Say what you want about the Golden Age of television, but without Breaking Bad or Mad Men in our lives anymore, we’re feeling a bit of a void. Not only that, but it seems like every network out there is coming up with a new show that promises to fill The Sopranos-shaped hole in our lives, only to disappoint a few episodes in.
So take it from us: The Knick is brilliant and you should watch it right now. Starring Clive Owen as a brilliant surgeon at a turn-of-the-century hospital, the show was directed by Ocean’s Eleven’s Steven Soderbergh and delves into all the blood and grime of New York life in 1900.
Ahead of the release of the second season, FHM sat down with Andre Holland, the show’s genius but mistreated Dr. Algernon Edwards. Fighting prejudice from all corners, he’s not shy of a fistfight either.
In Andre’s own words, here’s why you should have The Knick in your life...
01 It’s a quality production
“From the tone of the show to the subject matter, the script just felt so unique. When I found out Clive Owen was attached and Steven Soderbergh was attached to direct it became a very easy ‘yes’.
02 There’s an important message
“The fight scenes were one of the things I liked most about the character. Often black people come across as noble characters who don’t really have an outlet to express their emotions. They’re made to swallow things. I love that you get to really see the rage that Algernon carriers around. That made a lot of emotional sense to me.
03 It definitively isn’t Casualty meets Downton Abbey
“When I go back and watch the show, the race riot episode is the one I tend to watch the most. It’s a beautifully done piece of television. We shot that episode quickly and it was really helpful to built the momentum. It was a lot of fun to shoot and Steven did it in a really original way.
04 New York hasn’t changed much
“One of the cool things was that we shot in Bedford-Stuyvesant [an old neighbourhood in Brooklyn]. The exterior of the hospital is a functioning school. We just put a sign up that said ‘The Knickerbocker’ over the door. Other than that, we put some different signs up along the street, put dirt down and added some horses and it was instantly 1900. That neighbourhood hasn’t really changed since then. So many of the streets in New York still have that turn of the century feel.
05 It still feels contemporary
“We’ve found a way of blowing the dust off it, from the clothes to the script to Cliff Martinez’s score. Steven cut dialogue if it sounded a little too period. The themes of the show are still relevant now, from immigration to abortion to race. We wanted to feel like ‘this is now'.
06 They don’t stint on the blood…
“On the very first day when we saw how much blood there was going to be it freaked us out a little bit. The C-section in episode one was interesting. Steven kept saying ‘we need more blood’. We were all standing in puddles of it and I think we all got a little bit queasy. We moved so fast that we quickly got over it.
07 … but there are worse things than gore
“I hate bugs. I had to shoot a scene with a cockroach on my pillow, and for me, that was worse than the gore. I chose the least intimidating looking cockroach. I had to lay on the pillow with my eyes closed and I could hear the crew gasping as it got closer.
08 Season 2 is about to get even bigger
“Algernon was left in dire straits at the end of season one. In the new series the scope expands, we become more interested in what’s going on outside The Knick at the time. Steven and the writers did a great job of going deeper.”
The Knick season two starts 16 October on Sky Atlantic. Season one is available on DVD and Blu-ray now