance and Eve Hewson (Bono’s daughter). It’s a series that defies expectations. The turn-of-the-century costumes and upper/lower-class divide resemble an urban “Downton Abbey,” yet the surgery scenes are the gnarliest thing this side of “The Walking Dead.” Its most outlandish scenes — self-surgery, a city-wide race riot or rat-stomping as a spectator sport — are actually drawn from history.