The AV Club’s top pick tonight and winner of rave reviews from the San Jose Mercury News, the WGN drama Manhattan, goes all “Mad Men” and delivers the goods. It’s not that Manhattan though–not the three-martini-lunch-in-Midtown Manhattan where the Madison Avenue dinosaurs of AMC roam. It’s the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, where J. Robert Oppenheimer and another boys club entirely developed the atomic bomb.
There could hardly be a time and place better suited to drama than the top secret Los Alamos facility during the second World War. And Manhattan takes full advantage: the show is beautifully shot and every moment is made subtly more intense by the enormity of what these characters are doing there in the first place–buidling the most deadly bomb in history. The more pristine the show looks–and the desert and the people look gorgeous–the larger the monstrosity looms. And as with any historical drama, we know how it worked out and our lives are part of the results–and so we’re somehow implicated in it, too. Very compelling television. Tune in at 9pm.