Manhattan (TV series)

Genre Period drama
Created by Sam Shaw
Composer(s) Jónsi & Alex[1]
Zoë Keating
Jeff Russo[2]
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 23 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Location(s) New Mexico
Running time 44–57 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network WGN America
Original release July 27, 2014 (2014-07-27) – December 15, 2015 (2015-12-15)

Manhattan (sometimes styled MANH(A)TTAN) is an American television drama series based on the project of the same name that produced the first nuclear weapons. While some historical figures are referenced in Manhattan, most characters are fictional, and the show is not intended to maintain historical accuracy.[4]

The show was the first drama production for WGN America since the revival of Tribune's production arm as Tribune Studios.[5] The series premiered on WGN America on July 27, 2014. The series earned critical acclaim throughout its run, but failed to secure adequate ratings. As a result, it was canceled on February 2, 2016, after its second season, becoming the first WGN America original series to be canceled.[6]


Set in 1943 and 1944 at the time of the Manhattan Project, the series focuses on Los Alamos, New Mexico, a town the outside world knows nothing about. The federal government tells the scientists only what they need to know, while the scientists keep secrets from their families.[7]

Though the TV show is not intended to be historically accurate, it does reference many aspects of the actual Manhattan Project, and some actual historical figures such as head scientist Robert Oppenheimer. However, other contributors to the Manhattan Project, such as Nobel Laureates Enrico Fermi and Emilio G. Segrè, do not appear.


Main cast

Recurring cast


Television network WGN America premiered its first scripted show, the historical drama Salem, on April 20, 2014.[10] Peter Liguori, CEO of WGN's parent, Tribune Media, emphasized a strategy of original content production as a way to improve the channel's prestige and profile.[11] TV companies producing the show include Lionsgate Television, Skydance Television and Tribune Studios, a WGN affiliate.[3] When announced in April 2014, 13 episodes were ordered.[12]

The series began filming in mid-March across 12 acres (5 ha) in New Mexico.[4][13] On October 14, 2014, Manhattan was renewed for a second season.[3] Production on season 2 wrapped on July 24, 2015.[14]

David Saltzberg, a physicist at the University of California, Los Angeles, acted as the scientific consultant for the show, and Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at Stevens Institute of Technology who studies the history of nuclear weapons and secrecy, acted as a historical consultant for the show for Season 2, providing period detail to the writers.[15][16]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113July 27, 2014 (2014-07-27)October 19, 2014 (2014-10-19)
210October 13, 2015 (2015-10-13)December 15, 2015 (2015-12-15)


Critical reception

Season 1 of Manhattan received highly positive reception from television critics and has a Metacritic score of 78 out of 100, based on 23 "generally favorable" reviews.[17] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 90% "certified fresh" critics rating, with an average rating of 8.3/10 based on 29 reviews; the website consensus reads: "Though slow to start, Manhattan is a top-notch drama thanks to a talented cast, beautiful cinematography, and a keen eye for period detail."[18]

Season 2 received further acclaim, scoring an 80 out of 100 based on 9 reviews on Metacritic.[19] Rotten Tomatoes reports a 92% approval rating, with an average rating of 8.5/10 based on 13 reviews, and a consensus reading, "Manhattan's slow-building intrigue and sense of impending doom deepen in season two, further enriching an already well-acted period drama."[20]


The series won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards and also won the award for Excellence in Title Design at the 2015 South by Southwest festival.[21][22] Justin Kirk received a nomination for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series for the 6th Critics' Choice Television Awards.[23]


  1. Gallo, Phil (April 22, 2014). "Sigur Rós Front Man Jónsi and Alex Somers to Score New Show 'Manhattan'". Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  2. "Jeff Russo & Zoe Keating to Score WGN America's 'Manhattan' Season 2". Film Music Reporter. September 10, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Littleton, Cynthia (October 14, 2014). "WGN America Renews 'Manhattan' for Season 2". Variety. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Keveney, Bill (May 15, 2014). "Take a first look at WGN America's 'Manhattan' cast". USA Today. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  5. Graser, Marc (November 29, 2013). "How Matt Cherniss is Building Provocative New Worlds for WGN America". Variety. Retrieved March 10, 2016. “Salem” is a co-production with 20th Century Fox TV’s cable arm Fox 21, while “Manhattan” will be produced through Tribune Studios, ...
  6. Gettell, Oliver (February 3, 2016). "Manhattan canceled after two seasons". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  7. 1 2 Owen, Rob (June 27, 2014). "TV Q&A: 'The Talk,' TV ratings and paranormal TV shows". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  8. Rofer, Cheryl (July 31, 2014). "Manhattan—a review". Physics Today. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  9. Raftery, Liz (March 26, 2015). "William Petersen Joins Manhattan as Series Regular". TV Guide. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  10. Cappadona, Bryanna (January 27, 2014). "WGN America Produces First Scripted TV Show, Salem". Boston. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  11. Lee, Edmund (May 6, 2014). "Tribune CEO Liguori Sees Original Content as TV Company's Future". Washington Post. Bloomberg. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  12. Robbins, Stephanie (April 18, 2014). "WGN America's 'Manhattan' teaser trailer: 'Secrets destroy everything you love'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  13. "Manhattan Project TV series to begin production in New Mexico". New York Post. March 6, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  14. Shaw, Sam [shawsam] (July 24, 2015). "That's a wrap on MANHATTAN Season 2. Best cast on television. Best crew on the planet. I love you guys." (Tweet). Retrieved July 5, 2016 via Twitter.
  15. Meyer, Michal (Fall 2015). "Telling Secrets". Distillations Magazine. 1 (3): 6–7. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  16. Burkes, Robin (August 6, 2015). "Interview: Alex Wellerstein And David Saltzberg Discuss Getting History And Science Right On 'Manhattan'". Tech Times. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  17. "Manhattan : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  18. "Manhattan: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  19. "Manhattan : Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  20. "Manhattan: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  21. "Manhattan". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  22. Montgomery, Daniel (March 18, 2015). "WGN America's 'Manhattan' wins SXSW prize for Excellence in Title Design". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  23. Mitovich, Matt Webb (January 17, 2016). "Critics' Choice Awards: TV Winners Include Fargo, Mr. Robot, Master of None, Rachel Bloom and Carrie Coon". TVLine. Retrieved July 5, 2016.

External links

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