Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,



Scientists make love, war weapons in 'Manhattan'

Saturday, July 26, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Writer-producer Sam Shaw was grappling with how to craft a TV drama about the war on terror and the price it exacts from those who keep its secrets.

He found the answer by looking back to the early 1940s, when U.S. scientists and others working in isolation created the first atomic bombs without the knowledge of Congress, the vice president or the American public.

The result is "Manhattan," debuting Sunday (9 p.m.) on cable channel WGN America. The drama is set in a makeshift, desolate Southwestern desert community, one of several that sprang up as part of the Manhattan Project aiming to beat Nazi Germany to the bomb.

"I wound up shelving the modern idea, in part because it's really difficult to write about history in the making with any kind of objectivity and moral clarity," Shaw said.

But his research showed him that the birth of the atomic bomb was "the birth of a huge number of issues and problems ... we're still trying to parse 70 years later."

Among the questions "Manhattan" raises: to what extent do we trust our leaders, and how much freedom and privacy are we willing to surrender to protect the nation and its ideals, including those primary ones?

Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing") is an executive producer and directed the pilot. The cast includes John Benjamin Hickey ("Transformers," "The Good Wife"), Rachel Brosnahan ("House of Cards"), Ashley Zukerman ("Terra Nova," "Rush") and Olivia Williams ("Rushmore").

The World War II-era drama is the second original series for WGN America, part of its initiative to expand beyond Chicago sports and broadcast network reruns. It follows last spring's debut of "Salem," set in the 17th-century witch-obsessed village.

"Manhattan" fulfills WGN America's goal of entertaining viewers while taking them to "a time and place, with a palpable sense of what it was like to live in that moment," said Matt Cherniss, president and general manager.

The scientists who were gathered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration in Los Alamos, New Mexico, were the best and the brightest, Shaw said. They became part of a very young settlement, with the average age of Manhattan Project workers there about 25, he said.

Families, the military and locals are part of the combustible mix in "Manhattan."

The real scientists were fervently dedicated to the cause, even if some later came to regret the deadly force they helped unleash, Shaw said.

"Almost everyone there was completely convinced that if they didn't get there first, (German) atomic bombs would rain down on the cities of Europe and America, as well," he said.

He noted that life isn't entirely staid for the characters of "Manhattan," despite the dark mushroom cloud in their future.

"All those physicists had a lot of steam to blow off, so there was a fair amount of misbehavior. ... It's part of the human dimension of what it was like to live in this place," he said.


Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Subscribe to The Recorder


The Recorder Sports Schedule


The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Friday, November 20, 2015

    Amsterdam’s dream season comes to an end in 47-27 defeat
    Saturday, November 21, 2015

    Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame to leave for Texas
    Friday, November 20, 2015

    Tribes Hill Center scammed by website
    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    6 corrections officers disciplined
    Monday, November 23, 2015

    Amsterdam hopes to keep its momentum going into showdown
    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    Thanks4Giving race receives early support
    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    Amsterdam brushes aside 0-3 start to make 2015 a special season
    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    Two corrections officers arrested after internal investigation
    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    Gene R. Insogna
    Friday, November 20, 2015


Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us