This week’s TV: Grit of the knick not for the squeamish

Pick of the week: The Knick
DR3, Sun 21:00 (repeated at Thu 22:30)

From the director that brought us Solaris and Erin Brokovich comes a tense, addictive, deliciously gritty medical drama that has had viewers squirming in their sofas.

Set in New York City in 1900, Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick follows the lives of the Knickerbocker Hospital crew as they tirelessly serve the city’s vast poor, immigrant population.

Undeterred by the high mortality rates of the pre-antibiotics era, rude and rebellious chief surgeon John Thackery (Clive Owen) pioneers endless medical procedures despite his painful past and severe cocaine addiction.

It’s a dark and alluring saga that powerfully captures a time of major changes – not only on the medical front, but also in industrialisation and race relations.

With a score of 75 on Metacritic, critics are praising the series as a bold, turn-of-the-century medical drama, littered with surprisingly contemporary elements.

Applauded for its superb acting and quality storyline, viewers should be warned of the grislier moments – particularly when live patients become operating-room guinea pigs in front of eager audiences. (PM)

Also new
In the aftermath of the Alps crash, we’re searching for answers that Death by Pilot: How Safe are Our Planes (DR2, Sun 15:30) tries to answer. Although it brought questions of its own: was it broadcast too soon after the accident and were Channel 4 scare-mongering?

Guilty as charged every day of your existence, NRA, as the documentary Gunned Down (DR2, Thu 23:00) will sadly prove, and yet it continues. Solve that one Elementary (S3: TV2, Mon 22:45) and Death in Paradise (S4: SVT1, Fri 21:00) and, while you’re at it, why Charlton Heston always played the hero.

They’re all heroes in reality series Newlyweds (K4, Thu 21:00) and In the Club (SVT1, Wed 21:00), which follows Brits getting used to their new roles as parents, as is actress Kathy Burke – not as a parent but now her career has taken her behind the camera in In Confidence (DR2, Thu 15:10).

Elsewhere, don’t miss David Tennant being abducted near a grave as one of the French Spies of Warsaw (DRK, Fri 20:45), although we’re not sure it was the Parisian resting place of Rock Poet: Jim Morrison (DRK, Thu 23:45). (MD)

Coming soon: American Crime
With 84 on Metacritic, ABC’s new drama American Crime is the buzz of Hollywood.

Creator John Ridley (12 years a Slave writer) presents a fearless story about racial, gender and class inequality.

After a war hero is murdered and his family is brutally assaulted in California, four suspects with different social backgrounds are investigated by the police.

The characters’ lives interweave during the trial, revealing hidden mysteries and changing them for ever. (EN)

Sport of the week
The high tension continues this week with the CL Madrid derby, Formula One’s Chinese Grand Prix (3+, Sun 07:00), live AFL Aussie rules, and the Zlatan Ibrahimović show, this time against old club Barcelona (3+, Wed 20:00), but can any of them really compare with the gripping final round at the Masters? (BH)

Film of the week
Check out M Night Shyamalan’s Metacritic profile – it’s a work of art. For seven films in a row, he managed a lower score every time! The Happening (34) makes the other Mark Wahlberg offering this week, Ted, look like Citizen Kane. Elsewhere, catch Ryan Gosling in The Believer (DR3, Mon 23:00) and sob away to War Horse. (BH)

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